The growing demands of top-level sport make it more difficult than ever for someone to reach the summit in more than one sport. Yet, recent reports from Michigan have revealed that local star Joey Velazquez has been turning in strong performances in two of the most popular American sports.
Who is Joey Velazquez?
Velazquez is from Ohio but studies at the University of Michigan, where he plays for both the baseball and football teams, both known as the Wolverines. He recently hit the headlines for some strong performances that helped the Wolverines to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in both sports.
In football, he’s a linebacker who has had many of his recent appearances in special teams. But some experts believe he is stronger in baseball, where he recently came on to hit the seventh inning run that put Michigan on the road to victory against Ohio State.
Velazquez recently took a full season away from baseball to concentrate on football, with the Wolverines winning the Big Ten Football Championship Game and ending the season as the third-highest ranked team in the country. However, he then came back to baseball and has had a breakout season so far, starting two of the recent three games against the Buckeyes and recording four hits in one of the keenest rivalries in college sport.
The Current State of Sport in Michigan
As we’ve seen, the Wolverines football team has had a good season. Although they lost the Orange Bowl to the Georgia Bulldogs, they retain their proud record of having won more games than any other college program in the US. The college’s baseball team returned to the College World Series in 2019 after over 30 years’ absence, but neither the men’s nor the women’s basketball team has tasted glory in recent years.
One major change in Michigan sports has been the introduction of legal online sports betting, which began in early 2021 and gives residents the chance to bet on the Wolverines and on international games. This option is joined by regulated online casinos, and you can see listed the best bonuses available in the Great Lake State for new casino members. These include a $1000 bonus from sites such as WynnBET, BetMGM and Caesars, with many of these sites having varied sportsbooks and offering casino games as well as sports bets.
Famous Dual Sport Players of the Past
This is far from the first example of a player who excels in more than one sport, but it’s fair to say that there are fewer dual sports players today. We need to go back to the 1960s to re-discover the story of Bob Hayes. Known as “Bullet”, he won two gold medals in the 1964 Olympics before enjoying a successful NFL career.
Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders both played in the NFL and MLB, and looked completely at home playing both football and baseball. In fact, Sanders remains the only player to have taken part in both a Super Bowl and a World Series of baseball.
Rudie van Vuuren might not be a household name, but he’s worth adding here as possibly the only sportsperson to take part in two world cups in the same year. He was in the Namibian cricket and rugby teams in the 2003 events, although their rugby team suffered the humiliation of losing 142-0 vs Australia in the biggest World Cup defeat in history.
The future looks bright for Joey Velazquez, and it’ll be interesting to see which sport he chooses to focus on, as playing professionally in two sports is now almost impossible, even for gifted athletes.