Saturday, June 7, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #141 DEION $ANDERS

HE WAS AND STILL IS HIS BIGGEST FAN.



HIS NUMBERS WERE A BIT LACKING IN BASEBALL.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Perhaps calling Deion $anders a two-sport punk is a bit harsh for a world class athlete who became the first player to homer and score a touchdown in the same week and play in a World Series and Super Bowl. But $anders placed himself ahead of team every chance he got; after all, there's no "I'' in "team'' but there is a double-heaping of "me'' in "Prime Time.'' That selfishness trumped his prodigious talent, which was concentrated mainly in football. In baseball, well, he never played in more than 115 games, so he was an unfinished product. He worked his way into lineups over nine seasons with four teams primarily because of his speed. It wasn't because he could hit, a lifetime .263/.319/.392 slash with 186 steals.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Celebrating his first trip to the World Series with the Braves on Oct. 14, 1992, should've been all $anders was concerned with after Game 7 of the NLCS. Instead, he hijacked the clubhouse and made it all about him. Responding to CBS announcer Tim McCarver's criticism about playing both sports on the same day, $anders dumped three buckets of ice water over McCarver while he was trying to hold interviews in the clubhouse. "You're a real man, Deion, I'll say that,'' he told $anders while glowering at him. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • Playing in 115 games, the most in his career, in '97 with the Reds, $anders stole a career-high 56 bases while slashing .273/.329/.363.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. $anders was the fifth overall pick in the '89 NFL Draft by the Falcons, a year after being selected in the 30th round by the Yankees. 
  2. Debuted with the Yankees in '89, playing in 14 games.
  3. Had a run-in with White Sox catcher #125 Carlton Fisk for not running out a pop-up in '90.
  4. After the Yankees released him in '90, $anders signed with the Braves in '91 but couldn't play in the playoffs because his Falcons' contract stipulated that he report for the regular season. He reworked the deal the following season to allow him to continue to play baseball after the football season started.
  5. On Sept. 5, 1989, $anders hit a two-run homer off the Mariners' Eric Plunk. On Sept. 10, in the Falcons' first game and his first-ever as a pro, he returned a punt 68 yards for a score. PriME TiME was born.

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