10 Pro Athletes Who Excelled in Another Sport
Sports |  Source: espn.go.com

10 Pro Athletes Who Excelled in Another Sport

They're freak athletes.

Some people are just too athletic.

They are big. They are strong. They are fast. They have all the skills necessary to thrive in any sport they want. In high school, they tend to play multiple sports but in college (and the pros), many are forced to pick their favorite. Not everyone has to choose though, and here is a look at 10 pro athletes in recent times who excelled in another sport.
Jameis Winston
Other than stealing crab legs and winning a Heisman Trophy during his tenure at Florida State, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers current starting quarterback had quite the baseball career. As a sophomore, Winston had seven saves as the Seminoles closer. And he owned a 1.08 ERA in 24 games while striking out 31 batters in 33.1 innings. There was pro baseball potential here too. But football has worked out pretty well.
Antonio Gates
Yeah, you probably know him as the San Diego Chargers All-Pro tight end. But at Kent State, he was better known for his skills on the basketball court. He averaged 20.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a senior. Gates didn't even play college football. At 6-foot-4, he was a tweener in basketball, which hurt his NBA chances. And he was originally a Michigan State football recruit, but Nick Saban didn't want him to also play basketball. Nick Saban screwed up there.
Brian Jordan
The former All-Star outfielder had a 15-year big league career finished his big league career with a .282 batting average and 182 home runs. Prior to that, he was in the NFL for three seasons. He was the Atlanta Falcons starting strong safety for two years, recording six interceptions. He was even a Pro Bowl alternate in his final season.
So why did he give it up? At the same time, he was a St. Louis Cardinals prospect so when he was big league ready in 1992, they gave him a new contract -- with incentive ($1.7 million) to give up football. It worked. His big league career lasted until 2006.
Russell Wilson
Before he was the Super Bowl winner (and loser) he is today, Wilson was a second basemen in the Colorado Rockies farm system. He was selected by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft and spent two summers in their system while he was still playing college football. His .710 OPS in A Ball wasn't awful, but a huge senior year at Wisconsin (72.8 completion percentage, 33 touchdowns, four interceptions) decided his future.
Mark Hendrickson
He's 6-foot-9 and left-handed. That should give this one away. Hendrickson starred in basketball and baseball at Washington State University which led to him being selected in both the NBA draft and MLB draft. Like many NBA second rounders, Hendrickson became a journeyman. He gave up the game in 2000 after playing in 115 games in four seasons for four different teams.
With his focus on baseball, he enjoyed a 10-year big league career (2002-2011). His results weren't great, going 58-74 with a 5.03 ERA. But he is one of just 12 men ever to play in both the MLB and NBA -- and the most recent.
Brandon Weeden
Ever wonder why Weeden was so old as an NFL rookie? Because he was the New York Yankees second round pick in the 2002 MLB draft. He fizzled out in high-A at 22 and then went to Oklahoma State, had an excellent career there and became another Cleveland Browns quarterback mistake when they picked him in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft. Sure, didn't excel in either league, but he's thrown more touchdowns (31) than interceptions (30) in his five-year NFL career, so there's that.
Drew Henson
Yeah. He wasn't great at either sport professionally. But it is hard to deny his athleticism. He was the New York Yankees third round draft pick in 1998 and played baseball during the summer during his college years. As a freshman at Michigan, he competed with Tom Brady for playing time -- but eventually lost. He started as a junior (2000) and threw 16 touchdowns and four interceptions before quitting on the game to focus on baseball.
His lack of Triple-A and MLB success (.234 average and .697 OPS in three Triple-A seasons, 1-for-9 in his big league career) didn't inspire confidence, and the Yankees landed Alex Rodriguez as their third baseman prior to the 2004 MLB season, so Henson gave up on baseball and went back to football. He played in nine NFL games in five seasons. Maybe he should have focused on one and he would have excelled.
Bo Jackson
One of the greatest athletes ever, Jackson had 30-home run power and was a bruising NFL running back. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers first overall pick in the 1986 NFL draft. He believed they tried to sabotage his baseball career, so he signed with the Kansas City Royals instead, who picked him in the fourth round of that year's MLB draft.
He ended up joining the LA Raiders a year later when they picked him in the seventh round and owner Al Davis was willing to let Jackson play both sports. Both went exceptionally well until he injured his hip in a 1991 playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The injury forced him to give up football and he wasn't the same baseball player after.
Deion Sanders
Count track and he was actually a three-sport athlete at Florida State. Football was his major focus as he was the Atlanta Falcons fifth overall pick in the 1989 NFL draft -- and a Yankees 30th rounder the same year. The NFL Hall of Famer was an eight time Pro Bowler and two time Super Bowl Champ. He also spent nine years in the big leagues, hitting .263 and stealing 186 bases in his tenure albeit he never played in 100 MLB games in a season. Yeah. He was a pretty special athlete.
Ricky Williams
There was a time when Williams was kind of like a Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders. Picked in the eighth round of the 1995 MLB draft, he was a Philadelphia Phillies minor leaguer in the springs and summers and a Texas Longhorns running back in the fall. In four pro seasons, Williams hit .211 with a .526 OPS -- not quite as good as his nearly 6,600 rushing yards and 75 rushing touchdowns in that same span. Picked fifth overall in the 1999 NFL draft, he gave up on baseball and went on to rush for over 10,000 yards in his NFL career.
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Sports |  Source: usatoday.com

Manny Machado Should Act Like A Franchise Player

He narrowly avoided getting royally screwed.

Listen, I love basketball just as much as the next guy. Watching one of my favorite players be helpless against one of the greatest teams in NBA history, and simultaneously realizing he'll probably never bring a championship to the cursed city of Cleveland?

Who doesn't love that?

But let's take a break from basketball (again): I am first and foremost a baseball fan. It's been my favorite sport since I was a little kid, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

And after watching the events that unfolded in the Orioles vs. Royals game this past Tuesday, I had but one thought:

Man, I'm sure glad I'm not an Orioles fan.

You know what play I'm talking about.

There it is.

Now, to the eye of the casual fan, this is just a brawl. Just a couple of guys getting heated during what is usually a pretty slow, boring game.

However, the implications of this fight could have been staggering. It's one thing when a plate-bombing hothead like Carlos Quentin charges the mound or a journeyman scrub like Nyger Morgan decides to throw fists. Those guys are expendable.

But Manny Machado?

He's one of the best players in the MLB. Actually, you could make the argument that he is the best player in the MLB.

Check out his stats thus far: .308 batting average, 15 home runs, 37 RBIs. Not to mention an insane .984 OPS.

And he's only 23-year-old. He's the future of the Orioles franchise.

Just imagine if he had broken his throwing hand when he threw that vicious right hook. Or re-injured his knee in a pile up.

Now, for those who don't know, brawls in baseball are usually complete mayhem.

Guys just keep pouring onto the field, leaving you thinking, "I had no idea there were this many people on a baseball team".

There's fists, and kicks, and holding people back.

A bunch of overpaid benchwarmers and starters alike trying to make their lives exciting and blow off all of the steam that builds up from them sitting around all game.

But in this brawl, the Orioles were more frantic than amped up. It was almost like a war movie: Machado, on the ground, about to get lit up, while all of his teammates and coaches desperately attempt to pull him away before things get nasty.

Buck Showalter probably crapped his pants. And I wish I could have seen the faces of the Baltimore front office.

What if Bryce Harper was running into the Lion's den like that? Or Mike Trout? Or Alex Rodriguez in his prime? (Actually, that last one's not so bad).

(Side note: Gross.)

It should be terrifying! Those are the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the biggest money makers. If they get hurt, you're franchise is done! Finished! Hammered!

So come on Manny: next time you feel like bashing some pitchers skull in, just motion towards the dugout or the bullpen. There are 24 other guys that the fans (and management) would much rather see get demolished.

And Orioles fans: count your damn blessings.

You just avoided catastrophe.

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Sports |  Source: desmoinesregister.com

Nationals and Cubs Provide Another Thrilling Night of Baseball

The best player taking on the best team? Yes, please.

Bryce Harper. Kris Bryant. Albert Almora Jr. Ryan Zimmerman. Joe Maddon. Dusty Baker.

If this isn't what you would call an entertaining night of baseball, I'm not sure what you would.

Out of all the games the Cubs and Nationals play this season, the seven games between the teams have the most hype. Why?

Well for starters, the manager of the Nationals, Dusty Baker, is a former Cubs manager.

There is also an incredible amount of offense on the team. The Nationals have Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Zimmerman, who bat third, fourth and fifth in their lineup that create a crazy amount offense. On the Cubs side, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist hit in those same spots who also can create also get hot and stay that way.

The last time the Nationals and Cubs met, the Cubs swept the Nationals in a four game series. Bryce Harper was walked a record number of times.

Last night, the Nationals took game one, but tonight, the Cubs came back to win all thanks to Albert Almora Jr.

Lets rundown the game:

First, before the game, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant put on a show.

Then John Lackey put down his mitt and put his bat to work in the 3rd.

This inning also included an intentional Kris Bryant 2-out walk, which would eventually end the inning on Anthony Rizzo strikeout.

Then Jayson Werth and his hair got the Nationals on the board in the bottom of the 3rd.

But David Ross decided to hit a few minutes later and stretched the Cubs lead to two runs.

The Nationals came back and tied it in the 8th on a Bryce Harper walk that eventually scored.

But then in the top of the 9th, some magic happened on the field. Albert Almora Jr., the outfielder who came up from Triple A Iowa Cubs to replace Jorge Soler, scored Addison Russell on a base hit.

It was pretty exciting:

To some, this was just another night of baseball. To the Cubs, it was a win. And to Albert Almora, it was his first Major League game-winning hit. What a way to wrap up his first week in the Major Leagues.

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Sports |  Source: sportingnews.com

Ichiro Is Still Going Strong

He's only been playing pro ball longer than I have lived...

At 42 years old, he is pretty much halfway between the ages of a college senior and a senior citizen. And if this is Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki's last season, then he really knows how to go out.

Ichiro isn't even a starter for the fourth-place Marlins. But man, he is hitting well when given the chance. Through 35 games, he has hit .385 with a .444 on-base percentage. Sure, he has only stolen two bases thus far, but he's been playing pro baseball for the last 25 years. And he might not even be done after this season.

If this is it though, then it has been quite the career. And what he is doing is rare - like a college senior doing exceptionally well in all of their classes when academics are the least of their concerns.

Most players just play themselves out of the league. And while Ichiro would probably do that if he tries to stick around for another decade, he could go out on his own terms - preferably without a farewell tour.

There are two big milestones he is expected to meet this season in the hits category; he is 40 hits away from 3,000 in Major League Baseball and 18 away from 4,256 combining his MLB and Japan stats.

3,000 hits would make him a lock for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the hit king, Pete Rose, had 4,256 hits in his big league career.

While you can't directly compare Ichiro's combined Japanese and American stats to Rose's accomplishment, it will be a big deal when Ichiro does surpass the mark. And yes, that's "when" not "if". You can bet on it. But then again, so will Pete Rose.

And when Ichiro meets those marks, it should be a big deal. During the first ten years of his big league career, there might not have been a better contact hitter. He set the single-season hits record in 2004 (262) for a team who plays at the most pitcher-friendly park in the American League. He tied the record for most consecutive 200-hit seasons. Oh, and he hit an inside-the-park home run in the 2007 MLB All-Star game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, another big-time pitcher's park.

Didn't even have to slide or anything.

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Sports |  Source: wtop.com

The Freak Is Back in Action

Big Time Timmy Jim, The Freak, The Franchise, and The Freaky Franchise is Back!

Tim Lincecum won his first game in the MLB in almost a year over the weekend. The last win he "earned" came in relief for the San Francisco Giants, where he gave up three earned runs and two walks in less than two innings of pitching.

In his first start this season with his new west coast team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the two-time Cy Young winner pitched six one-run innings in a 7-1 win against the Oakland Athletics. As a fan, I couldn't have been happier this year. But maybe that's because I'm a Phillies fan.

As his multiple nicknames imply, Lincecum was a unique phenom when he was at his best in San Francisco. A 5-foot-10, 175-pound pitcher dominates batters, throwing in the low to mid 90s while sporting a filthy, two-seam fastball and a Bugs Bunny changeup.

Like other dominant pitchers such as Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax, Lincecum had short prime, before his arm couldn't maintain the All-Star level performance he put on early in his career. But at his best, The Freak entertained baseball fans in four All-Star games, two no-hitters in 2013 and 14, three World Series titles, and one World Series MVP.

Despite how skilled his was, watching Lincecum over the past four seasons has been as difficult as watching Kevin Garnett late in his career: An athlete who went from a force of nature, someone who could control his game flawlessly to a below-average player sticking around because of his past accolades.

Nothing is worse in sports than watching a player struggle to do the things that were once second nature. But unlike Garnett, Lincecum couldn't blame his problem on age or injury. His struggle was that his body couldn't handle the innings anymore, the reason he became a pretty good relief pitcher his last two seasons in San Francisco.

Still, I don't want to see Chris Paul come off the bench and play 12 minutes a game, I don't want to see Adrian Peterson being the second back in a two back system, and I don't want to see Tim Lincecum pitch an inning and a third every couple nights.

I want to see Big Time Timmy Jim pitch every five to six days, give up about two to three runs in seven innings while striking out eight. Though it was just one start against a weak offensive team in the Athletics, a guy can hope for one of his favorite players to return to stardom.

Hey, I hoped the same thing a few years back with Bartolo Colon.

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Sports |  Source: newsweek.com

The Top Athletes of 2016 (so far)

Who has left their mark already this year?

Considering that we're now a little more than halfway through 2016, it's worth thinking who has been worthy thus far of being a candidate for Athlete of the Year. It could very well be a close race, and there's still plenty of time left, but here are some names to think about. I have chosen at least one athlete from each of the "Big 4" North American leagues, as well as one soccer star and one athlete in an "other" category.

NFL: Peyton Manning
Peyton wasn't the MVP of Super Bowl L (and rightfully so; Von Miller did terrific defensive work), but not everybody goes out on top, and Peyton certainly has that bragging right.

He not only finished his career a two-time Super Bowl champion and the Super Bowl XLI MVP, but he also stands atop the NFL in career passing yards, career passing touchdowns and career wins. Peyton Manning finished his career in 2016 by completing the mark he left on football.

NBA: Stephen Curry
I've said before I'm not a big NBA fan, but if there is one person who left me in awe with their basketball skills, it's Steph Curry. If felt like just about every day during the NBA season, I'd wake up to highlights of Curry and his unbelievable shooting.

Finishing the 2015-16 regular season with numbers like 30.1 ppg, a .504 field goal percentage and a .454 3-point percentage, it's no surprise Curry was a unanimous choice for this season's MVP.

NBA: LeBron James
Of course, the Warriors didn't win the NBA Championship this year; that went to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He didn't lead the league in any regular season stats, but he certainly helped the Cavs in their 21 playoff games.

He finished the postseason with 26.3 ppg, 9.5 rebounds per game, 7.6 assists per game and a .525 field goal percentage. He also made history during the final series, as he became the first in NBA history to lead both teams in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. In addition, he became only the third person to record a triple-double in an NBA Finals elimination game and Game 7.

Other: Brock Lesnar
"Tom, what are you thinking? Putting a guy in a fake sport in this list?" First of all, the term is choreographed and not fake. Secondly, you try to find someone who would work a UFC bout and then get ready to have a big match at WWE's second biggest event of the year.

Not many two-sport athletes out there anymore, are there? "But his UFC match hasn't happened! What if he loses?" There's that chance, but it still doesn't deny Lesnar's athletic ability. When Paul Heyman brags to a Monday Night Raw audience that Lesnar's an NCAA D-I Wrestling champion, a UFC Heavyweight Champion and a WWE Champion, it's no gimmick -- it's truth.

You can argue if pro wrestlers are actually athletes or not, but there's no denying Lesnar is something special. Plus, his UFC return announcement shocked people, certainly leaving everyone in both worlds talking.

Also, he just got announced as the cover man for WWE 2K17 and the trailer looks badass.

MLB: Chris Sale
I'm so glad I picked Sale up in my fantasy baseball league. He has been one of the best -- if not the best -- pitcher in the major leagues this season, and a true standout player. At the end of June, he had a 13-2 record, 109 strikeouts, a 2.79 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He may let up quite a few hits and runs in his outings, but he does enough that his team can support him to get a W -- and that's the most a pitcher can ask for.

NHL: Patrick Kane
I know, his 2015-16 season didn't start off the best to say the least, but he played all 82 season games, going on to total 106 points (46 goals and 60 assists), becoming the top scorer in the NHL this past season.

It was the first time he ever reached the 40-goal mark, and he became the first NHL player to reach 100 season points since Doug Weight in 1995-96. He was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and the NHLPA's Most Outstanding Player award.

Soccer: Cristiano Ronaldo
In 36 appearances for Real Madrid, he has 35 goals, he was the Champions League top scorer for 2015-16 and he has a 2015-16 UEFA Champions League title. In international play for Portugal, he has 5 goals in 7 appearances, and Portugal is scheduled to compete in a UEFA Euro 2016 quarterfinal against Poland. He also won La Liga Player of the Year and Best Striker in the 2016 Facebook Football Awards. Let's see how much more Ronaldo can add to his already stacked trophy case.

We still have plenty of events left this year, including the 2016 Summer Olympics, the 2016 MLB postseason, the NFL season and first half to the NBA and NHL seasons. So keep your eyes open for more great athletic performances.