When i was a kid, i loved Bo Jackson. He was the first dual-sport athlete and not only did he play 2 sports, he dominated them. In one season he was voted MVP of both the MLB all-star game and the NFL all-star game. Imagine being that good at both sports. He was also the first sport celebrity. The “Bo Knows” campaign preceded all Jordan’s Nike coverage and set the standard for all the mass-marketing we see today. The room i grew up in with had over 30 posters and after Michael Jordan (5 posters) Bo had the most coverage (3).
Given all that, you can imagine my delight when I saw this great article (click here) in the Kansas City Star about Bo. It brought back all the memories. The article filled with great anecdotes. Some of my favorites:
Bo said he was just another guy. He wasn’t some sort of folk hero, like John Henry or Pecos Bill. No, he hurt like other players. He made mistakes like other players. He struck out a lot. He wasn’t forged out of steel, and he couldn’t outrun locomotives, and he couldn’t turn back time by flying around the world and reversing the rotation of the earth.
“I’m just another player, you know?” he said.
Then the game began, Royals vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
First time up, Bo hit a 412-foot homer to center field.
Second time up, Bo smashed a 464-foot opposite-field home run. Longtime Yankees fans said that ball landed in a far-off place where only home runs by Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle from the left side ever reached.
“Colossal,” teammate George Brett would say. “I had to stop and watch.”
Third time up, Yankees manager Stump Merrill walked out to the mound to ask pitcher Andy Hawkins how he intended to get Bo out this time.
“I’ll pitch it outside,” Hawkins said. “It better be way outside,” Merrill replied.
Hawkins threw it way outside. Jackson poked the ball over the right-field fence for his third homer. The New York crowd went bananas.
Some other good little notes in the article are below. Seriously if you knew Bo or you didn’t, you should read this article, he was a total freak
- Bo Jackson’s first major-league home run flew 475 feet.
- July 29, 1988: Bo Jackson was facing Baltimore’s Jeff Ballard. He called timeout and stepped out of the box. He adjusted his batting glove when he realized that the umpire did not actually grant his timeout, and Ballard was throwing the ball. Jackson jumped back into the box, swung that bat and … yeah. He hit a home run.
- July 11, 1989: All-Star Game in Anaheim. Bo Jackson led off with a monstrous 448-foot home run to straightaway center field — it cleared two fences out there. “Unbelievable,” Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn would say. “I got a piece of it,” Bo would say. The next inning, he beat out a double-play grounder by running to first in 3.81 seconds — one of the fastest times ever clocked for a right-handed hitter. He stole second base (becoming only the second player to hit a homer and steal a base in an All-Star Game, with Willie Mays). He scored the game-winning run. He was selected MVP.