Bo Jackson’s last spring training for the Kansas City Royals took place 25 years ago. In honor of this anniversary, I’m posting what I think are Bo’s ten greatest plays in a Royals uniform just so we can look back and remember what we’re missing.
Hey, these Royals All-Time lists are fun.
Seriously, folks, if you’re not old enough to remember Bo in a KC Royals uniform, you STILL haven’t seen anyone that athletic take the field for the Royals. Bo played 25 years ago, when sports science, conditioning, and nutrition knowledge were all considerably less than they are today.
The fact is Bo Jackson was an athletic freak. I do not believe anyone has EVER possessed all five baseball “tools” in the same measure that he did.
Mike Trout, Bryce Harper–forget it. Neither of those wunderkinds, as fabulous as they are, come close to Bo’s blend of speed and power.
Neither gave fans the same “wow” factor that Jackson did.
Bo Jackson, however, primarily played football in high school and college. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1986 for Auburn University. He shocked the world by turning down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had picked him no. 1 overall in the NFL draft, to sign with the Kansas City Royals.
Then Bo decided to play football in the “offseason” after Tampa’s draft rights lapsed after one year, and he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders. To Bo Jackson, playing in the NFL was a “hobby”. Thus, Bo never focused his considerable talents on developing his baseball craft.
Consequently, Bo never realized the full flowering of his potential. Yet, in highlights, you see flashes of what he could have been.
NO ONE had his raw power. Not Mark McGwire, not Barry Bonds, or Ken Griffey Jr. What Bo could have done in the offensive environment of the 90’s is anyone’s guess. But the tiny strike zone, and the wave of band box parks could only have helped his home run totals.
As a defensive player, it’s shocking to see that applying advanced metrics to his defensive stats suggests Bo was a below average fielder in his era. That’s just insane because, as some of the following clips show, his talent level was way beyond that.
Clearly, Bo needed more reps on defense. Because the eye test will show you that he had every skill you could want.
Enjoy everyone: there isn’t anything like Bo Jackson today:
Next: August 21, 1989