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  • Bo Jackson

    Has anyone ever ran career projections for a healthy Bo Jackson?
    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

  • #2
    Not that I am aware of. Jackson was an enigma. According to Baseball America he had the best set of tools they had ever seen. But his major weakness was that he was not a patient hitter. According to BBF poster "KCGHOST" it was also well known in Bo's Kansas City days that he refused all coaching and teaching from coaches and teammates. The common perception is that Bo didn't play th at much baseball as a youth but I don't think that is true. He was actually drafted three times. He was drafted out of high school by the Yankees in the 2nd round of the 1982 baseball draft. So Bo must have played enough baseball to be drafted that high. He was drafted by the Angels as well in 1985 in the 20th round but didn't sign.

    From Baseball America:
    BO JACKSON

    At Baseball America, we are always looking for the best tools. They are the essence of a player, the simplest way of breaking down their abilities on the field. We even have an issue devoted to them each year. And there has been no player with a better package of tools than Bo Jackson.

    "I have seen a lot of great ones in my time," said Art Stewart, who was the scouting director when the Royals drafted Jackson. "I can't recall anyone who had greater tools than him."

    Jackson had it all: the power of Mantle, the speed of Mays and the arm of Clemente. But he also had a five-year, $7.5 million contract offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1986 NFL draft. The fact that he began his career as a baseball player was shocking enough, but the Royals knew him better then anyone.

    Royals area scout Ken Gonzales always stayed at the same Ramada Inn in Bessemer, Ala., where Jackson's mother worked. They became friends and would always get together for coffee when he was in town. He knew Bo was unsignable as a high school senior and as a college junior because he had promised his mother he would be the first in his family to get a college degree.

    Jackson earned his fame on the football field and won the 1985 Heisman Trophy at Auburn, but he also starred for the Tigers on the diamond. He lost his baseball eligibility his senior year when Tampa Bay flew him in on a private jet to wine him and dine him.

    This embittered Jackson toward the Buccaneers and opened the door for him to play baseball. When general manager John Schuerholz got a call from his agent the day of the draft saying, "If Bo plays baseball, he wants to play for the Royals," they decided to take a chance.

    "Ownership or John never told me when to take him because it was still a risk," Stewart said. "To this day I can't tell you why, but I said to myself, a fourth-round pick is worth it. If Bo doesn't sign, the franchise is not going to fold."

    Gonzales' groundwork paid off and Jackson signed a couple of weeks after the draft, and he was in the big leagues that September. His production over his first three big league seasons was not exceptional, but that is not what people remember. They remember the home run he hit to lead off the 1989 All-Star Game, him running up the wall in center field or his 300-foot lasers to nail a runner trying to score. After the 1987 season, he decided to play professional football as a "hobby" to become the world's most famous two-sport athlete.

    By 1990, he was coming into his own as a baseball player, hitting .278-28-78, but he hurt his hip in a Raiders playoff game the next January and was never the same, though his career continued through 1994.

    "Without a doubt to me he is the greatest athlete of the 20th century," Stewart said. "Because of all the football he played, he really learned to play baseball in the major leagues. That is how exceptional of a talent he was."
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 12-14-2012, 01:47 PM.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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    • #3
      Yea I know all about his career. I did a report on him in 5th grade [14 years ago] and read up on him more after that.

      Naturally I watched the ESPN 30 for 30 on him. Someone said he would have hit 500 HR. I don't know about that.

      I thought it would be interesting to see someones projections on him.
      "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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      • #4
        I was around 13 when he first came up but I never thought of him as a hof type of player because he started at a pretty late age. Although I do remember his 1986 Topps traded card was a pretty sought after card for me and my buddies.

        Thats interesting how he didn't take advice from instructers or coaches too, he probably could have been alot better had he been more patient.
        "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

        "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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        • #5
          Looking back after 20-22 years my impression is that, though, Bo had great raw baseball tools he lacked baseball instincts. For example he was fast and had a great arm but was a a terrible outfielder because he didn't know how to take proper routes to flyballs.

          As for Bo's 1986 Topps Traded card it was a hot card during the late 80's baseball card boom.

          Bo Jackson 1986 Topps.jpg
          Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 12-14-2012, 01:56 PM.
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
            Looking back after 20-22 years my impression is that, though, Bo had great raw baseball tools he lacked baseball instincts. For example he was fast and had a great arm but was a a terrible outfielder because he didn't know how to take proper routes to flyballs.
            I noticed that on the 30 for 30. They were showing all these highlight reel catches. I thought it looked like he took a bad route to the ball on a lot of them.
            "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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            • #7
              He was in amazing shape, and supposedly didn't even lift weights.
              Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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              • #8
                Bo Jackson struck out a lot in fact for his career he had more strikeouts than walks and hits combined.

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                • #9
                  I remember during his heyday, we were taking a trip down to Jeff City, MO to stay with my other cousins for a week or two. My cousin Joe and I were talking baseball, and Joe mentioned Bo Jackson while in a convenience store. This fat lady behind the counter went on a rampage about how Bo "don't know nuttin' about no baseball" and "he has a terrible battin' average, 'roun .220 er so" and that he especially "ain't no George Brett"! She was "sick 'n tarred uv hearin' 'bout that damn Bo Jackson". It was pretty funny. I hadn't heard anyone get so upset about Bo, and I was only about 15 or so at the time, so Joe and I were busting up laughing about that when we finally got out of there!
                  "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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                  • #10
                    The thing I remember best about Bo is his confession that he was the worst bully you could imagine...strong enough to beat the tar out of anybody and so fast that nobody could get away from him. Guess you'd have to hope a friend of yours would eventually catch up and hit Bo from behind with a brick or bat after he had pounded on you for a while. Bo said he wasn't a really BAD kid, but he did call himself a bully.
                    Bo took a step forward every year as a hitter until the hip problem, and he still managed to slug over .500 with an artificial hip when he was 31 and with the Angels. It's not hard to imagine him peaking later than the average player (he was 27 in his last full season before the huge injury, put up a 142 OPS+), but he did look awfully lost on a ball field at times...I just remember him standing and watching flies and then running like hell at the last second to make what should have been a easy catch.
                    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dude Paskert View Post
                      The thing I remember best about Bo is his confession that he was the worst bully you could imagine...strong enough to beat the tar out of anybody and so fast that nobody could get away from him. Guess you'd have to hope a friend of yours would eventually catch up and hit Bo from behind with a brick or bat after he had pounded on you for a while. Bo said he wasn't a really BAD kid, but he did call himself a bully.
                      Bo took a step forward every year as a hitter until the hip problem, and he still managed to slug over .500 with an artificial hip when he was 31 and with the Angels. It's not hard to imagine him peaking later than the average player (he was 27 in his last full season before the huge injury, put up a 142 OPS+), but he did look awfully lost on a ball field at times...I just remember him standing and watching flies and then running like hell at the last second to make what should have been a easy catch.
                      That makes me think of all the crazy zig zag patterns Lonnie Smith would take to get balls in LF. He made some amazing catches on balls most LFers would have gotten with ease... Good thing he was fast!
                      "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Herr28 View Post
                        That makes me think of all the crazy zig zag patterns Lonnie Smith would take to get balls in LF. He made some amazing catches on balls most LFers would have gotten with ease... Good thing he was fast!
                        I thought Lonnie had a balance problem because he fell down so much, but Bill James claimed that he had very small hands and feet and conjectured that they might explain his propensity to stumble and made wildly off target throws. James wrote a very funny piece that claimed Lonnie's goofs rarely led to opposition runs scoring because he was so experienced at messing up that he could correct for them almost instantly.
                        "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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                        • #13
                          Baseball has had a lot of "tools" guys that were OK but not great, because they don't really have the instincts for the game to succeed at the level of their skills. Football stars who play MLB often fall into that category. Bo Jackson was one. Deion Sanders (though more accomplished at the nuances of the game than Bo) was another. John Elway, who used the Yankees to get traded from the Baltimore Colts, would have been a third. That's what got Bo into MLB; he really didn't want to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

                          When you are better at one sport, but play the other sport professionally, it must be confusing to the athlete. It also must cause the athlete to wonder why he wasn't playing the other sport. Jackson was a guy who could have been the very best running back in football history, and returned to football after saying he wouldn't. Had Jackson not been injured in football, I believe that he would have ultimately opted to play football full-time. He was guy who only had to play the whole NFL season to be a superstar. I believe that Jackson's choice of MLB over the NFL cost him the chance for athletic greatness that few get.
                          "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

                          NL President Ford Frick, 1947

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                            Baseball has had a lot of "tools" guys that were OK but not great, because they don't really have the instincts for the game to succeed at the level of their skills. Football stars who play MLB often fall into that category. Bo Jackson was one. Deion Sanders (though more accomplished at the nuances of the game than Bo) was another. John Elway, who used the Yankees to get traded from the Baltimore Colts, would have been a third. That's what got Bo into MLB; he really didn't want to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

                            When you are better at one sport, but play the other sport professionally, it must be confusing to the athlete. It also must cause the athlete to wonder why he wasn't playing the other sport. Jackson was a guy who could have been the very best running back in football history, and returned to football after saying he wouldn't. Had Jackson not been injured in football, I believe that he would have ultimately opted to play football full-time. He was guy who only had to play the whole NFL season to be a superstar. I believe that Jackson's choice of MLB over the NFL cost him the chance for athletic greatness that few get.
                            The greatest "tools" guy IMO was Jackie Robinson. He was a devastating football player at John Muir Technical high School, Pasadena Junior College, and at UCLA. Many considered Robinson one of the best college football players in the country in 1939. If the NFL has allowed black players Jackie may have chosen the NFL over baseball. Robinson did play some semi-pro football for the Honolulu Bears (Hawaii Senior Football League) in 1941. He got paid $100 per game.

                            Robinson was also a world class long jumper. In 1938 his 25'6" jump was the longest jump in the world and a junior world record. He won the 1940 NCAA long jump title. If there would have been a Summer Olympic Games in 1940 Robinson would have been a serious gold medal contender.

                            Robinson also played basketball. In his two years at UCLA he led the conference in scoring both years.

                            Robinson was also a very good tennis player.
                            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 11-15-2013, 04:49 PM.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bo was a lesser version of Matt Williams at the plate, with a ton of raw athletic ability. He was overrated as a baseball player. Pitchers would have kept figuring him out.

                              I think that we was overrated as a football player too. His style lent him to taking a lot of hits. Could he have lasted 16 games? He was a poor receiver, too.
                              Plus, he may have been on PEDS. He's in that time frame.

                              nonetheless, he's a unique 2 sport athletes, but overhyped. Nike did thir job.
                              This week's Giant

                              #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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