Tipoff

Oct. 18, 1958

Gene Conley was a pioneer for Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, and other men who have answered the calls to fill their calendar by playing two big-league sports at a time.

That didn’t exactly endear him to one of his bosses.

Milwaukee Braves general manager John Quinn, asked about Conley’s stated intention to try out for the Boston Celtics while under contract with the Braves, said he was against it and planned to tell Conley as much. Contractually, according to Quinn, a Major League Baseball player is barred from participating in another professional athletic pursuit for the obvious reason: Should Conley be injured on the basketball floor, it could render him useless when baseball season comes.

This wasn’t something new for Conley. He was a forward for the 1952-53 Celtics and pitched for the Boston/Milwaukee Braves.

Conley won the battle of wills, playing for the Celtics from 1958-61, and pitched for the Braves, Phillies and Red Sox. He won championships with the Celtics in 1959-1961, and with the Braves in 1957.