NFL Meets MLB: 4 Best to Play Both Pro Football and Baseball

bo jackson, raiders

With spring right around the corner (although the way this winter has been going, it doesn’t feel that way) and football officially over, baseball season is gearing up. Earlier this week, the Associated Press released its preseason All-American honors for the college baseball season. Coming in on that list, albeit a third-team selection, was utility player Jameis Winston — not a household name for his ability on the diamond. In football though, he’s coming off a redshirt freshman season at Florida State that saw him win the prestigious Heisman Trophy award while leading the Seminoles to a National Championship.

If Winston chooses between the two sports at some point, it seems likely that he would go with football, where he is almost a guaranteed first-round draft pick when he’s eligible. But the six-foot-four, 228-pound utility player could have his heart set on baseball. Last season, as a freshman at Florida State, he made 22 starts in the outfield and 10 as a designated hitter, finishing with a .235 batting average, three triples, and nine RBIs. Winston’s work on the mound was even more notable than at the plate — in 27 innings pitched, he had a 1-2 record, 3.00 earned run average, and 21 strikeouts. Winston impressed Seminoles’ coach Mike Martin so much on the mound that he told reporters a month ago, “We want him to be our closer when it’s all said and done.”

Now, if Winston somehow does succeed in baseball as he has succeeded in football, he could very well be the next professional player to make it in both the MLB and the NFL. In the past 25 years, there have been various players to be drafted by MLB teams, but failed in the minor leagues (Michael Jordan, John Elway, etc). With regard to Winston’s future potential in both the MLB and NFL, here are four players who thrived at both sports in their careers.

1. Bo Jackson

Jackson could do it all — literally and figuratively. After winning the 1985 Heisman Trophy as a running back at Auburn, he was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 1986 MLB draft. He was then selected with the first overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the same year, but chose baseball instead. The Oakland Raiders still redrafted him in the seventh round of the 1989 round, hoping that he’d consider playing football again. He did.

This past year, Jackson was named the Greatest Athlete Of All Time by ESPN. Not only was Jackson the only player to ever be named an All Star in both respective leagues, but he also ran the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.12 seconds) in the history of the NFL Combine to this day. Jackson also posted impressive numbers with the Royals — his 32 home runs and 105 RBIs in 1989 help lead Kansas City to a 92-70 record. Jackson truly was the best to ever play both baseball and football professionally.