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The Legend Of Bo Jackson



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 15 years ago '04        #1
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The Legend Of Bo Jackson
 

 
The legend of Bo
Bo Jackson didn’t believe the hype, saying he was just another guy. But really, he was superhuman.
By JOE POSNANSKI

OK, so one day in New York, Bo Jackson complained in the dugout before a game. Reporters surrounded Bo, which never made him happy anyway. Reporters wanted to explain things, and Bo Jackson wasn’t about explaining. Bo was about doing.

“Everything I do, people tend to exaggerate it,” he moaned. “With me, they want to make things bigger than they are.”

Bo said he was just another guy. He wasn’t some sort of folk hero, like John Henry or Pecos Bill. No, he hurt like other players. He made mistakes like other players. He struck out a lot. He wasn’t forged out of steel, and he couldn’t outrun locomotives, and he couldn’t turn back time by flying around the world and reversing the rotation of the earth.

“I’m just another player, you know?” he said.

Then the game began, Royals vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

First time up, Bo hit a 412-foot homer to center field.

Second time up, Bo smashed a 464-foot opposite-field home run. Longtime Yankees fans said that ball landed in a far-off place where only home runs by Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle from the left side ever reached.

“Colossal,” teammate George Brett would say. “I had to stop and watch.”

Third time up, Yankees manager Stump Merrill walked out to the mound to ask pitcher Andy Hawkins how he intended to get Bo out this time.

“I’ll pitch it outside,” Hawkins said.

“It better be way outside,” Merrill replied.

Hawkins threw it way outside. Jackson poked the ball over the right-field fence for his third homer. The New York crowd went bananas.

Bo never got a fourth time up that day. Instead, Bo hurt his shoulder while diving and almost making one of the great catches in baseball history. New Yorkers stood and cheered Bo as he walked off the field. It’s possible that no opposing player ever heard those sorts of cheers at Yankee Stadium.

“You know what?” Royals Hall of Famer Frank White would say almost 20 years later. “I really did play baseball with Superman.”

•••



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