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I was in my third year with the Tigers. John Young [scouting director for the Detroit Tigers] said to me, “I want you to go to McAdory High School, right outside of Birmingham, and go see this kid Bo Jackson. I don’t know what he can do, but I know he’s a great athlete.”
I went into his little high school early in the season. Only one other scout was there. Bo had not been a popular prospect in baseball circles. We got there real early, just the two of us. The coach was hitting ground balls to all these kids. I ask the coach, “Is there a kid named Bo Jackson around here?” I just keep peeking at the gym door and then this stud comes walking out the door and strolling down the hill. I’m thinking, “Man, this is him.”
Bo looks around, picks up his glove, goes out to shortstop where he played in high school and the coach is hitting ground balls. They had a skin infield, hard as a rock. Bo couldn’t catch a cold. He was awful catching ground balls. Coach says, “Anybody out here hasn’t hit yet?” Bo raises his hand. About six more ground balls bounce off Bo’s shin. He still hasn’t caught a ground ball. Coach says to Bo, “All right come on in, get a bat.”
He doesn’t swing, doesn’t loosen up or anything. Bo hits this one iron shot into the trees in center field. I start thinking, “Holy cow, this guy’s really something.” Then they played the game. Bo’s team won by a lot. He played shortstop and caught almost every ball hit to him. He lined shots to right field, left field. He hit everything.
It was by far the best athletic display on a baseball field I have ever seen.
― Jax Robertson, long-time scout, Detroit Tigers and special assistant to the general manager, Pittsburgh Pirates