Mark Hendrickson: Modern Day 2 Sport Athlete?
Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are names people always remember for being talented and exceling in professional sports at the highest level. They have garnered that attention and respect but I think their is one person people overlook throughout the course of history as a 2 sport athlete and that person happens to be Mark Hendrickson. Now if you’re not an avid baseball fan then this name most likley dosen’t ring a bell but just to inform you on Hendrickson he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1996 NBA draft. You know what that means right? It means that not only did he play with the great Allen Iverson but that he was also in the same draft class as Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen. Thats only scratching the surface of the Mount Vernon, Washington natives multi sport career.
After being named All-State and leading both his high school baseball and basketball team to state championships while capturing player of the year honors Hendrickson would go on to have a very good college basketball career. His career numbers at Washington State are 13.9 points, 8.6 rebounds with 56% Field goal shooting and 37% 3-point field goal shooting. Hendrickson at 6’9 was versatile and was able to do a lot of things on he floor for his team. During his 4 year tenure at Washington State he made the All Pac-10 Conference 1st team twice. He also left the school as the 2nd all-time leading rebounder in history. He did all of that while playing baseball at a high level and being selected to multiple All Pac-10 teams. Mark Hendrickson was just very skilled in many areas as an athlete.
Hendrickson was a 2nd round pick in the tremendously talented 1996 NBA draft. That was a draft class that featured the likes of Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant,Steve Nash and his teammate Allen Iverson. Hendrickson was never able to find a home in the NBA as he bounced from team to team in his very brief 3 seasons. He bounced from team to team as he was never able to stay in one area for a whole season. He spilt time with the Sixers,Cavs,Kings and Nets. His career averages were 3.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and .6 assits per game. Its still pretty cool that he was drafted by 5 baseball teams in college and was in the same draft class as Kobe Bryant.
During his time in college Hendrickson was drafted to a major league baseball team 5 times. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves twice (1992,1994), the San Diego Padres (1993), the Detroit Tigers (1995) and then the Texas Rangers (1996). So that means from 1992-1996 Mark Hendrickson was wanted to pitch for an MLB organization but refuse to do so until after college. He was again drafted by the Toronto Bluejays in 1997 while he was in the NBA
After a few seasons of inconsistent minutes and playing time in the NBA Mark Hendrickson decided to play baseball in 2002. While he wasn’t in the NBA during the summer Hendrickson pitched in the minor leagues for the Toronto Blue Jays organization from 1998-2001 until he finally got the call to the big leagues in 2002. He made 16 appearences where he went 3-0 with 2.45 ERA. The rest of his career was very mediocore at best as even in his best win-loss year of 8-7 he still has a 5.90 ERA with the Devil Rays in 2005. 58-74 was his career win-loss record where he posted a 5.03 ERA.He is also a foot note in baseball history as he gave up the 600th career homerun of Ken Griffey Jrs career as a member of the Florida Marlins. Hendrickson as a Major League Baseball player is a sub par innings eater suited as a 5th starter but he had a long 10 year career in the Majors in which he made over 10 million dollars. Not bad for a sub par 5th starter.
So while Mark Hendrickson’s career in the NBA and MLB weren’t hall of fame worthy the fact that he pretty much had the option to do whatever he wanted pretty much speaks volumes to him as an athlete. Maybe if he was on better teams his career would have turned out differently but he has shown that in the 21st century being a 2 sports pro athlete can be done. Hendrickson retired in 2011. He is one of only 12 athletes to play in both the MLB and NBA.