When it comes to two-sport athletes who have played professionally, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are likely the first two names that pop up in conversation – and deservedly so. Jackson and Sanders were the flashy, high-profile players. They made all-star teams and were successful in both baseball and football. Brian Jordan was another baseball-football pro. He, too, was an all-star, but for some reason, Brian Jordan is the forgotten two-sport star.
Brian Jordan was a Major League Baseball All-Star
Brian Jordan was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 1988 MLB draft out of the University of Richmond. He made his MLB debut on April 8, 1992.
Jordan lasted 15 seasons in the big leagues, playing for four different teams. His first seven years were spent with the Cardinals before playing the next five with the Atlanta Braves. In 1998, his last season in St. Louis, he hit a career-high .316 and scored 100 runs. He also tied a career-high with 25 home runs. That final season with the Cards led to him signing a $21 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.
His first year with the Braves was arguably his best in Atlanta as he smacked 23 home runs and drove in a career-high 115 runs. For the second straight season, Jordan scored 100 runs. He was named a National League All-Star in 1999. For his career, Jordan hit .282, smacked 184 homers, and drove in 821 runs.
Jordan was selected in the 1989 NFL draft
While Brian Jordan was in the minor leagues, he was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of the 1989 NFL draft as a defensive back but was cut during training camp.
In 1989, Jordan caught on with the Atlanta Falcons and played professional football while he was playing minor league baseball for the Cardinals. In 36 NFL games, spanning three seasons, Jordan finished with five interceptions and recovered four fumbles. He played all 16 games for the Falcons in both the 1990 and 91 seasons.
While Jordan’s NFL career was short-lived, it rivaled the length of Bo Jackson’s. Jordan played in just two fewer NFL games than Jackson, yet Jackson gets more notoriety. In his three seasons in the NFL, Jordan played 36 games, while Jackson, in four seasons, played 38. In 1991, Jordan was named an alternate for the Pro Bowl.
Jordan’s advice to multi-sport athletes
Jordan might be the last player we’ll see playing any significant amount of time playing two professional sports. He said he sees many athletes today specializing in one sport, something he is against.
“Personally I don’t like it, I think it limits a kid’s options and to me, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “You’re taking an athlete’s abilities away from them, I feel like if you play different sports, you become a better athlete. You could have a kid with great potential and all the ability in the world, and you limit him? I’m totally against it.
“Everyone asks me the question, will we see another two-sport professional athlete, and my answer is no: simply because of coaches not allowing these kids to grow up and have fun and utilize all their options and abilities. I’m disappointed with it, and that’s the way it is now for these young athletes. They’re being penalized along the way.”
Today, Jordan is still active in the Atlanta community with the Brian Jordan Foundation. He is also an analyst for Fox SportsSouth.