Tuesday, August 06, 2013

New York's Greatest Athlete

No disrespect, but Gretzky in LA?
My friend Charles Costello penned this piece for Yahoo! Sports on the list of the 10 Greatest Professional Athletes in New York City history.

I can see the quarrels already.  Chris Mullin, Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem), and so on.  But they weren't professional athletes here.

Charles went with these 10, and readers have until tomorrow to vote on number 1.

- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Joe DiMaggio
- Mickey Mantle
- Derek Jeter
- Walt Frazier
- Mark Messier
- Joe Namath
- Jackie Robinson
- Lawrence Taylor

OK, we can debate the list if you so choose, but I don't think it's a bad list.  Are there, in anyone's opinion, any glaring omissions?  Tom Seaver comes to mind for me.  Should a boxer be included?  Anyone else?

Should, perhaps, Brian Leetch be there?  Some (indeed, many) would say he was better in New York than Messier, who was overall better in Edmonton.  Jackie Robinson or Duke Snider?  For sheer talent, Snider was a generally better player in his professional career.  Robinson was a wonderful ballplayer, and his impact socially is without debate.  I could say this was a politically correct choice, and maybe I am, but I'm not knocking Charles for it.

I get it.

But let's be real.  I know people have, and will, vote for others.  That's the problem with such a list, and to add a fan vote element to it.  The Jeter fan boys will go for their guy.  Same with LT, the Messiah, and Joe Willie.

The baby boomers will take The Mick (and note that Willie Mays isn't included).  The Italians are fiercely protective of the grace of Joe D.

Then there are those who vote who don't truly know the facts on these player. 

Oh, but seriously, there's only one.  You know it and you bet I know it.




The Babe.

It's easy.  No debate.

By the way, if you want a wonderful take on the baseball Hall of Fame, please read Joe Posnanksi's blog.  He gets it.  It should be about the greatest players, not the greatest people of character.

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