Braves behind the photo: The Deion years

This photo from the 1992 baseball season is unique because it has two Braves players that made big impacts on the Braves but at different times.

Deion Sanders, playing for Atlanta, is shown diving back into first base, avoiding the tag of the Montreal Expos’ Andres Galarraga.

Galarraga later played for the Braves from 1998-2000 and was a fan favorite though he missed the entire ’99 season because of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Meanwhile, many in the Braves organization have always wondered what Sanders would have actually done for the team had he not been a football player first. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011 and one of the best defensive backs ever, Sanders came to the Braves in 1991 after two seasons in the Yankees’ organization where he became the only athlete ever to hit a home run and score a touchdown during the same week.

That first season Sanders flashed some strong offensive skills, playing in 54 games but was eventually sent to Triple-A Richmond and his NFL contract with the Falcons did not allow him to play on the postseason roster.

But in ’92 he reworked his contract with the Falcons so he could he could play in the postseason and that season got off to great start, making the April cover of Sports Illustrated. In 97 games, he hit .304, led the league in triples with 14 and stole 26 bases. Speaking of triples, his speed from home to third became legendary on ESPN SportsCenter.

Also, against the Pirates in the National League Championship Series, he played in a Falcons and Braves game on the same day, arriving at Three Rivers Stadium in a helicopter. Many also forget that in the World Series that season against Toronto, he was the Braves biggest bat, going 8-for-15 at the plate and stealing five bases. He is the only athlete ever to play in both a World Series and Super Bowl.

In the ’93 strike season, Sanders’ hit .276, stole 19 bases and had 18 doubles but the following year after 46 games, he was traded to Cincinnati for outfielder Roberto Kelly.

Sanders would finish playing baseball in 2001 but because of football would play in only a total of 641 games.

He always used to like to say, “I’m married to football; baseball is my girlfriend.’’