|Birth Day:||November 30, 1962|
|Birth Place:||Bessemer, United States|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He rushed for 1,175 yards and hit 20 home runs in 25 games in his senior year at McAdory High School in McCalla, Alabama.
Jackson, the eighth of ten children, was born on November 30, 1962, and raised in Bessemer, Alabama. He was named after Vince Edwards, his mother's favorite actor. His family described him as a "wild boar hog", as he would constantly get into trouble.
He attended school in McCalla, where he rushed for 1,175 yards as a running back as a high school senior. Jackson hit twenty home runs in 25 games for McAdory's baseball team during his senior season. He was a two-time state champion in the decathlon. Both times that he was the decathlon state champion, he built up such a commanding points lead before the 1500 meters that he never competed in that event. "Distance is the only thing I hate about track", he said. In 1982, Jackson set state school records for indoor high jump (6'9") and triple jump (48'8").
In June 1982, Jackson was selected by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1982 Major League Baseball draft, but he instead chose to attend Auburn University on a football scholarship because he promised his mother he would be the first in the family to go to a major college. He was recruited by head coach Pat Dye and then Auburn assistant coach Bobby Wallace. At Auburn, he proved to be a tremendous athlete in both baseball and football. He shared the backfield with quarterback Randy Campbell, Lionel "Little Train" James and Tommie Agee.
In 1982, Jackson's freshman year, Auburn played Boston College in the Tangerine Bowl, where Jackson made a one-handed grab on an option pitch. Auburn went on to win the game 33–26 as Jackson rushed 14 times for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On November 27, 1982, Jackson and the Auburn Tigers found themselves embattled with their heated in-state rival, Alabama (7–3), in the Iron Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama. Auburn held a 14–13 halftime lead when Alabama running back Paul Ott Carruth scored on an 8-yard touchdown run—and then the Crimson Tide added a field goal to make it a 22–14 Alabama lead going into the 4th quarter. Auburn responded as Al Del Greco made a 23-yard field goal to make it a 22–17 score in the 4th quarter. From Auburn's own 34-yard line, Bo Jackson and company began a long drive as he converted on a 4th-and-1 at the Alabama 42. Jackson, who ran 17 times for 114 yards during this Iron Bowl, continued marching his team downfield as he caught an 8-yard pass from quarterback Randy Campbell down to the Alabama 1-yard line. During the huddle Bo convinced Coach Dye to let him go over the top of offensive and defensive lines because he was a 7-foot high jumper in high school and the other team wouldn't be expecting it. On fourth down with 2:26 left in the game, Jackson completed the drive by going over the top for a one-yard touchdown run as Auburn (finished 9–3 in 1982) pulled off a 23–22 victory over Alabama and coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
In 1983, as a sophomore, Jackson rushed for 1,213 yards (1,109 m) on 158 carries, for an average of 7.7 yards per carry, which was the second-best single-season average in SEC history (minimum 100 rushes). In the 1983 Auburn-Alabama game, Jackson rushed for 256 yards on 20 rushes (12.8 yards per carry), which at the time was the sixth-most rushing yards gained in a game in SEC history and the 2nd best yard-per-rush average in a game (minimum 20 attempts) in SEC history. Auburn finished the season by winning the Sugar Bowl against Michigan, where Jackson was named Most Valuable Player. In 1984, Jackson's junior year (most of which Jackson missed due to injury), he earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Liberty Bowl after defeating Arkansas.
In 1985, Jackson rushed for 1,786 yards which was the second best single-season performance in SEC history. That year, he averaged 6.4 yards per rush, which at the time was the best single-season average in SEC history. For his performance in 1985, Jackson was awarded the Heisman Trophy in what was considered the closest margin of victory ever in the history of the award, winning over University of Iowa quarterback Chuck Long.
In his report, a scout stated that his only weakness was a lack of baseball experience. The scout said that he could be one of the all-time greats barring any injuries. He had a minor shoulder injury in the beginning of his collegiate football career, which didn't cause him issues in the long term. The scout also noted that this was his first year playing baseball and he seemed to be a "do it all type of player" and also stated he was "the best pure athlete in America today". This was in April 1985 when Bo was a 22-year-old scholarship athlete at Auburn University trying to make an even bigger name for himself than he already had in his football career. In this scouting report, Jackson's worth to an MLB team was listed at only $200,000, much less than what he would end up taking home later on in his short-lived careers.
Jackson was selected with the first overall pick of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he refused to play for them because a visit to team facilities they said was NCAA-approved was actually not, causing him to miss the remainder of his final college baseball season. Jackson believes that the failure to obtain NCAA approval was deliberate and was intended by the Buccaneers to get him to play football instead of baseball. He vowed not to sign with Tampa Bay should they draft him, but they proceeded anyway. He kept his vow and opted to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals, the defending World Series champions, who had drafted him in the fourth round, 105th overall, in the 1986 amateur draft. Shortly after the draft, Jackson signed a 3-year contract with the Kansas City Royals worth just over $1 million. He spent 53 games with the Memphis Chicks, the Royals' Class AA minor league affiliate, and was called up to the majors in September 1986. He made the Royals' roster in 1987 and hit 22 home runs, with 53 RBIs and 10 stolen bases as a left fielder.
During his junior and senior years at Auburn Jackson had apparently transitioned his focus to baseball and was increasingly vocal in his disinterest to play football in the NFL. Despite having promised Tampa Bay Buccaneers management it would be a "waste [of] a draft pick," they selected him first overall in the 1986 NFL Draft. A month prior the Buccaneers had quickly fallen out of favor with Jackson when owner Hugh Culverhouse took him on a private jet to visit with the team during his senior baseball season. Jackson was told by the Buccaneers that the trip, which ultimately cost Jackson his remaining collegiate baseball eligibility, had been cleared by the NCAA and SEC when it had not. Jackson was upset that Culverhouse lied to him in an attempt to coerce him into signing to their team, and insisted that he would never play for the Buccaneers.
In his four seasons in the NFL, Jackson rushed for 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns with an average yards per carry of 5.4. He also caught 40 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson's 221 yards on November 30, 1987, just 29 days after his first NFL carry, is still a Monday Night Football record.
On July 29, 1988, against the Baltimore Orioles, Jackson, batting against Jeff Ballard, attempted to call time out as Ballard was delivering the ball. The time-out wasn't granted, but Jackson recovered to swing and hit the pitch over the left-field wall for a home run despite taking one hand off the bat at the beginning of the at bat.
Jackson held true to his statements and turned down the Buccaneers' $7.6 million, five-year contract in favor of a $1.07 million, three-year contract with the Kansas City Royals, and the Buccaneers forfeited his rights before the 1987 draft. Choosing to sleep in rather than attend the 1987 NFL Draft, Jackson found out that he was selected in the seventh round of the draft with the 183rd pick by the Los Angeles Raiders. Initially Jackson stated he would continue to focus on baseball and would not sign, but his interest was piqued when he learned Raiders owner Al Davis was a fan of Jackson and was receptive to the idea of Jackson playing both baseball and football. A five-year $7.4 million contract was negotiated where Jackson would be permitted to play the entire baseball season with the Royals and would report to the Raiders once the MLB season was finished even if it meant missing NFL games. In addition to this, Davis gave Jackson the highest salary of any non-quarterback player in NFL history, and Jackson would be receiving a reported $500,000 signing bonus plus another $500,000 if he returned the following year in 1988.
Jackson began to show his true potential in 1989, when he was voted to start for the American League All-Star team, and was named the game's MVP for his play on both offense and defense. In the top of the first inning, he caught Pedro Guerrero's 2-out line drive to left-center field to save two runs. Then he led off the bottom of the first—his first All-Star plate appearance—with a monstrous 448-foot (137 m) home run off Rick Reuschel of the San Francisco Giants. NBC-TV announcer Vin Scully exclaimed, "Look at that one! Bo Jackson says hello!" Wade Boggs followed with his own home run, making them the first pair in All-Star history to lead off their side's first with back-to-back home runs. In the 2nd inning, he beat out the throw on a potential double play to drive in the eventual winning run. He then stole second base, making him the second player in All-Star Game history to hit a home run and steal a base in the same game (the first was Willie Mays). Jackson finished the game with two hits in four at-bats, one run scored, and two RBI.
Jackson's 171 strikeouts in 1989 tied him for 10th most strikeouts in a season for a right-handed batter since 1893. On July 11, 1990, against the Orioles, Jackson performed his famous "wall run", when he caught a ball six strides away from the wall. As he caught the ball at full tilt, Jackson looked up and ran three steps along the wall, to avoid impact and the risk of injury from the fence.
In his eight baseball seasons, Jackson had a career batting average of .250, hit 141 home runs and had 415 RBIs, with a slugging average of .474. His best year was 1989, with his effort earning him All-Star status. In 1989, Jackson ranked fourth in the American League in both home runs, with 32, and RBI, with 105.
Jackson's 1989 season was his best in the league. In eleven games, with nine starts, Jackson rushed for a total of 950 yards with a 5.5 yards per carry average and four touchdowns. In his abbreviated 1990 campaign, Jackson rushed for 698 yards and was selected to the only Pro Bowl of his career.
Called "the greatest athlete in video game history", Jackson's digital counterpart was nicknamed by fans as "Tecmo Bo" since being featured in the 1989 video game Tecmo Bowl for the Nintendo Entertainment System, where he was all but untacklable. Players would make the popular move of running Bo all the way back to his own 1 yard line, then run 99 yards for a touchdown with defenders literally bouncing off him. Referencing his video game character, Jackson was featured in a 2016 advertisement for the Kia Sorento, with Jackson driving the car into a virtual stadium (a second ad features Brian Bosworth with Jackson referencing the infamous Monday Night Football touchdown run).
During the 1990 season, Jackson hit HRs in four consecutive at-bats tying a Major League record (held by several). His fourth came off of Randy Johnson after hitting his first three before a stint on the disabled list. Unwilling to pay his $2.375 million salary in 1991 to rehabilitate his football injury, the Royals released Jackson on March 18, 1991.
Through the 1990s, Jackson dabbled in acting, having made several television guest appearances first on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990 as well as Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Moesha, and Married... with Children. He later appeared in small roles in the films The Chamber, The Pandora Project and Fakin' Da Funk.
Only 16 days after Jackson was released by the Royals, the Chicago White Sox offered him a three-year deal, guaranteeing $700,000 per season with a performance-based upside of $8.15 million over the term. White Sox co-owner Jerry Reinsdorf stated they did not anticipate him to play all seasons while he addressed his hip issues and avascular necrosis. Jackson played two seasons appearing in 23 games in 1991 and 85 games in 1993. He appeared on White Sox' disabled roster during the 1992 season due to completing hip replacement surgery earlier that year. It was with the White Sox that he made his only post-season appearance, in the 1993 American League Championship Series, which Chicago lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in six games.
Jackson suffered an NFL career-ending hip injury from a seemingly routine tackle at the end of a 34-yard run in a playoff game on January 13, 1991, against the Bengals.
In his last football game, the aforementioned playoff victory over Cincinnati in January 1991, Jackson suffered a dislocated hip following a tackle. In the film You Don't Know Bo, Jackson claimed that after he realized his injury on field, he physically popped his hip back into the socket and in the process damaged the blood vessels supplying blood to the area. While doctors did not find proof that Jackson physically reset his hip, they did discover that there was a fracture of one of Jackson's hip bones.
Jackson finished his career at Auburn with 4,575 all-purpose yards and 45 total touchdowns, 43 rushing and 2 receiving, with a 6.6 yards per carry average. Jackson's football number 34 was officially retired at Auburn in a halftime ceremony on October 31, 1992. His is one of only three numbers retired at Auburn. The others are 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan's number 7, and the number 88 of Sullivan's teammate and favorite receiver, Terry Beasley. In 2007, Jackson was ranked #8 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list.
While with the White Sox, Jackson promised his mother that once he returned from his hip replacement surgery in 1993, he would hit a home run for her. Before he could return, his mother died. In his first at-bat after surgery, he hit a home run to right field. Jackson recovered the ball by trading an autographed bat for it, and stated he planned to have it bronzed and placed on her dresser.
Jackson finished his career in 1994 with the California Angels. That season was cut short by the 1994–95 baseball strike, and Jackson decided to retire at age 32. "I got to know my family," he said, "That looks better to me than any $10 million contract."
In 1995, Jackson completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Child Development at Auburn to fulfill the promise he made to his mother.
He had his own video game for the original Game Boy portable gaming system, Bo Jackson's Hit and Run. The game featured both baseball and football. Released around the same time was Bo Jackson Baseball for the NES system and IBM-compatible computers. Jackson can be unlocked as a player in ESPN NFL Football. Jackson made an appearance in the 2004 video game NFL Street 2. Jackson also made his first appearance in the modern Madden series, Madden 15 and Madden 16. He later returned in Madden NFL 20 as part of the Madden Ultimate Team 10th Anniversary promo, before getting a community made Golden Ticket card.
In 2007, Nike released a set of Nike Dunk shoes honoring Bo Jackson. The set featured three colorways based on previously released Nike shoes: the "Bo Knows" Trainer I, Trainer 91 and Medicine Ball Trainer III.
In 2007, Jackson came together with John Cangelosi to form the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Complex, an 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m) multi-sport dome facility in Lockport, Illinois. He is part-owner and CEO of the facility. He has been successful with other investments, including a food company, N'Genuity. He often says that while he may have been great for sports, sports were no doubt greater for him considering the post-career opportunities that have been afforded him.
Jackson is married to Linda, a rehabilitation counselor, and has three children – sons Garrett and Nicholas, and a daughter, Morgan. Jackson and his family live in Burr Ridge, Illinois. In 2009, he joined the board of Burr Ridge Bank and Trust. In 2013, the bank was acquired by First Community Financial Bank, who retained Jackson as a board member. In 2017, First Community was acquired by Busey Bank, and Jackson left the board.
On May 9, 2009, Jackson delivered the commencement speech at Auburn University's graduation ceremony. His speech was centered on the benefits of stepping out of one's comfort zone.
On July 12, 2010, Jackson threw the ceremonial first pitch before the 2010 Home Run Derby at Angel Stadium and participated in the celebrity softball game.
In December 2010, he was named a 2011 winner of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, given annually to six former NCAA student-athletes for distinguished career accomplishment on the 25th anniversary of their college graduation.
In an effort to help his native state of Alabama, Jackson began a fundraiser knowns as "Bo Bikes Bama". The event began after a series of tornadoes devastated Alabama on April 27, 2011. The tornadoes claimed hundreds of lives and left many Alabama residents without power. The bike tour lasted five days where Jackson visited towns that had been demolished by the series of tornadoes. Bo was accompanied on this tour by celebrities such as Scottie Pippen, Ken Griffey Jr., Lance Armstrong, and Brett Favre. Today, the "Bo Bikes Bama" campaign has raised over $1.1 million for the Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief Fund.
In April 2012, Jackson participated in Bo Bikes Bama, a five-day, 300-mile gran fondo in support of victims of the tornado outbreak in Alabama. The five-day gran fondo was a one-time event and has become an annual maximum single-day gran fondo lasting approximately 62 miles.
On January 22, 2014, Jackson rejoined the Chicago White Sox as an ambassador to the team – joining the ranks of Frank Thomas, Minnie Miñoso, Carlton Fisk, Ron Kittle, Carlos May, and Bill Melton.
Jackson was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals in 2016.
In a 2017 interview with USA Today, Jackson said he never would have played football if he had known the health risks associated with it. "I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody," he said. “The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today."
Currently, Bo Jackson is 59 years, 7 months and 0 days old. Bo Jackson will celebrate 60th birthday on a Wednesday 30th of November 2022.
Find out about Bo Jackson birthday activities in timeline view here.