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Bo Jackson celebrates his 61st birthday on November 30th.

Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson was born on November 30th in Bessemer, Alabama. From early on in his life, Bo Jackson was dominant in just about everything athletic. While in high school, he rushed for 1,175 yards as a senior on the football team while also hitting 20 home runs in 25 games on the baseball team. He was also a two-time state champion in the decathlon, where he was so dominant that he had a high enough point lead that he was able to skip the 1500-meter run both times, and even set state school records for indoor high jump and triple jump.  

In June of 1982, Jackson was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round, but he chose to attend Auburn University on a football scholarship to fulfil a promise he made to his mother to be the first person in their family to attend a major college. On the gridiron, he rushed for 4,303 yards which at the time was the second best in SEC history and is now still the 5th best, 45 total touchdowns including the legendary “Bo Over the Top” play, and was awarded the 1985 Heisman Trophy. In 1992 his number, 34, was retired by Auburn, one of only three retired by the school. On the baseball diamond, Bo played 90 games due to injury as well as being ruled ineligible by the NCAA due to a visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had 28 home runs, 70 RBIs, and a total batting average of .338.  

In 1986, he was drafted by both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which Bo actually denied due to their tampering with his time playing baseball in college, and the Kansas City Royals, making his major league debut in September of 1986. In 1989, Jackson began to amp it up, and ended up being voted to start for the American League All-Star team that year. Bo would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox and California Angels before retiring in 1994, due in part to the 1994-1995 baseball strike. He finished his baseball career as an AL All-Star, the 1989 All-Star Game MVP, 1993 AL Comeback Player of the Year, and had a total of 141 home runs, 415 RBIs, and a .250 batting average. 

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had forfeited Jackson’s rights before the 1987 draft, allowing the Los Angeles Raiders to draft him in the 7th round, which happened unbeknownst to Bo, as he chose to sleep in rather than attend the draft. While initially against this, wanting to stick to baseball instead, his mind was changed after Raiders owner Al Davis told Bo he was alright with Jackson playing both, allowing a contract to be negotiated where Jackson could put baseball first and come back to the Raiders once the MLB season was over, regardless of the NFL’s schedule. All four years he was in the NFL were spent with the LA Raiders, netting him a spot at the 1989 Pro Bowl making him the only professional All-Star in two major North American sports, 2,782 rushing yards, 352 receiving yards, and 18 total touchdowns.  

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