Two sport professional athletes are rare in today’s sports. Not only because the talent level of each organization is at the highest it’s ever been, but also because of the money invested by the franchise. The newly acquired Quarterback (Number 1 Overall) in Tampa Bay recently signed his first NFL contract. In this contract, Winston is prohibited from playing organized baseball. I do understand the need for this, as he will have millions of dollars invested in him as a football player, but this still saddened me a bit. It has been a long time since the likes of Bo Jackson, or the give it your all try from Michael Jordan, so I decided to take a look back at the best professional two sport players in history.
Danny Ainge- Baseball 1979-81/Basketball 1981-95
Danny Ainge started his professional career before his well known stint with the Boston Celtics. In 1979-1981 Danny played in the MLB as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. I doubt he regrets the switch to basketball much.
Herschel Walker- Football 1983-97/MMA 2009-2010
One of the all time great running backs in the NFL. You could argue that he doesn’t belong on this list because of the gap between sports. At age 48 in the MMA, I would argue that is exactly why he is one of the greatest two sport athletes of all time.
Lionel Conacher- Hockey 1925-1937/Football 1933-34/Boxing/Wrestling/Lacrosse
Conacher won two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. This Canadian also won a football championship for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL. What really separates this man and offers comparisons to Jim Thorpe is that he also won boxing, wrestling, and lacrosse championships during his playing career.
Deion Sanders- Football 1989-90 Baseball (1989-95)
Regarded as arguably the greatest corner of all time, this Cowboy also made his way to Major League Baseball. Primetime was a part of the Yankees, Braves, Reds, and Giants. He is also the only player to ever play in a World Series (Atlanta Braves 1992) and Superbowl (Dallas Cowboys).
Bo Jackson- Football 1987-90 / Baseball 1986-94
Named the greatest athlete of all time by ESPN, Bo Jackson was the definition of entertainment in the sports world. A physical specimen that made miraculous sports moves look as simple as can be. He is the only athlete to be named an All Star in two major American sports. Unfortunately, Bo suffered a Hip injury in 1991 which ended his football playing career.
Jim Thorpe- Football 1915-1928*/ Baseball 1913-1919*
Easily one of the greatest athletes of all time. Thorpe won Gold medals in the 1912 Olympics for a decathlon and pentathlon. He also spent 13 years in the American Professional Football Association (Later would be NFL), and 7 years in the Major League Baseball Association.
*= Breaks during time frame