"That's right," says McCraw. "All Bo needs is time. In football you have to learn only your team's plays, then go out and do it. In baseball the skills are more refined. The Red Sox have 11 pitchers. You've got to know every one of them, and what they want to do to you. Multiply that by every team in the league. It just takes more time."
And understanding. Jackson's season with the Royals was a testing one. Several players objected to his rawness and to the preferential treatment they thought the club was giving him. "I don't think Bo was ready for the pettiness," says one veteran baseball writer. After a game in mid-June against the California Angels in Anaheim, in which he went 1 for 4 with three strikeouts, Jackson was carrying a plate of postgame food when he inadvertently spilled gravy on some of second baseman Frank White's belongings. "Rookie," snapped White, giving Jackson a look that would have chilled Medusa. Shortly thereafter, when Bo announced he had come to terms with the Raiders, he endured more sniping.
For the football season Bo, wife Linda and their 1�-year-old son, Spud, are living in a condo in Redondo Beach. The Jacksons are renting. Bo doesn't like those six-plus tremors that have rocked California since his arrival.
Allen, the Raiders' leading career rusher with almost 6,000 yards, took a different approach toward Jackson than did Jackson's teammates. In fact, Allen volunteered to move to fullback so that Jackson could get more carries. Allen is a remarkable player himself. He may now be the NFL's best blocking fullback. That's a role change no other premier running back could have accomplished. Further, Allen can still catch the ball, throw it, run with it and look good in the lobby afterward. Allen has said he will wait until season's end to voice any complaints, if he has any. You would think that with this jillion-dollar backfield the Raiders would be hell on wheels. No. Bo missed the season's first two games because of his day job. Then came the strike. L. A. is 5-7.
But the Bo Show rolls on. From now on, whenever he crushes a home run or strikes out, people will recall his stunning run in Seattle and get a different kind of rush. Bo steams left, slaps away a groping tackier, turns it on and leaves safety Kenny Easley running in syrup. Jackson zooms 91 yards into the end zone and beyond, through a tunnel beneath the stands, out of sight. Three Raiders run after him, yelling for him to come back. But he was long gone.