Top five professional multi-sport athletes

Tim Tebow is trying to make the transition from football to baseball. Will he one day ascend to the level of these multi-sport athletes?

Tim Tebow is trying to make the transition from football to baseball. Will he one day ascend to the level of these multi-sport athletes?

Tim Tebow is trying to be a professional baseball player. He is 29 and hasn't played a competitive game of baseball since he was in high school, but sure, go for it Timmy. He had an open tryout that caught the attention of more than half of major league teams. It also inspired me to come up with a top five list of professional multi-sport athletes. That excludes athletes who excelled in multiple sports in high school and college like Antonio Gates, LeBron James and Dave Winfield. This is a list for athletes who played two different sports at the professional level (or achieved Olympic greatness), and played them well. I can't have Michael Jordan on this list because despite being the greatest basketball player who's ever lived, he was a bad baseball player. Here goes nothing. 

5. Bob Hayes

Hayes was well known as "Bullet Bob" due to his blinding speed. At the 1964 Olympics, he won gold in the 100 m and 4x100 m relay, setting world record times in both events. Hayes never ran another track race after that, as he decided to pursue a football career. That worked out well for him, as he had an illustrious 11-year career in the NFL. He caught 371 passes in his career, 71 of which were touchdowns. He was selected to three Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. 

4. Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Zaharias is like that friend you have that is crazy athletic and can pick up a sport and be good at it naturally. In her youth, she was an All-American basketball player along with being a great softball player, diver and bowler. She rose to fame after she won two gold medals (80 m hurdles and javelin throw) and a silver (high jump) in the 1932 Olympics. After the Olympics, she picked up golf and found her niche. She went on to win every golf title that was available for her to win. She won a total of 82 tournaments in her career, including 10 major championships.  

3. Deion Sanders 

Sanders earned the nickname Prime Time for obvious reasons. He was an extremely gifted athlete that made you stop what you were doing to stop and watch his greatness. He is well known as one of the best defensive players to ever play the game of football, but he also had success as a Major League Baseball player. Sanders played 9 seasons in the major leagues for a total of 641 games. He's the only person that has hit a home run and scored a touchdown in the same week, which he did in 1989. He's also the only athlete to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series. Unlike Jordan, Sanders was a productive player. In 1992 with the Atlanta Braves he hit for an average of .304 with 26 stolen bases and a National League-leading 14 triples. 

2. Jim Thorpe  

Thorpe is widely regarded as the greatest athlete of all-time, which is hard to argue with. He won gold in the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympic Games. That's impressive enough as it is, considering the winner of the decathlon is widely identified as the world's greatest athlete. Thorpe was far from finished though, as he would play baseball, football and basketball professionally until he was 41 years old. Of those sports, he had the most success as a football player. He was a running back who also had a knack for kicking and punting. He sealed the 1919 American Professional Football Association (APFA) Championship with a wind-aided 95-yard punt from his team's own five-yard line. He's arguably the greatest athlete ever, but there is no argument to refute his status as the most versatile athlete ever. 

1. Bo Jackson

Jackson won the Heisman trophy in 1985. He was drafted first overall in 1986 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but decided to play professional baseball instead. By 1987, he was playing in both the NFL and MLB. He is the only player to ever be named an MLB All-Star and be selected for a Pro Bowl. I feel like the most effective way to prove Jackson's other-worldly athleticism is simply to show his highlights rather than to talk about it. Here's Jackson running up a wall. Here he is running for a 91-yard touchdown and then continuing into a tunnel because he couldn't stop his momentum. Here he is proving his arm is actually crafted by Zeus himself. Jackson is clearly not human, especially because he achieved all of these athletic feats without lifting weights. Oh yeah, and he's the most dominant sports video game character of all-time.