Reactions: Men's Round of 16
Who did we overlook? You gave us your opinion
Posted: Thursday September 02, 1999 01:20 PM
CNN/SI asked users to tell us who should made our men's Round of 16. Your responses encompassed a wide variety of stars from today and from the past. A sampling of the responses follows:
I think Lou Gehrig and Jerry Rice are glaring omissions from this list. First of all Gehrig and Rice are both arguably the best players of all time in their respective sports. And baseball and football are the biggest sports in America. With having Joe Montana representing the NFL. He may be a quarterback but is not decisively better than other great quarterbacks. Such as Bradshaw, Marino, etc. But no one argues the fact Rice is easily the most dominating receiver to ever set foot on a field. To leave these guys off of this list and to have an unproven Ricky Williams on it is criminal.
John Elway should be in the top 16, if not the top 10. He has almost every record, other than those held by Dan Marino. Moreover, Elway never had a supporting cast like Montana did. When he finally had a great coach (Shanahan) and a great supporting cast (Davis, Sharpe, MacCaffrey) he won two Super Bowls in a row. Stats don't say it all. Elway was a great leader and his presence on the field was immeasurable to his team. For that reason, he is one of the best 10 athletes in this century.
Ted Williams, in my mind, is by far the greatest hitter ever. He was the last player to hit over .400. He hit 521 Hr's while he missed 5 years of his prime because he served his country in a time of war. I think that Babe Ruth was the correct choice for baseball, but Williams deserves a wild card over Hank Aaron. I think that Aaron would agree with this opinion.
Ricky Williams? Michael Jordan college? Ayrton Senna? All over, just to name one, Wilt Chamberlain? He still holds all kinds of scoring, and rebounding records, including the legendary 100 pt. game. How can you even begin to argue any of those other guys in place of him?
Most of the athletes above are American athletes, so you should qualify this as the Top 16 'American' Athletes. If you were to take a poll of the whole world (right now its mostly Americans on the net), then you find that Maradona, Cruyff, Bobby Charlston, and other soccer players would be on it in addition to just Pele. People like Ayrton Senna, Ricky Williams, and Joe Montana wouldn't even register on a true Top 16 Athletes poll. This poll just perpetuates American ignorance and arrogance.
Baseball - Walter Johnson - changed pitching
Maurice "Rocket" Richard - the most fiery and dynamic hockey player of all time - 544 goals plus another 82 playoff goals. The most exciting and impact player in an era of hockey that was not watered down with too many teams. Gordie Howe also should be on the list due to his longevity and scoring prowess. Mario Lemieux was the most skilled hockey of all time by a long shot but he did not play long enough or with great teams too establish records like Gretzky.
Where do I begin? We all know about .367 career average (1st all-time), 2,245 runs (1), 4191 hits (2), 12 batting crowns, blah, blah, blah. How about these two? A triple crown winner at age 23 in 1909. Despite having only 118 career home runs, Cobb is still amongst the top 40 in career slugging. Think of all the homers that have been hit since the end of the dead ball era, and Cobb is still in the top 40 in career slugging. He is fourth in doubles and second in triples. He's still in the top 5 in stolen bases. Something unrelated but does prove Cobb's greatness: Cobb became sport's first millionaire and not because of salary. His savvy investments (Coca-Cola, Ford Motors, etc.) left him a rich man well before his death in 1961. Cobb is without a doubt one of the greatest athletes of the century.
Dick Butkus. One of the most predominant themes in sports is to create fear in the opposition. If you can name one player in any sport whose name is more associated with fear, I'll shut up.
I strongly believe that Vincent "Bo" Jackson should have made the top sixteen. As far as I am concerned Bo is the only modern, major two-sport athlete. He was possibly the most valuable player on both his football and baseball team. Any man that can go to Honolulu for the NFL Pro Bowl and go the the All-Star game for the MLB in the same year deserves an incredible amount of credit. If Bo did not make the cut I, along with many other fair American sports fans, will be deeply upset.
MJ (even twice) is OK
Mark Spitz: Greatest swimmer ever, arguably greatest Olympian ever. 7 Olympic gold medals, 7 world records in Munich 1972. Need I say more? I don't understand why you have Michael Jordan twice. I also can't believe that you have someone from motor sports - a lot of people would not consider racecar driving a sport!
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