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: 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: 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: 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: rushthecourt.net

College Success Doesn't Translate To A High Draft Pick

The best college player won't be picked first.

In case you haven't heard the news, here it is: Ben Simmons is pretty much locked in as the number one pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Shocking, right?

Yes, despite a lackluster freshman year (his only year in college, mind you) it looks like the Philadelphia 76ers are going to take him with the number one overall pick. Poor Ben Simmons.

Because, while Mr. Simmons didn't have a fantastic season playing on a mediocre LSU squad, he's apparently the most "pro-ready". He's 6'10", 225 pounds, and handles the ball like a point guard. The only downside is that he can't shoot, but I'm sure Philly will have no problem spending more money on another highly touted draft prospect whether or not it yields positive results.

I mean, when has that ever gone horribly wrong?

What I'm trying to say is that although Simmons is far and away the best draft prospect, he wasn't the best college basketball player in 2016 by any stretch.

In fact, according to many draft projections, you'd have to travel to the middle of the second round to find this past season's best basketball player.

I'm talking, of course, about Virginia shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon.

And maybe it's just the biased Virginia fan in me talking, but in my eyes, he is the best basketball player in this year's draft.

He certainly has the stats and accolades to prove it.

During the 2015-16 campaign, he averaged 18.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. Not too shabby, but nothing to really make you fall out of your seat.

But check out these awards: not only did Brogdon win the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award, but he managed to earn the ACC Player of the Year Award also... in the same year.

Yes, in the ACC which, and pardon me if you disagree (but you're completely wrong if you do), is the best basketball conference in America, he was the best defensive and offensive player during the 2016 season. Not Brandon Ingram, not Brice Johnson, not Malachi Richardson... Malcolm Brogdon.

Not to mention that he was also one of ten players in the entire country to be named to the 2016 Wooden All-American team.

And Virginia's sudden rise to relevancy? You can thank him.

While players like Joe Harris and Justin Anderson were the poster boys for Virginia's recent resurgence, Brogdon was just as important as anyone, save maybe Tony Bennett, in making Virginia one of the premier basketball programs in the country.

He's been at UVA for five years (virtually unheard of nowadays), helped them win two consecutive ACC regular season titles (2014 and 2015), led them as far as the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, and made clutch shots like this almost routine.

But because of his age (he's 23) his size (he's 6-foot-4) and an apparent aversion to analyzing performance over potential in the NBA nowadays, his name might not even be called in the first round of the draft.

What a pitty. Malcolm deserves more than this!

So can one of you teams with a first-round pick take a chance on my favorite Wahoo? Please? I would ask the Nets but...

Well, you know.