Although there is an endless list of possibilities, I chose Deion Sanders as the greatest American athlete of all time. Sanders began his college career at Florida State, playing on their football, baseball, and track teams. He became a two-time All American for football and helped the Seminoles reach the College World Series. In 1988 he won the Jim Thorpe Award for top defensive back. In 1989 he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons and began his profession football career. That same year he signed a contract with the New York Yankees.
In September of 1989 Sanders hit his first homerun for the Yankees along with his first ever punt return for a score as a profession football player making him the first ever athlete to hit a homerun and score a touchdown in the same week. What a way to start your professional career as an ...view middle of the document...
In five seasons with the Cowboys, Sanders earned Pro Bowl berths in every single one. Sanders entered retirement at the end of the 2000 season. In 2004 however he signed a one year deal with the Baltimore Ravens and ended up tying the record for the second highest intercepted return touchdowns in a career with nine.
Sanders also played a nine year part-time baseball career. He played on four different teams totaling 641 games. Although he is a better football player, it takes a very good athlete to have the ability to play both professional football and professional baseball. 1992 was probably his best season in baseball, at the time he was playing for the Atlanta Braves. That season he hit a .304 average and led with National League in triples, with fourteen in 97 games. He also stole twenty six bases that season. 1992 was also the year that the Braves had a shot to win the World Series. Even though Sanders had a broken foot, he managed to hit a .533 with four runs, eight hits, two doubles, and one RBI during the series. Although the Braves ended up losing in six games to the Toronto Blue Jays, Sanders remains the only person to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series. Sanders left baseball for three years in 2001, and ended up returning in 2004 for a not so hot season with the Cincinnati Reds. He retired from professional baseball for good that year.
It takes quite a good athlete to have the ability to turn professional, and quite an amazing athlete to turn professional in two sports at the same time. Since Sander’s career many athletes have become focused on participating in only one sport, and perfecting their ability to play. With that being said there may never be another person to do what he did, two Super Bowl rings and a shot at the World Series.