KC Royals Rewind: Bo Jackson And The Throw


Bo Jackson knew how to do a lot of different things.

He could run the football well, he knew how to break a baseball bat over his knee (and head) and ESPN’s Sports Science dubbed him “greatest athlete of all-time.”

He showed that athleticism in the NFL as a running back with the Oakland Raiders, and in MLB as, primarily, an outfielder with the KC Royals.

From 1986-1990, he hit 109 home runs, and threw one ball better than anyone — ever.

Jackson was known for mashing the baseball, but his outfield skills were exceptional as well. It wasn’t that he was the best fielder (a .962 fielding percentage for an outfielder is pretty poor), but he made plays that no one else could.

More from Kansas City Royals

On June 5, 1989 in Seattle, Jackson made one of the those plays.

Former Mariner second baseman and current MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds was the unfortunate victim of Jackson’s Herculean effort.

Standing on first in the bottom of the 10th inning of a tie game, Reynolds took off for second on a hit-and-run, according to Jackson.

Batter Scott Bradley (whom Jackson later incorrectly identified as Tino Martinez) then laced a pitch off the left field wall, 316 feet from home plate.

So, with the speedy Reynolds (who had 250 career stolen bases) already moving, there was no way Jackson, or anyone, was going to throw him out at home.

Except, Bo did.

He caught it off the wall barehanded, spun and threw what he called a “pellet” to catcher Bob Boone.

Only one issue — Boone wasn’t ready.

Royals long-time scout Art Stewart, who urged the Royals to draft Jackson, explained during a TV special that the catcher had to scramble back to the plate to make the play.

"“The ball never touched the ground…Boone said he was walking off the field and he said, ‘Oh my God, the ball’s coming,'” Stewart said. “And Boone stepped back, caught the ball and tagged Harold out.”"

Reynolds mimicked a safe sign as he slid across home plate, then threw his helmet once he was called out.

Jackson said someone told him Reynolds asked who cut the throw and gunned him out on a play that would eventually preserve a 5-3 Royals win.

When one of Jackson’s teammates told him Bo threw it from the warning track, Jackson said Reynolds opined what we all were thinking:

"“He’s (not) supposed to be able to do that.”"

No, no he’s not. But Bo was no ordinary player. If not for injuries and that whole playing in the NFL thing, Jackson arguably could have gone down as one of the greatest Royals not named George Brett — because the throw was one of many incredible things he did as a Royal.

While he’ll never be in the Hall of Fame, there will always be videos of Jackson’s super-human performances circulating the internet for generations to come.

That way everyone can see that Bo certainly knew how to throw.

Next: Ten Greatest Moment In Royals' History

More from KC Kingdom