Two-Sport Discussion
Bart Starr didn't try to play baseball
Bart Starr didn't try to play baseball

Posted May 27, 2005


Earlier this week there was mention of a football prospect possibly playing baseball as well as football in college. It brought to memory something a former Alabama quarterback had to say about that subject. We now reveal that player.

Here is the hint we gave:

“ Bo Jackson was certainly talented enough to play two sports, both in college and at the highest professional levels. And there have been others with such skill.

“Many wish to play two sports in college. Spencer Pennington has had a little success in two sports, as a football quarterback and baseball pinch hitter (although he has now given up football).

“Over the years Alabama has had some quarterbacks with some excellent baseball skills.

“In the upcoming book, ‘What It Means To Be Crimson Tide,’ one of those former quarterbacks said of the baseball option:

“ ‘I would not have considered it. I was not gifted enough to pass up spring practice in football.’

“Who said it?”

And we admitted that we were plugging our book, “What It Means To Be Crimson Tide,” which will be available in mid-August.

There were some good guesses–Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Jay Barker, Jack O’Rear.

Here are some other things Bart Starr has to say in “What It Means To Be Crimson Tide.”

As Starr has said, his final two seasons at The Capstone did not make for a great resume. His junior year he suffered a back injury that basically sidelined him for the year. Then he learned just prior to his senior year in 1955 that new head coach J.B. “Ears” Whitworth was going with a youth movement; the seniors would be used little or not at all.

“A very unpleasant year, but that’s part of life,” Starr said. “It can toss us some really tough sliders, curve balls, or hard tackles, but it’s our decision how we respond. It says a lot about our attitude. After ‘Love,’ I consider that the second most important word in our vocabulary. You’ll pay a price for it later if you don’t have the proper attitude.

“I think everybody was upbeat our senior year. Mental toughness and courage were on display. All of us tried to handle it as best we could. Some played more than others, but as a rule the seniors played very little. However, our attitude was good, and that was something we were all proud of.”

Even in Alabama’s 0-10 season and relegated to only spot duty, Starr showed his talent as he led Alabama in passing.

The unfortunate events of his final two years notwithstanding, he had no regrets about his college choice.

“While maturing I realized Alabama was very, very special and highly-regarded around the nation for its athletics achievements,” Starr said. “I appreciated the history and tradition of the football program. After moving to the professional level I could appreciate it even more. When Coach Bryant came in a few years later he raised the bar tremendously. I am very proud to be an alumnus even though we experienced some embarrassing disappointments during those two years.”

Starr said he was very happy while in school at Alabama. “Lifetime friendships were developed with teammates and other students.”

You can read about Bart Starr and dozens of other former players who tell stories of being recruited, practicing, playing, and their lives in “What It Means To Be Crimson Tide,” available in August. The book, over 300 pages in hard-cover and oversized format, includes stories and photographs on players who played from the early 1930s through last season. There is also a foreword by Gene Stallings revealing much of his career and how it was affected by Alabama and Coach Bryant.

“What It Means To Be Crimson Tide” can be ordered by VISA or MasterCard by calling 1-205-345-5074. It is $27.95 plus tax (if applicable) and shipping and handling. If you would like, author Kirk McNair will autograph the book as you specify at no additional charge.



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