Jackson signing a football in February 2004.
|Date of birth:November 30, 1962|
|Place of birth: Bessemer, Alabama|
|High school: McAdory (AL)|
|NFL Draft: 1986 and 1987 / Round: 1st(1986) 7th(1987) / Pick: 1st(1986) 183rd(1987)|
|Debuted in 1987 for the Los Angeles Raiders|
|Last played in 1990 for the Los Angeles Raiders|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
|College Football Hall of Fame|
|Outfielder / designated hitter|
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 2, 1986 for the Kansas City Royals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 10, 1994 for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||415|
|Career highlights and awards|
Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson (born November 30, 1962) is a retired American baseball and football player. He was the first (and is the only) athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1985.
In football, Jackson played running back for the Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League. In baseball, he played left field and was a designated hitter for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels of the American League in Major League Baseball. While at Auburn University, Jackson won the 1985 Heisman Trophy, annually awarded to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the United States. He also ran a 40-yard dash in 4.12 seconds (hand-timed), which is still the fastest verifiable 40-yard dash time ever recorded at any NFL Combine. A hip injury in January 1991 ended his football career and severely impaired his professional baseball career.
In 1989 and 1990, Jackson's name became known beyond just sports fans through the "Bo Knows" advertising campaign, a series of advertisements by Nike, that starred Jackson alongside Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Bo Diddley, promoting a cross-training athletic shoe named for Jackson.
Early life 
Jackson, the eighth of ten children, was born and raised in Bessemer, Alabama, and was named after Vince Edwards, his mother's favorite actor. His family described him as a "wild boar hog," as he would constantly get into trouble. The nickname was eventually shortened to "Bo."
Jackson attended McAdory High School in McCalla, where he rushed for 1175 yards as a running back as a high school senior. Jackson also hit twenty home runs in twenty-five games for McAdory's baseball team during his senior season. He was also a two-time state champion in the 100-meter dash. Bo also set state school records for high-jump and triple-jump.
College (1982–1985) 
In June 1982, Jackson was selected by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1982 Major League Baseball Draft, but he instead chose to attend Auburn University on a football scholarship. He was recruited by head coach Pat Dye and then Auburn assistant coach Bobby Wallace. At Auburn, he proved to be a tremendous athlete in both baseball and football. He shared the backfield with quarterback Randy Campbell, Lionel "Little Train" James and Tommie Agee.
College baseball 
Jackson batted .401 with 17 home runs and 43 RBIs in 1985. In a 1985 baseball game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Foley Field in Athens, Georgia, Jackson led Auburn to victory with a 4-for-5 performance, with three home runs and a double. Jackson missed the 1984 season after separating his shoulder during football season.
College football 
During his time playing for the Auburn Tigers football team, he ran for 4,303 career yards, which was the fourth best performance in SEC history. Jackson finished his career with an average of 6.6 yards (6.0 m) per carry, which set the SEC record (minimum 400 rushes).
In 1982, Jackson's freshman year, Auburn played Boston College in the Tangerine Bowl, where Jackson made a one-handed grab on an option pitch. Auburn went on to win the game 33–26 as Jackson rushed 14 times for 64 yards and 2 TDs.
In 1983, as a sophomore, Jackson rushed for 1,213 yards (1,109 m) on 158 carries, for an average of 7 yards per carry, which was the 2nd best single-season average in SEC history (min. 100 rushes). In the 1983 Auburn-Alabama game, Jackson rushed for 256 yards on 20 rushes (12.8 yards per carry), which at the time was the sixth-most rushing yards gained in a game in SEC history and the 2nd best yard-per-rush average in a game (min. 20 attempts) in SEC history. Auburn finished the season by winning the Sugar Bowl, where Jackson was named Most Valuable Player. In 1984, Jackson's junior year (most of which Jackson missed due to injury), he earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Liberty Bowl.
In 1985, Jackson rushed for 1,786 yards which was the second best single-season performance in SEC history. That year, he averaged 6.4 yards per rush, which at the time was the best single-season average in SEC history. For his performance in 1985, Jackson was awarded the Heisman Trophy in what was considered the closest margin of victory ever in the history of the award, winning over University of Iowa quarterback Chuck Long.
Jackson finished his career at Auburn with 4,575 all-purpose yards and 45 total touchdowns, 43 rushing and 2 receiving, with a 6.6 yards per carry average. Jackson's football number 34 was officially retired at Auburn in a halftime ceremony on October 31, 1992. His is one of only three numbers retired at Auburn, the others being 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan's number 7, and Sullivan's teammate and favorite receiver, Terry Beasley (88). In 2007, Jackson was ranked #8 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list.
Historic moments 
On November 27, 1982, Bo Jackson and the Auburn Tigers found themselves embattled with their heated in-state rival, Alabama (7-3), in the Iron Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. Auburn held a 14-13 halftime lead when Alabama's RB Paul Ott Carruth scored on an 8-yard TD run—and then the Crimson Tide added a field goal to make it a 22-14 Alabama lead going into the 4th quarter. Auburn responded as Al Del Greco made a 23-yard FG to make it a 22-17 score in the 4th quarter. From Auburn's own 34-yard line, Bo Jackson and company began a long drive as he converted on a 4th-and-1 at the Alabama 42. Jackson, who ran 17 times for 114 yards during this Iron Bowl, continued marching his team downfield as he caught an 8-yard pass from QB Randy Campbell down to the Alabama 1-yard line. On fourth down with 2:26 left in the game, Jackson completed the drive by going over the top for a 1-yard TD run as Auburn (finished 9-3 in '82) pulled off a 23-22 victory over Alabama and its legendary coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant.
College track and field 
Jackson qualified for the NCAA nationals in the 100-meter dash his freshman and sophomore years. He thought about a career in track and field, but sprinting would not gain him the financial security of the MLB or NFL, nor would he have sufficient time to train, given his other commitments. Going into the 1986 NFL Draft, Jackson ran a 4.12 40-yard dash time (which was unofficially hand timed: the NFL Combine didn't start electronically timing athletes until 1990).
Personal bests 
|50 meters||5.78||Rosemont, Illinois||January 29, 1984|
|100 meters||10.44||Tallahassee, Florida||March 17, 1984|
Professional sports career 
Kansas City Royals 
Jackson was selected with the first overall pick of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he opted to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals, the defending World Series champions. He spent 53 games with the Memphis Chicks, the Royals' Class AA minor league affiliate, and was called up to the majors in September 1986. He made the Royals' roster in 1987 and hit 22 home runs, with 53 RBIs and 10 stolen bases as an outfielder.
Jackson began to show his true potential in 1989, when he was voted to start for the American League All-Star team, and was named the game's MVP for his play on both offense and defense. In the top of the first inning, he caught Pedro Guerrero's 2-out line drive to left-center field to save two runs. Then he led off the bottom of the first—his first All-Star plate appearance—with a monstrous 448-foot (137 m) home run off Rick Reuschel of the San Francisco Giants. NBC-TV announcer Vin Scully exclaimed, "Look at that one! Bo Jackson says hello!" Wade Boggs followed with his own home run, making them the first pair in All-Star history to lead off their side's first with back-to-back home runs. In the 2nd inning, he beat out the throw on a potential double play to drive in the eventual winning run. He then stole 2nd base, making him one of two players in All-Star Game history to hit a home run and steal a base in the same game (the other is Willie Mays). Jackson finished the game with two hits in four at-bats, one run scored, and two RBI.
On June 5, 1989, Jackson ran down a long line-drive deep to left field on a hit-and-run play against the Seattle Mariners. With speedy Harold Reynolds running from first base on the play, Scott Bradley's hit would have been deep enough to score him against most outfielders. But Jackson, from the warning track, turned flat footed and fired a strike to catcher Bob Boone, who tagged the sliding Reynolds out. Jackson's throw reached Boone on the fly. Interviewed for the "Bo Jackson" episode of ESPN Classic's SportsCentury, Reynolds admitted that he thought there was no way anyone would throw him out on such a deep drive into the gap in left-center, and was shocked to see his teammate telling him to slide as he rounded third base.
On July 29, 1989 against the Baltimore Orioles, Jackson, batting against Jeff Ballard, turned to the home plate umpire and attempted to call time out as Ballard was delivering the ball. The time-out wasn't granted, but Jackson recovered to swing and hit the pitch over the left-field wall for a home run despite only really seeing the ball as it was on its way to the plate.
Jackson's 171 strike outs in 1989 tied him for tenth most strike outs in a season for a right hand batter since 1893.
On July 11, 1990 against the Orioles, Jackson performed his famous "wall run," when he caught a ball approximately 2–3 strides away from the wall. As he caught the ball at full tilt, Jackson looked up and noticed the wall and began to run up the wall, one leg reaching higher as he ascended. He ran along the wall almost parallel to the ground, and came down with the catch, to avoid impact and the risk of injury from the fence.
During the 1990 season, Jackson hit HRs in 4 consecutive at-bats tying a Major League record (held by several). His 4th came off of Randy Johnson after hitting his first 3 before a stint on the DL.
After a poor at bat he was known to snap the bat over his knee or, with his helmet on, over his head.
Unwilling to pay his $2.375 million salary in 1991 to rehabilitate his football injury, the Royals released Jackson on March 18, 1991.
Chicago White Sox and California Angels 
Before Jackson finished his career in California he played two seasons with the Chicago White Sox, appearing in 23 games in 1991 and 85 games in 1993. It was with the White Sox that he made his only post-season appearance, in the 1993 American League Championship Series, which Chicago lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in six games.
While with the Sox, Jackson promised his mom that once he returned from his hip replacement surgery that he would hit a home run for her. Before he could return, his mother died. In his first at bat after surgery he hit a home run to right field. Jackson had the ball encased in acrylic and bolted to the dresser in her room, according to an interview on ESPN.
In his eight baseball seasons, Jackson had a career batting average of .250, hit 141 home runs and had 415 RBIs, with a slugging average of .474. His best year was 1989, with his effort earning him All-Star status. In 1989, Bo ranked fourth in the league in both home runs, with 32, and RBI, with 105.
Notable achievements 
- AL All-Star (1989)
- 1989 All-Star Game MVP
- 1993 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (1987–1990)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1989)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1989)
Jackson was drafted first overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the Buccaneers, not wanting their new draftee to have an outstanding season playing baseball for Auburn that year, took Jackson on a trip in a private plane which they said was cleared by the NCAA. This cost him his college eligibility for the rest of his senior year. They also gave Jackson an ultimatum to choose baseball or football. This prompted him to sign with the Kansas City Royals. Since he did not sign with a team by the 1987 draft, his rights were forfeited by Tampa Bay and his name was thrown back into the draft. With the 183rd overall pick the Los Angeles Raiders selected Jackson, who fell to the 7th round amid questions of him ever playing football, with Jackson stating on draft day he would "put a poster up that says 'I'm a baseball player.'". Raiders owner Al Davis supported Jackson and his baseball career and got Jackson to sign a contract by offering him a salary that was comparable to a full-time starting running back but allowing Jackson to join the Raiders only after the baseball season ended.
Joining the Raiders midway through the 1987 season, Jackson rushed for 554 yards on 81 carries in just seven games. Over the next three seasons, Jackson would rush for 2,228 more yards and 12 touchdowns: a remarkable achievement, in light of the fact that he was a "second string" player behind Marcus Allen.
Jackson turned in a 221 yard rushing performance on Monday Night Football in 1987 against the Seattle Seahawks. During this game, he ran over Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth, who had insulted Jackson and promised in a media event before the game to contain Jackson. He also made a 91 yard run in the 2nd quarter, to the outside, untouched down the sideline. He continued sprinting until finally slowing down as he passed through the entrance to the field tunnel to the dressing rooms with teammates soon following. Jackson scored two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in the game.
In his four seasons in the NFL, Jackson rushed for 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns with an average yards per carry of 5.4. He also caught 40 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson's 221 yards on November 30, 1987, just 29 days after his first NFL carry, is still a Monday Night Football record.
NFL statistics 
Injury and comeback 
During the divisional round of the 1990 NFL playoffs in January 1991, Jackson was tackled by Kevin Walker of the Cincinnati Bengals, causing a serious hip injury that ended Jackson's football career and seriously threatened his baseball career. After Jackson was tackled and lying in pain on the ground, he allegedly popped his hip back into place. In an interview on Untold, his Royals teammate George Brett, who attended the game, said he asked the trainer what had happened to Bo. The trainer replied: "Bo says he felt his hip come out of the socket, so he popped it back in, but that's just impossible, no one's that strong."
Following surgery and rehabilitation on his injured hip, it was discovered that Jackson had avascular necrosis, as a result of decreased blood supply to the head of his left femur. This caused deterioration of the femoral head, ultimately requiring that the hip be replaced. Amazingly, Jackson was able to return to baseball toward the end of the 1991 season as a member of the White Sox after the Royals had released him. Jackson missed the entire 1992 baseball season. When he announced soon after his surgery that he would play baseball again, many thought that goal to be unrealistic, especially at the Major League level.
Before returning to baseball, Jackson tried his luck in basketball; he played briefly for a semi-pro team in Los Angeles before quietly retiring to focus on baseball.
Jackson was able to return to the Chicago White Sox in 1993, and in his first at-bat, against the New York Yankees, he homered on his first swing. The next day Nike ran a full-page ad in USA Today; it simply read "Bo Knew." He would hit 16 home runs and 45 RBIs that season, helping lead the White Sox to the American League West Division crown. Jackson was honored with the Tony Conigliaro Award.
Yet while his power remained, he no longer possessed his blazing speed. During his time with the White Sox, Jackson had no stolen bases, although he did play in his only career postseason games. For the 1994 season, he was signed as a free agent by the California Angels for one final season, where he hit another 13 home runs in 201 at bats, before retiring during the strike.
"Bo Knows..." 
Jackson became a popular figure for his athleticism in multiple sports through the late 1980s and early 1990s. He endorsed Nike and was involved in a popular ad campaign called "Bo Knows" which envisioned Jackson attempting to take up a litany of other sports, including tennis, golf, luge, auto racing, and even playing blues music with Bo Diddley, who scolded Jackson by telling him, "You don't know Diddley!" (In a later version of the spot, Jackson is shown playing the guitar expertly, after which an impressed Diddley says, "Bo...you do know Diddley, don't you?") Coincidentally, the original spot first aired during the commercial break immediately following Jackson's lead-off home run in the 1989 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Video games 
Jackson's digital counterpart, known as "Tecmo Bo", was featured in the 1989 video game Tecmo Super Bowl for the Nintendo Entertainment System. He also had his own video game for the original Game Boy portable gaming system, Bo Jackson's Hit and Run. The game featured both baseball and football. Released around the same time was Bo Jackson Baseball for the NES system and IBM compatible computers.
Bo Jackson can be unlocked as a player in ESPN NFL Football.
Bo Jackson had also made an appearance in the 2004 video game NFL Street 2.
In 2007, Nike released a set of Nike Dunk shoes honoring Bo Jackson. The set featured three colorways based on previously released Nike shoes: the "Bo Knows" Trainer I, Trainer 91 and Medicine Ball Trainer III.
Pre-game traditions 
Before Royals games, Jackson used to shoot at a target with a crossbow while in the Royals clubhouse.
Life after sports 
In 1995, Jackson completed his bachelor of science degree in Family and Child Development at Auburn to fulfill the promise he made to his mother. Through the 1990s, Jackson dabbled in acting, having made several television guest appearances first on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990 as well as Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Married with Children. He later appeared in small roles in the films The Chamber, The Pandora Project and Fakin' Da Funk.
The Chicago White Sox chose Jackson to throw the ceremonial first pitch before Game Two of the 2005 World Series. The White Sox would win that game on a 9th inning walk-off home run, then go on to sweep Houston Astros for their first Championship in 88 years.
In 2006, Jackson appeared on the Spike TV sports reality show, Pros vs. Joes. In his second appearance, he easily defeated amateur athletes in a home run-hitting contest. When he bunted instead of swinging on his final try for a home run, the announcer stated: "Bo knows taunting."
In 2007, Bo came together with John Cangelosi to form the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Complex, an 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m2) multi-sports dome facility in Lockport, Illinois. He is part-owner and CEO of the facility. He has been successful with other investments, like his food company, N'Genuity. He often says that while he may have been great for sports, sports were no doubt greater for him considering the post-career opportunities that have been afforded to him.
Jackson and his family live in Burr Ridge, Illinois. He is among a group of investors who own The Burr Ridge Bank and Trust in the Chicago suburbs where he lives. He is on the bank's board of directors and is said to be "rolling up his sleeves" and working along with everyone else to make sure that the small bank becomes a success during tough financial times. According to Jackson: "we have no type of debt, like all the other banks. We're a small community bank and one thing we all decided, is that if we are going to do a bank in our community, it needs to be owned by the people who live in the community."
On July 12, 2010 Jackson threw the ceremonial first pitch before the 2010 Home Run Derby at Angel Stadium in Anaheim California and participated in the celebrity softball game.
After 20 years since his famous "Bo Knows" campaign, Jackson returned to do commercials for Nike in the fall of 2010 for their "BOOM" campaign. In this commercial, he playfully taunted New York Yankees star Robinson Canó during batting practice before being impressed by a hit, responding to it by saying "Boom!"
In December of that year, Jackson was named a 2011 winner of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, given annually to six former NCAA student-athletes for distinguished career accomplishment on the 25th anniversary of their college graduation.
In April 2012, Jackson participated in Bo Bikes Bama, a 300-mile cycling trip in support of tornado victims in Alabama.
On March 3, 2013, Jackson won ESPN's Sport Science "Greatest Athlete of All Time" bracket, defeating Roger Federer, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan in the semifinal, and Jim Brown to claim the title.
See also 
- Bo Knows Bo, Jackson's autobiography
- List of multi-sport athletes
- List of athletes who played in Major League Baseball and the National Football League
- "ESPN Classic". Retrieved June 1, 2007.
- Cooney, Frank (February 24, 2008). "With 40-yard (37 m) dash times, nothing's quite 'official'". USA Today. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
- Cooney, Frank (February 18, 2009). "History by the numbers: Combine has come a long way". CBS Sports. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
- Morrison, Alec, Bo Knows the Heisman, CNN/Sports Illustrated, cnnsi.com, November 4, 2000
- Weinre, Michael, Bo Knows Best, ESPN, espn.com, 2008
- "Interview with Bo Jackson". National Strength and Conditioning Association. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ESPN SportsCentury (TV-Series).
- "2013 Auburn baseball fact book". cstv.com. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "2011 Southeastern Conference Football Media Guide". 8/29/11.
- "Auburn quarterback shoots down Boston College". Anchorage Daily News (Anchorage, Alaska). Dec. 18, 1982. p. C-5. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "Liberty Bowl MVPs". Liberty Bowl. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
- "Tigers Claw 'Bama 23-22". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.). Nov. 28, 1982. p. 16-B. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- "Bo Jackson Minor League Statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Looney, Douglas S. (July 14, 1986). "Bo's Not One To Go With The Flow". Sports Illustrated: 36.
- Baseball Almanac|http://www.baseball-almanac.com/asgbox/yr1989as.shtml
- Baseball Almanac 1989 All-Star game play by play |http://www.baseball-almanac.com/asgbox/1989_all_star_game_play_by_play.shtml
- The SABR Baseball List & Record Book, Lyle Spatz, Editor. 2007.
- Wulf, Steve (April 1, 1991). "Say it ain't so, Bo". Sports Illustrated: 34.
- Sport Illustrated (accessdate=2001-02-21). "Say It Ain't So: Tampa Bay Buccaneers". sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
- Flatter, Ron (accessdate=2007-08-21). "Bo knows stardom and disappointment". ESPN.com.
- "1987 Draft : In 7th Round, Raiders Draft Jackson--But He Says He's a Baseball Player". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Bob Nightengale (7/12/2010). "Bo Jackson reflects on past life 21 years after his All-Star blast". USA Today. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Bo Jackson completes comeback with White Sox - Jackson signed by Chicago White Sox". Jet. April 12, 1993. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Best Spots of the 90's". AdWeek. March 20, 2000. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2007.
- ESPN.com – Page2
- Video game fame – Salon.com
- EUKicks – Nike “Bo Jackson” Dunk High Pack"
- Nicekicks – Bo Jackson Trainer Dunk Highs
- Bo Knows Tecmo Bowl Shirt retrieved 2011-09-10
- Kaegel, Dick (February 28, 2004). "Kaegel to cover KC for MLB.com". Kansas City Royals. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
- Jerry Crowe (April 15, 2009). "Bo Jackson is thriving outside the lines". Statesman.com.
- Gribble, Andrew (March 10, 2009). "AU FOOTBALL: Bo talks life after football". Auburn University Beat Reporter. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
- "NCAA Names Silver Anniversary Winners" (Press release). NCAA. December 1, 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- "Greatest Athlete of All Time" (Press release). ESPN. March 3, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
Further reading 
- Gutman, Bill, Bo Jackson, 1991, Simon Spotlight Entertainment
- White, Ellen Emerson, Bo Jackson: Playing the Games, 1990
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bo Jackson|
- Bo Jackson at the College Football Hall of Fame
- Bo Jackson at the Heisman Trophy
- Monday Night Football recap for November 30, 1987
- Bo Jackson at the Internet Movie Database
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube
- Career statistics and player information from Pro-Football-Reference