Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani was the unanimous AL MVP in 2021, after starring as both a batter and a pitcher throughout the season. The two-way sensation crushed 46 home runs while also posting a 9-2 record with a 3.18 ERA on the mound, becoming the first player in MLB history to make the All-Star team as both a pitcher and hitter.
Playing multiple positions at that level is certainly impressive, but it is still within the same sport. There have been a number of spectacularly gifted athletes who excelled at multiple different sports — often at the same time. These two-sport athletes have become the stuff of legend, wowing fans with their athletic ability and making their names as some of the most impressive athletes of all time.
24/7 Tempo reviewed sports records and media reports to determine the greatest two-sport athletes of all time. Data for MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL athletes came from the Sports Reference family of sites.
Many multi-sport athletes play baseball at a high level in addition to one or more other sports. Though the skills needed for baseball vary from football, basketball, and baseball, it certainly helps to be fast, strong, and have excellent hand-eye coordination in any athletic event.
Playing two sports would seem to put these players at a significant disadvantage to their competitors, as they have less time to rest or hone their skills in the offseason. Yet the natural athletic gifts of these two-sport stars allow them to reach the highest levels of both pro sports. This athletic ability has helped many of these players perform at a high level early on in their careers. These are the youngest athletes to dominate their sport.
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