2 Orioles you didn't know played multiple sports, and 1 you probably did

Jun 9, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman (35) hits an rbi single against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman (35) hits an rbi single against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, millions of kids around the world participate in various levels of sports, and every year millions of them reach a point where they are no longer able to continue competing.

The majority of people do not compete in competitive sports after high school. Of those who are fortunate enough to compete in collegiate athletics, again, a very small percentage of them are able to continue into a professional career. People who have the talent, desire, work ethic and circumstance to be able to play professional sports are the top 1%.

Many of these phenomenal athletes end up specializing in just one sport because of the amount of work it takes to be among the best at the highest level, but a select few of the top 1% are able to play multiple sports. Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are probably the most famous examples.

Recently, Dallas Cowboys superstar linebacker, Micah Parsons, commented that he believes he could hit around .200 over the course of 162 games while receiving five at-bats per contest. If Parsons did get five at-bats per game, he would need to average one hit to obtain a .200 batting average. Parsons is obviously a great athlete, but as the great Ted Williams said, "The hardest thing to do in all of sports, without question, is to hit a baseball."

Several major leaguers have publicly reacted to Parsons' claim, to include Tyler Glasnow and Mookie Betts of the Los Angelese Dodgers. Betts is a multi-sport athlete himself (he's also a professional bowler). Neither Betts nor Glasnow believe that Parsons would be as successful hitting major league pitching as he thinks.

All of this got us thinking, though: which Baltimore Orioles have played a second sport at the collegiate level or higher?

Adley Rutschman

The catcher's helmet is not the only helmet Adley Rutschman has worn in his sports career. By now many of us have seen the clip of Rutschman tackling Christian McCaffrey during a Divison-I college football game.

Rutschman was a kicker for Oregon State in 2016 and appeared in 11 games. He was a kickoff specialist and did not have a field goal or extra point attempt in any of those games, but he did record three tackles, including the now-famous one of CMC. Both Rutschman and McCaffery have gone on to find great success since that chance meeting, with McCaffery becoming the top running back in the NFL and Rutschman developing into the best catcher in baseball.

Ryan Minor

One of the best athletes to come through the Orioles system was Ryan Minor. Minor is most famous for stepping in and playing for Cal Ripken Jr after the Orioles legend decided to end his consecutive games streak at 2,632. Minor was a good prospect in the Orioles system and had arguably the best season in Delmarva Shorebirds history in 1997 when he batted .307 with 24 home runs and 97 RBI for the Single-A club. He played parts of four seasons in the majors with the Orioles and Montreal Expos in a 10-year professional baseball career.

Prior to playing professional baseball, Minor was a standout forward for the Oklahoma Sooners basketball team. Minor played 118 games for the Sooners and started 59 of them. Over his last two seasons, Minor averaged 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. This led to Minor being selected 32nd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft (they drafted Allen Iverson in the first round that year). Minor was also drafted by the O's in '96 and obviously chose baseball over basketball.

Mark Hendrickson

Joining Minor and Iverson is Mark Hendrickson, who was taken 31st overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, one pick ahead of Minor, also by the 76ers. Hendrickson took his shot in the NBA and played parts of four seasons with the 76ers, Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged just 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in his time in the NBA before switching back to baseball.

Hendrickson joined the Toronto Blue jays farm system in 1998. The Blue Jays were the most recent team to draft Hendrickson in 1997 but it should be noted that he was selected by five different major league franchises over six straight years from 1992-1997. Hendrickson played parts of 10 major league seasons with five different teams, including the Blue Jays, Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins, and Los Angeles Dodgers. He joined the Birds in 2009 where he was transitioned into a reliever and recorded the only save of his career.

Honorable mention: Pat Connaughton

Basketball fans will recognize the name Pat Connaughton, who's in his ninth NBA season. He's been a solid role player for the Milwaukee Bucks and was a member of their 2020-2021 championship team. You may not know that Connaughton was a fourth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2014 and played in six games with the Aberdeen IronBirds that season. He was a pitcher with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and got four starts, pitching to a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings. Connaughton is an honorable mention on this list because he did not play for the Orioles (only in the minor league system), but we doubt he regrets his career choice.