Sports: Baseball & Football
Born: July 5, 1972
Marquis Donnell Porter was born July 5, 1972 in Newark. He grew up in the city’s South Ward and was a standout athlete in every sport he played. A good student who combined intelligence and physical prowess, he was named to All-State teams in baseball, football and basketball while attending Weequahic High. This earned him the nickname “Bo” for Bo Jackson. He was recruited by several major colleges in football and baseball, and finally chose the University of Iowa.
Bo was a three-year starter for Hayden Fry’s Hawkeyes football team, winning All-Big 10 honors as a defensive back. He was also all-conference as an outfielder for the baseball team. As a senior for the football team in 1994, he was the co-MVP with 69 tackles and three interceptions. By then, Bo already had one year of minor league ball under his belt. He had been drafted by the Cubs in 1993 and played in 66 games for Class-A Peoria the summer after his junior baseball season, during whi he hit .318 for the Hawkeye.
In 1998, Bo was one of the top players in the minors, reaching double-digits in doubles, triples and homers, scoring 93 runs in 129 games, and swiping 51 bases.
Bo got the call from Chicago in the spring of 1999 and played in 24 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter. After the season, the Cubs left Bo off the 40-man roster and he was grabbed by the Oakland A’s in the Rule 5 Draft. He hit his first big-league homer off Tony Fiore of the Devil Rays in his second game for Oakland. Bo played a total of 17 games for the A’s, spending most of the 2000 campaign Sacramento in the PCL.
Bo joined his third club in 2001 when the Texas Rangers plucked him off the waiver wire. He stuck with the big club until early August, when he was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma. Bo hit his second and last major league home run off his old Oakland teammate, Mark Mulder, to turn a 1–0 8th-inning deficit into a 3–1 victory for Texas.
The speed and power Bo displayed in the minors never translated at the major-league level. Pitchers found holes in his swing and exploited them without mercy. He spent two more years in pro ball, primarily with the Braves’ AAA club in Richmond. He retired as a player in 2004 and went into coaching in the Marlins organization.
Bo earned his first managerial post in 2006 with Class-A Jamestown Jammers. Among his chargers were were future major leaguers Chris Coghlan and Logan Morrison. Bo joined the Marlins as a coach in 2007, then moved to Arizona, where he was the third base coach and bench coach in 2010. He interviewed for the manager’s job with the Marlins and Pirates after the season, before accepting an offer to coach third base for the Nationals.
In 2013, the Houston Astros—newly moved to the American League—made Bo their manager. Bo had been a Houston resident since the mid-1990s, and coached select teams in the state, so he was a familiar face in local baseball circles. The club was in a major rebuilding program, and Bo’s job was to teach the young Astros how to play together as a team. The Astros fired Bo in September 2014 and he joined another rebuilding club, the Braves, as a coach in 2015. He is a member of the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame.