Fans watching Jameis Winston pull off an exciting winning drive for Florida State in the Bowl Championship Series may not know that the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback has bigger dreams.
He wants to be a major league baseball star, too.
Winston was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round in 2012. The outfielder chose FSU because coach Jimbo Fisher gave his blessing to Winston playing baseball, too.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Winston is serious about baseball and is looking forward to next month’s season opener.
There have been a number of baseball/football athletes in recent years: Bo Jackson, Brian Jordan and Deion Sanders.
Jackson played just 38 NFL games in four seasons from 1987-90 for the Raiders, averaging more than five yards a run. His football career was ended by a hip injury.
That hip injury truncated his baseball career, too. Jackson was an All-Star outfielder in 1990 when he hit 32 home runs and drove in 105 runs for Kansas City.
After the injury, he played parts of three more seasons with the White Sox and Angels.
Watching Jackson run out a routine grounder or climb a wall to make a catch was amazing, and it’s sad that he didn’t get a chance to prove how great a baseball player he was.
Sanders didn’t dedicate himself to baseball. A great runner, Sanders only played more than 100 games once, and missed three seasons at the height of his stellar NFL career.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter loves to tell stories about Sanders, who played for him in Double-A Albany in the Yankees organization. His speed amazed him, and they keep in touch. In Sept. 2012, Sanders, who was in town for a Ravens game, came to the ballpark and took batting practice.
Jordan, who’s from Baltimore played three years for the Atlanta Falcons from 1989-91, and then had an excellent major league career from 1992-2006 with the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers and Rangers.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson played two seasons of minor league ball in the Colorado organization in the summers, but never played more than 61 games.
Texas drafted him during the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft last month. The Rangers don’t think Wilson will give up football, but are looking at him as a motivator.
Ricky Williams played four seasons of minor league ball in the Phillies organization while at Texas, and John Elway famously played the baseball card to force the Baltimore Colts to trade him in 1983. Elway had played a season in the Yankees organization and told the Colts he’d give up football if they didn’t trade him.
Mark Hendrickson, who pitched recently for the Orioles, also had a four season NBA career, but he gave up on basketball to concentrate on baseball.
Dan Duquette likes to tell people he drafted Tom Brady as a catcher for Montreal. “Think he made a good career choice?” Duquette says.
It’s impossible to play two major league sports effectively. If Winston wants to try both, he’d have to miss part of one sports’ season. An NFL team isn’t going to allow a quarterback to miss offseason workouts and training camp so that he can play baseball.
If he’s a fulltime quarterback, Winston will have to fit baseball around the NFL schedule, and that would mean perhaps a half-season of the minor leagues.