Clair: Dick Groat could have been another 2-sport star until Branch Rickey intervened

From SABR member Michael Clair at on March 19, 2020:

He skipped right over the Minor Leagues. He won an MVP Award and two World Series. But to this day, Dick Groat still swears he was playing his second-best sport.

“I had drawbacks in baseball that I never had in basketball,” Groat told “First of all, I couldn’t run. I’m still looking for my first infield hit,” he said with a laugh.

Before Deion Sanders, before Bo Jackson, long before Kyler Murray was even born, Groat had a chance to become the next American two-sport star. Instead, his career went down as one of sports’ greatest what-ifs — and we have Branch Rickey to blame.

First, though, we need to talk about Groat’s basketball career.

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Originally published: March 19, 2020. Last Updated: March 19, 2020.