Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy 50th, Bo!

I guess some of you don't remember Bo Jackson—I do. The greatest athlete I ever saw, and I was in the arena that night Michael Jordan scored 51 for the Washington Wizards.

Bo was an electrifying combination of speed and power, an all-star in two professional sports. He'd do things you'd never see anybody do before or since, like run along the outfield wall or break a bat over his head or outrun the entire Seattle defense on a Monday night in 1987, even though they had the angle on him.

Not to mention that in his first at bat against the New York Yankees after his hip replacement surgery, he hit an opposite field home run. Tell that to your grandmother the next time she whines about slipping on the ice.

Legendary sportswriter Dick Schaap voted him the greatest athlete of the 20th century.

My little brother knew Bo personally back when they were both students at Auburn and said he was a wonderful guy. I never met him myself, so my Bo story comes second hand through my law school roommate, who was pals with the kid who was the starting pitcher for Samford the day Bo and the Auburn Tigers baseball team came to Birmingham to play. In Bo's first at bat, the kid threw him a slider low and away that Bo lined off the rightfield fence for a double. "No way he hits that pitch for a double again," the kid said. So the next time up, he threw the same slider, low and away. This time Bo lined it over the fence for a home run.

The kid was out of the game by the time Bo came up again. I think the final score was 15-1. Good times.

Happy birthday, Bo!


mister muleboy said...

Bo sucked


His homer in the All-Star Game off Dennis Martinez, The Greatest Ballplayer of All Times, influences my opinion

Mythical Monkey said...

No, no, you can go back to loving Bo Jackson -- he actually hit the homer in the All-Star game off Rick Reuschel.

He also stole a base in that game, and along with Willie Mays, is the only person to ever do both in the same All-Star appearance.

VKMfanHuey said... you are REALLY in my wheelhouse... Bo grew up in McCalla, AL., about a 15 minute car ride from where I am currently sitting. Heck, I ate dinner out there a few nights ago... I was an Auburn psycho-fan growing up (I root for my lowly alma mater UAB now, but still an Aubie in part), and Bo came through AU when I was in high school... just did incredible stuff on the field, and even when it was to the point that the other team KNEW he was gonna get 40-45 carries, he STILL could make some big plays.
One of my fave moments is when he ran over Bosworth at the goal line in a Monday Night Raiders-Seahawks game - classic.
His baseball stuff was incredible as well...throwing folks out at home from the warning track... climbing outfield walls in stride to make catches... and, if he was 'full time' baseball', he would have improved his strikeout percentage, obviously...but still had a fair .pct for his career...

When he won the Heisman, there was a banquet for him nearby, and I was fortunate enough to attend... we were for some reason waiting outside - probably waiting on the tickets or something - anyway, the limo pulls up, and Bo and his entourage jumps out... the first two dudes were hauling in the Heisman...a few other folks came in... and then Bo himself... and, as I was right at the entry door, I held the door for him and his crew...he just nodded a thanks as he went by... pretty cool stuff for a high school kid.

Anyway, quite simply the greatest athlete ever... wish he would have stuck to baseball - he would have had a pretty long career, and he would be probably closing in on the Hall of Fame by now... I went to a Royals game last summer (during the Gingertennial), and their 'intro video' had more than a few clips of Bo doing his thang... pretty cool.

Well, dang - hard to believe he's 50!

Thanks, MM!


VKMfanHuey said...

...and oh yeah, forgot to mention Samford...yeah...had a good friend who threw shot put there...actually, another friend of mine also went there knew the shot-put dude, so...heck I went to a heap of football and basketball games at Seibert Stadium and Bashinsky Hall...and a few baseball games as was a few years after Bo...5 or so to be exact... I was in school at UAB... anyway, cool to hear those tales... his feats at the high school level alone would fill a book... how he WAS the McAdory HS Track team...and he not only won most everything he competed in at the State Finals, he broke more than a few records... I'm trying to remember if 84 was when the US boycotted the would hvae been cool to see him there...not sure if he would have qualified, but...he would have been in the ballpark, from what I've heard...

Mythical Monkey said...

I saw a lot of Bo in college -- my little brother was a student at Auburn and my big brother and his wife lived there (and still do) -- so I'd drive down from law school to watch the games. Man, Bo could run.

Mythical Monkey said...

And I hope my little brother won't mind, but we exchanged e-mails last night about Bo. My e-mail is in italics, his follows:

by the way, today is Bo Jackson's 50th birthday. i mentioned that you knew him back in the day.

I did – he loved me. He carved it into a tree – BJ + TP – okay I made that up

I remember when I had dinner with him (it was part of a charity auction for which I was the auctioneer), everyone lined up to get their picture with him. I was in line but watching how uncomfortable Bo seemed with it all so I sat back down. We sat across from each other that night and I gave him sh*t the whole time. When I was doing the auction, David King, who was an All-American DB for AU, yelled out “$10,000,000” before I even started and I said “look Bo, Donald Trump is here” (it was right after Herschel Walker got booted from UGA for taking money from Trump and the USFL). Bo got so tickled he took off running around the crowd and came back to the podium.

My other Bo story is my first quarter at AU (Summer 82) – I had a History class with many of the incoming freshmen – including BO – and Alan Evans was in the class. Evans was THE number one recruit in AL that year and maybe the top High school RB in the US. My first friend at AU kept telling me “Evans isn’t ‘the guy’, it’s that guy right there – Vincent Jackson”. Before the season starts, word starts spreading around campus about Bo Jackson at practice. Dye even makes him wear 34 like H. Walker. First game against Wake Forest, one of Bo’s first carries is a long TD – my friend starts throwing ice at me from above and is yelling “see! I told you!”

VKMfanHuey said...

...great stuff!

..heh heh... I seldom get accused of 'man-crush', but anytime Bo is brought up, my wife just rolls her eyes..."here you go with Bo this, Bo that...blah blah blah..."

...BTW, I was at the first USFL game for Hershel... it was at Legion Field against the B'ham Stallions...sat in the upper deck, which was quite perilous under any circumstance... Flutie was the Generals QB...think B'ham got them on that day, tho...

The Heisman banquet I went to was interesting, as it was kind of a roast thing...and, as you know, Bo had some speech issues growing I wasn't sure how well he would fare when he took the podium...but dang, he got up and started rattling off all kinds of was like watching Eddie Murphy or something (without the potty mouth...) what I had heard from a few other folks was confirmed...when Bo interviewed, he may have been a bit nervous, but....he was actually just careful not to say anything the media would jump on... of course today, that is magnified x1000 with socialmedia.

And, I remember that Wake Forest game as well... well, I didn't make it to that one....only saw Bo once, vs...Cincinnati...when they were not that good... Bo got his 225-230 yards quick and had an early day of it...

...and, not to change this into a 'pure sports' deal, but...(I love it when someone starts a sentence out like that, don't you?)... just wondering what's your brother's take on a new coach for AU... looks like Petrino, baggage and all...

Thanks, MM!


Mythical Monkey said...

BTW, I was at the first USFL game for Hershel... it was at Legion Field against the B'ham Stallions.

Holy hell -- me, too! I was sitting in the endzone, a crummy seat down low. It was actually a pretty dull game as I recall, with Birmingham winning a low-scoring affair.

just wondering what's your brother's take on a new coach for AU... looks like Petrino, baggage and all...

I'll have to ask him specifically about Petrino. This is what he said to me in an e-mail the other day:

"the big news here is the coaching search--everyone has an opinion and no one knows a thing. the four leaders seem to be bobby petrino, gus malzahn, jimbo fisher and kirby smart. that means they will probably hire someone we've never heard of. i'm afraid no matter who they hire, people will be unhappy."

You know, my big brother has been going to Auburn games since 1964, including I think every home game since 1980, and the Texas A&M game this year, when the Aggies scored 63, was the first one he ever walked out of. Left at halftime.

I knew Chizik was done then.

only saw Bo once, vs...Cincinnati...when they were not that good...

Saw Bo in college often, but the only time I saw him in the pros was as a baseball player, whenever the Royals would play the Orioles. I remember going on a Saturday night game once -- Bo hit a homer on Friday, hit one on Sunday, but was out of the lineup on Saturday. Wah wah wah.

But I did see him play on other occasions. No homers though.

Now I'm a Nationals fan, by the way ... haven't been to an O's game in years.

VKMfanHuey said...

small world... yeah, my dad took me to a heap of those games... Stallion Stomp...Joe Cribbs was the 'franchise' player for B'ham...seems like he had a pretty good career there...well for the 2 years or so of the USFL's existence... too bad Trump got greedy, else that league could still be kicking today...
I still trudge out to Legion field 5-6 times a year to watch UAB - my lowly alma mater - play... eh, it's something to pass the time...and they even win once in awhile...I was actually in Baton Rouge back in 2000 when they beat LSU - coached by Saban, no's still hard to believe Watson Brown has a 1-0 record against Sa-Bear...

Malzahn is in at AU... should work out well, since he recruited a fair portion of the dudes there... his wife Kristi is a hoot, tho! You can YouTube her...very lively lady.

Never saw Bo play baseball, strangely enough... he even 'rehabbed' here with the Barons before upping to the White Sox for a bit...

Saw the O's and Red Sox this year, when I went to Boston for the Ginger Exhibit...well, the game was in Baltimore... wanted to see a game in Fenway, but just so happened Springsteen was playing a few nights there...oh well.

...and, I was wanting to check out a Nats game, but they were outta town when we were in Maryland - Ellicott City is where my wife's aunt&uncle are...was our 'home base' to drive on to Boston and back. so we opted for an O's game - hopefully will catch the Nats next season.

Thanks for the vine, MM!!!

Hu...out....rack 'em!