Russell Wilson is in the news right now as he hobnobs about in NY Yankees Spring Training:
Wilson has been doing this, first with the Texas Rangers and now with the Yankees after playing baseball for three seasons at NC State and getting drafted by the Colorado Rockies for whom he actually played a few summers of Class A ball. But Wilson has never and will never play in the Big Leagues.
However quite a few pros have played real deal games in multiple professional sports and of course they need to be ranked.
For the sake of sanity we’re imposing a few rules – cuz this was inspired by Wilson we will limit this to only guys who’s dual sport career includes MLB. Also only guys who appeared in pro games count.
Sadly this disqualifies Dave Winfield. Please indulge me while I go on a brief Dave Winfield tangent. Winfield was such a great athlete that he was drafted in three different sports by four different leagues (NBA and ABA). He was drafted by the Vikings even though he never played college football. He led the Golden Gophers to a Big 10 hoops title and as a college baseball player he was MVP of the college World Series FOR PITCHING. Yes one of the greatest hitters of the last 40 years was supposed to be a pitcher. He went directly to the Majors and the Padres said hey go play Right Field. So he did and promptly started crushing the ball and the rest is history. The end. Winfield was badass.
Anywho let’s get back to the Dual Sport Star Rankings –
8. Jim Thorpe
Thorpe has often been called one of the greatest athletes of all-time and for good reason but his baseball stars are frankly not good. The one season he played over 100 games he batted .237. and he was a career .252 hitter. Not great Jim. Not great.
7. Mookie Betts
Wilson is getting all the pub but it’s Betts who’s actually doing it as a star on the Red Sox and bowling perfect games in the PBA Tour.
6. Gene Conley
Conley as his cards show was both a three time MLB All-Star and NBA Champ. That’s not too shabby.
5. Brian Jordan
The poor man’s Deion. Jordan had a surprisingly long baseball career and a nice career BA of .282 but I still think he was a better DB.
4. Christy Mathewson
Not much is known of his time as a Pro Footballer with both the Pittsburgh Stars and the Greensburg Athletic Association but we do know he was a HOF hurler in baseball for sure.
3. Tom Candiotti
His knuckleball was good. His mustache great. But apparently his best skill was bowling cuz he’s in the International Bowling Hall of Fame.
2. Bo Jackson
Bo gets my vote for greatest athlete to ever live but in terms of this list his careers in both football and baseball were sadly cut short and hindered by his hip injury. There will never be another Bo.
1. Deion Sanders
Prime time is the greatest Defensive Back to ever play football and anyone who says otherwise is a dolt. But Deion was also an electric baseball player who could have easily had a superstar career as an outfielder if he fully committed to the game. Just watch:
Deion hit a home run and scored a touchdown in the same week. He played in the Super Bowl and the World Series. He hit 14 triples in 97 games one year. Neon Deion does not nearly get enough credit for how amazing he was at both baseball and football. If anything he’s the most underrated athlete of all-time.
Long live Prime Time: