4.) BO JACKSON
Bo Jackson might not have been a great player in major-league baseball, but he certainly was remarkable.
For fans of a certain age, Bo Jackson is a legend they will never forget. Thirty years ago, Bo Jackson won the Heisman Trophy as a running back at Auburn. However, Jackson refused to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite getting taken no. 1 overall in the NFL draft, due to a dispute with owner Hugh Culverhouse. Instead, Jackson called the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals and told them he wanted to play baseball.
More from KC Royals All-Time Lists
- KC Royals: Some interesting uniform number facts
- KC Royals: The Top 5 Kansas City speedsters, Part 2
- KC Royals: Top 5 Kansas City speedsters, Part 1
- KC Royals: Ranking the club’s 4 Rookies of the Year
- KC Royals: Dayton Moore’s top first round draft picks
Though Bo Jackson was an outstanding college baseball player at Auburn with unprecedented raw tools, no one had believed he would choose baseball over football. At 6’1″ 220 pounds, Bo Jackson possessed the power of a football player combined with the speed of a sprinter. Add in a cannon arm, and Bo Jackson was an athletic phenom that hasn’t been seen on a baseball diamond before or since.
He had tools like you wouldn’t believe.
Just take a look at this video:
Unfortunately, Bo Jackson had never focused on his baseball skills and thus had a lot to learn when he joined the Kansas City Royals after the team drafted him in the fifth round of the 1986 June draft. Still, The Bo Show ran from 1986 through 1990 in Kansas City, and starting in 1987, in Oakland after Jackson decided to play in the NFL as an offseason “hobby” when his baseball season ended in Kansas City.
Bo Jackson was an athletic phenom that hasn’t been seen on a baseball diamond before or since
Among his many firsts, Bo Jackson became the first player to ever earn an All-Star nod in baseball and make the Pro-Bowl in the NFL in the same season.
However, despite Bo Jackson’s undoubted greatness, the KC Royals never made the playoffs during his time with the club. Even so, Jackson’s impact on the sports world is still felt today. Along with NBA star Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson became the model for athletes marketing sports apparel. Nike built a media phenomenon around Bo Jackson’s multi-sport abilities by launching the “Bo Knows” campaign:
Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan showed Madison Avenue that sports figures had as much media power as movie stars and TV heroes in the era of ESPN’s 24-hour sports coverage.
Next: The Pitcher That Woke Up A Down-And-Out Franchise