Deion Sanders. Michael Jordan. Bo Jackson. Who was the best baseball player?
Sanders. Jordan. Jackson. Three Hall of Famers in their own rights. Sanders in the NFL (and College Football), Jordan in the NBA and Jackson in College Football. Each of these three legends tried their hands at baseball careers with two of them being productive players on big league rosters.
Who amongst the three of these legends was the best at baseball? Let’s dive in.
Is Michael Jordan the greatest of all time?
Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, retired from the NBA in 1993 in favor of pursuing a career in baseball. He shocked the world by signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox in February of 1994 and reporting to the club’s Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons.
Jordan played just one full season of minor league baseball, appearing in 127 games for Birmingham, hitting three home runs, driving in 51 RBI, stealing 30 bases, and posting a slash line of .202/.290/.266 along the way.
Is Deion Sanders the greatest of all time?
Deion Sanders, an elite defensive back and return specialist in the NFL was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1985 but failed to sign. He later was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1988 and signed with them, ultimately debuting in the big leagues just four years later.
Sanders played for nine years as an oft-used fourth outfielder for a multitude of teams including the Yankees, Braves, Reds, and Giants, missing three full seasons along the way (1996, 1998, 1999) during his peak football years.
As a baseball player, he was one of the very fastest players in all of the major leagues, hitting 14 triples in 1992 and stealing over 20 bases on four occasions. He ended up being worth 5.5 bWAR as a baseball player.
Is Bo Jackson the greatest of all time?
Then there’s Bo Jackson, who is undoubtedly the best baseball player amongst the trio of legends. The lone All-Star in this group, Jackson played eight years as a Major League Baseball player and spent four of them as a full-time outfielder for the Kansas City Royals.
He is also perhaps best remembered for his incredible catch against the Orioles that he made and finished by scaling the outfield wall.
In 1990, Jackson tied the MLB record by hitting a home run in four consecutive at-bats with the fourth bomb coming off of future HoFer Randy Johnson.
The College Football Hall of Famer wrapped up his brief but an electrifying career with a 30 HR/100 RBI season, an All-Star Game selection/ASG MVP, a Comeback Player of the Year Award and also throwing two 20+ steal seasons. While you won’t find him in the conversation of the best baseball player of all time, he can at least hold the title of best amongst the two-sport athletes of history.