Sunday, February 13, 2005
February 13th, 1980
Drew Henson Born
Drew Henson was lured away from a potential career in the NFL by the New York Yankees, who gave him a seventeen million dollar contract after Henson forced the Cincinnati Reds to trade him back to the Yankees (he had been part of a deal that landed the Yankees Denny Neagle) under the threat that he would have turned to football otherwise. As it turned out, Henson probably wishes that the Reds had forced him to follow through, he quit baseball after three mediocre minor league seasons, walking away from all but five million dollars of the contract, and saw action in seven games (including one start) for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2004-05 NFL season.
Names like Henson's are inevitably thrown around when discussions of the “world's best athlete” is raised. Such discussions tend to focus on athletes like Bo Jackson, Brian Jordan and Deion Sanders who played two sports, and did so at the highest professional level. In contrast, people like Henson, Danny Ainge and most famously Michael Jordan are often discussed for showing how people like
This is not to take anything away from either Bo or Deion, who were both exceptional athletes, but to appoint them the best athletes and dismiss Jordan simply based their success at various activates is foolhardy. Pro athletes are, and I mean this as nicely as possible, genetic freaks, with physical abilities simply outside the normal range. With the rare exceptions of those who physical attributes simply force them into one sport or another, any athlete could have been successful at any game had they chosen that path exclusively. This is not to say that Michael Jordan would have succeeded in baseball as he did in basketball, one was clearly the sport for him. But to rate those athletes who choose to pursue one sport over two as inferior isn’t right.