Jan 24, 2001: Deion takes another shot
Submitted by BTGrimes on Thu, 01/24/2013 - 10:00am
Deion Tries Baseball Again
CINCINNATI, OHIO - Deion Sanders decided to give baseball another try and was invited to spring training by the Cincinnati Reds on this date in 2001. General Manager Jim Bowden gave the 2-sport star a non-guaranteed minor league contract to play for the Triple-A Louisville Riverbats.
The Washington Redskins all-pro cornerback hadn't played major league baseball in three years. He played 115 games in the outfield for the Reds in 1997, hitting .273 with 56 stolen bases, 53 runs scored and 23 RBI, but he was 29 then. He was 33 in 2001.
Sanders made it up to the Reds for 32 games in 2001, but he hit just .173 in seventy-five at-bats, and that was the end of his baseball career. In a 9-year major league career with the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Reds and San Francisco Giants Sanders played in 641 games, hitting .263 with a .319 on base percentage and 186 stolen bases. He hit .533 (8 for 15) and had five stolen bases for the Braves in the 1992 World Series which was won by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Sanders gave whichever baseball team he played for instant speed. He had a more productive football career - eight time all-pro and played on two Super Bowl winning teams - but the debate that will never be answered is, how good a baseball player would he have been had he played with a bat and ball exclusively. He knew which was more challenging when asked by the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2000:
Q - What's tougher: hitting off Greg Maddux or guarding Jerry Rice?
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