Deion Sanders' Hall of Fame NFL career will always overshadow his baseball contributions, but let's not forget that for a week in 1992 he dominated the diamond under the sport's brightest spotlight.
Sanders turned 50 on Wednesday, so it's the perfect time to reflect on what was unquestionably his greatest showing as a baseball player: the 1992 World Series.
Sanders was the biggest star on either team in that six-game series between the Braves and Blue Jays, though his contributions are often overlooked because his team — the Braves — lost the series (one of Atlanta's four World Series losses during the '90s; sorry, Braves fans). But his performance during the series — at the plate, on the base paths and in left field — was one to behold. Let's look back:
In 17 plate appearances for the Braves during the series, Sanders slashed .533/.588/.667 with two doubles and five stolen bases. His average and on-base percentage were tops among all players in the series who had at least 15 at-bats, and his five steals were tied for the most in the series. He also threw out a runner at the plate in Game 6. Not a bad showing on the game's biggest stage.
But Sanders' performance in the Fall Classic wasn't exactly a surprise, as 1992 was his best year of a nine-year, part-time MLB career. That season, Sanders slashed .304/.346/.495 with eight home runs, 26 stolen bases and a league-leading 14 triples in 95 games and 325 plate appearances. That added up to 3.2 Wins Above Replacement — again, in a part-time role.
Yes, 1992 hinted at Sanders' potential if he would've devoted his full attention to baseball rather than football. But he did OK in that other sport, so he probably made the right decision.
In any case, happy birthday, Deion. Football is your legacy, but baseball fans will always have 1992.