Even during the Super Bowl, baseball junkies find a way to think about our national past time. That past time, of course, is baseball.
So on the day of the big game, it is only appropriate to recall some of the guys who have played baseball and football. So before you order the pizzas and call your bookie, take a few moments to recall some of the guys that tried to make it on the diamond and the gridiron.
With the Denver Broncos representing the AFC, we should start with John Elway. Elway played in five Super Bowls for the Broncos, winning two in 1997 and 1998. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Elway played in the Pro Bowl nine times altogether. While he is most remembered for his passing records, he is fourth in NFL career passing yards, he also holds the record for the most rushing touchdowns in Super Bowls by a quarterback with four.
The Yankees drafted Elway in 1981 in the second round. He played 42 games for the Oneonta Yankees of the Class A. There he batted .318 with four home runs and 13 stolen bases. His 25 RBI led the team. But that early promise yielded to the NFL in 1983, when the Baltimore Colts made him the first pick in the draft and then traded him to Denver.
Arguably the most famous two-sport star is Bo Jackson. Jackson is the only player to be selected as an All-Star in MLB and a Pro Bowler in the NFL. He played football for the Los Angeles Raiders and baseball for the Royals, White Sox and Angels. Although the Yankees drafted him in 1982, he chose to play football and baseball at Auburn.
Perhaps the high point of his baseball career came in 1989. He was selected as the All-Star MVP. That was the game that he made an outstanding catch to rob Pedro Guerrero, and then blasted a 448 foot home run off of Rick Reusschel. His stolen base made him only one of two players to steal a base and hit a home run in one All-Star game. The other was Willie Mays.
If flash is the measurement, no one takes a back seat to Deion Sanders. Known as Prime Time or Neon Deion, depending on who you talk to, Sanders was never at a loss for words. He was an eight time pro bowler and won the defensive player of the year award twice. He was also a two-time Super Bowl champion.
But in baseball his light was not so bright.The New York Yankees drafted him in round 30 of the 1988 draft. Perhaps the high light, or low light, of his short stay with the Yankees came in 1990. As he stepped up to the plate against the White Sox he grinned and drew a dollar sign in the dirt. He then produced a weak pop up. But instead of running to first base, he trotted back to the dug out. Hardly the action of a man who should wear a Yankees uniform.
Enjoy the game. You can order the pizzas now.