Revisiting Deion Sanders’ baseball career: The MLB stats, teams, highlights & more to know

Is there anything Deion Sanders can’t do?

Sanders is widely considered among the greatest cornerbacks to ever play professional football. “Prime Time” was a shutdown corner who helped lead two teams to Super Bowl victories. In football, he wasn’t just a great corner, he was also a dynamic kickoff and punt returner and even dabbled as a wide receiver.

Now, “Prime Time” is “Coach Prime” and has found that he’s not too bad at this whole coaching thing, having led Jackson State to an undefeated regular season and two appearances in the Celebration Bowl. Hired to be the head coach at Colorado, considered by many to be among the worst Power Five football programs, he turned around the perception of the Buffaloes in a single game. His team upended national champion runner-up TCU in Fort Worth, helping Colorado go from 1-11 last year to ranked No. 22 by Week 2 in 2023.

Sanders’ versatility goes well past his wide-ranging football talents. The Hall of Fame player and standout coaching talent was also a remarkable baseball talent, quickly working his way up to the majors and enjoying a solid career in the big leagues that ran parallel with his football career.

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How was Sanders at baseball? Here’s what you need to know about his MLB career.

Was Deion Sanders good at baseball?

If someone reaches the big leagues, it is safe to say they are more than just good at baseball. And even as a big leaguer, Sanders was a standout player for several years.

Sanders wound up spending nine years in Major League Baseball, and finished his career with a .263/.319/.392 slash line with 186 stolen bases and 39 home runs. He accumulated 5.5 Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement (bWAR), with his best season coming in 1992 with the Braves, when he racked up 3.2 bWAR. 

For context, a league average player is about 2.0 WAR in a single season, while a replacement player is at 0.0. That means that in 1992, Sanders was an above-average major leaguer, and he finished his career above a replacement player. That is significantly better than can be said for most who play baseball.

Deion Sanders MLB Draft

Sanders’ baseball prowess was known before he went to play football at Florida State. The Royals selected him in the sixth round in 1985 out of North Fort Myers High. Three years later, the Yankees took him in the 30th round, 781st overall. 

Deion Sanders MLB stats

1989 Yankees 14 50 7 2 7 1-1 6.0% 16.0% .234/.280/.404
1990 Yankees 57 149 24 3 9 8-10 8.7% 18.1% .158/.236/.271
1991 Braves 54 122 16 4 13 11-14 9.8% 18.9% .191/.270/.345
1992 Braves 97 325 54 8 28 26-35 5.5% 16.0% .304/.346/.495
1993 Braves 95 294 42 6 28 19-26 5.4% 14.3% .276/.321/.452
1994 Braves/Reds 92 414 58 4 28 38-54 7.7% 15.2% .283/.342/.381
1995 Reds/Giants 85 379 48 6 28 24-33 7.1% 15.8% .268/.327/.399
1997 Reds 115 509 53 5 23 56-69 6.7% 13.2% .273/.329/.363
2001 Reds 32 83 6 1 4 3-7 4.8% 12.1% .173/.235/.240
Career 641 2325 308 39 168 186-249 6.8% 15.1% .263/.319/.392

Deion Sanders baseball teams

Sanders has had several stops during his MLB career. After he was drafted by the Yankees, he spent under a year in the minors before he was promoted to the majors to make his debut in New York. He played both 1989 and 1990 with the Yankees before he was placed on waivers at the end of the season.

The next year, he signed with the Braves, making it two teams in the same city with the Falcons, and after a quiet start to his Atlanta career, he took off in 1992, leading the majors in triples while stealing 26 bases and hitting .304. He helped lead the Braves to the World Series, and he played well, batting .533 over a six-game series loss to the Blue Jays.

He spent one more full season with Atlanta in 1993 before he was traded in May 1994 to the Reds. He spent a brief spell with them before he was traded in July 1995 to the Giants. The 1996 campaign was focused entirely on football, but he returned in 1997 for a season in Cincinnati, during which he played in a career-high 115 games. He spent two more years away from baseball before returning in 2001 for his final MLB season, again with the Reds.

Did Deion Sanders play baseball and football at the same time?

Sanders is one of the few athletes to appear at the highest level of multiple professional North American sports. Not only was he in both the majors and the NFL, but he found immediate success in both, too.

During his MLB debut 1989 campaign, Sanders launched a home run on Sept. 5 against the Mariners. Five days later, in the first game of his NFL career, he returned a punt for a touchdown, becoming the first player to hit a home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week.

The next year, Sanders, still with New York, faced off against the Royals, who had fellow two-way standout Bo Jackson, marking the first time the players had played against one another in either baseball or football. 

Sanders played in the 1992 World Series and just over two years later, he played in Super Bowl 24 with the 49ers, his lone season in San Francisco. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year wound up winning his first of two straight Super Bowls, with his appearance in the 1995 Super Bowl making him the first — and to date only — player to appear in the World Series and Super Bowl in the same season.

He was on and off with his pro football and pro baseball careers. He spent 1996, 1998 and 1999 only playing in the NFL, and he spent 2001 only playing in MLB. It appeared he was out of pro sports at the end of that season with the Reds, but he returned for two seasons with the Ravens, playing in 2004 and 2005 before officially ending his playing career.

Did Deion Sanders win a World Series?

Sanders missed the 1991 World Series because of a clause in his Falcons contract that forced him to report to the NFL for the season, and the Braves lost to the Twins in seven games. After that year, Sanders reworked his deal to be able to play postseason baseball in 1992. The Braves lost in six games to the Blue Jays in 1992, and then fell in the NLCS in 1993 to the Phillies.

Sanders did not have another chance to play in the World Series from there, with the Reds and Giants never reaching the World Series during his time with the two teams.

Deion Sanders baseball highlights

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