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Favorite athlete(s)....and why


James

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Mine:

Archie Griffin - 2 time Heisman trophy winner (only athlete to accomplish this) and about as classy an athlete as you'll ever see. I bleed Ohio State and as a kid, went to every home game he ever played in.

Gale Sayers - the most magically talented football player I've ever seen. Went to the Hall of Fame playing less than 5 full seasons.... playing on bad teams where defenses would key on him as he was the only thing going. Also his autobiography ("I Am Third") influenced me as a kid. A chapter of the book is what "Brian's Song" was based on. The meaning of the title is God is first, my friends are second and I am third.

Anybody else?

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Iam sure as time goes on I will think of others but Sandy Koufax has to be right up there. He retired from baseball at age 30 at the peak of his game because of an arthritic arm that forced him to soak it in icewater after every game and take cortisone shots.

In 1966 when he retired at 30 he was virtually unstoppable and untouchable. He was like 27-2 that year and 26-3 in 1965 and led the Dodgers into the World Series both years. He pitched a perfect game and several other no-hitters. he had a very very low ERA. Surprisingly this Brooklyn native after high school went to the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. The Bearcats had one of the top programs in the nation shortly after that.

Phil

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Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners. Not alot of power for an outfielder, but he has the bat, the speed and the glove. Oh yeah, he has a rocket for a right arm. This guy doesn't use the 'clear' or the 'cream'- he's the real deal.Make room in Cooperstown for it's first Japanese inductee.

John Gilliam, Minnesta Vikings 1972-1975. Also played for the Saints, Cardinals and Falcons. Great hands, great speed. The first time I remember seeing him play, he was on the field playing with a cast on his wrist. I was impressed. He was Fran Tarkenton's favorite receiver while with the Vikings. Put up some great numbers for a brief period.

Don Mattingly- Donnie Baseball! Hell yes. What an unfortuante case of bad timing. An all-time Yankee great who had to retire before the glory days returned to the Bronx. I used to make the road trip to Seattle just to see him play. Once saw him playing 3rd base! A lefty at third- what a trip.

Warrick Dunne, Atlanta Falcons. Truely a great individual. Super charitable guy, gives to the community. Small running back that will go right up the middle and be effective. Good guy.

Vinnie Johnson, Detroit Pistons- The Microwave. Loved seeing him take it to the Bulls and Lakers.

more- Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Chris Chambliss, Fran Tarkenton, Raul Ibanez.

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Anne I have a close friend who at one time, along with her partner, were the pairs skating champions in Canada (this goes back close to 20 years). I went to see them in a performance in England, and got to 'hang out' with a lot of the other skaters. I rode a bus with Torvill and Dean to and from the hotel a few times, and I must say that I got real different impression of them. No denying their talent, however.

Marv

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Richie Hebner, all time greatest third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Other favorites include Jack Lambert, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth. All in the NFL Hall of Fame.

My favorite current players are Big Ben, Troy Polamanu, Aaron Smith,and of course, Hines Ward.

And, I have to include the "Bus" even though he is retired.

These guys are so great, yet so humble. I am proud to be a Steeler fan.

Deb - PA Steeler Fan smile

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I'm from Columbus and watched Richie Hebner play Triple A ball for the Columbus Jets...he played on the same team with Freddie Patek, Manny Sanguien, Doc Ellis, Dave Cash (he might have come a year or 2 later), Chris Kanazaro & a couple others I'm not remembering...

Those guys all came up together through the farm system, played most their careers together with the Pirates and created a decade long dynasty....that is what baseball is/was all about...and what it needs to get back to..

I was a Cubs fan so I hated the Pirates...but respected what they did and how they did it.

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Anne when I met them in 1984, they were the epitome of rude and obnoxious. At that time, they were at the height of their fame and popularity so I would hope that the passing years and age have made them more mature and respectful.

James I was waiting to see who would be the first to ask who Jean Beliveau is. I know that 'blackhawkpat' and some others know who HE is. Mr Beliveau was probably one of the greatest hockey players ever. He played his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens, retiring in the early 1970's. Since his retirement, he's becoming a goodwill ambassador for not only the sport, but for a number of charities which he generously lends his support to. A few years ago the Canadian government wanted to make him a Senator, but he respectfully declined saying, he had spent a lifetime away from his family and now that he was at a point in his life where he could enjoy his children and grandchildren, he did not want to spend any more time away from home.

Marv

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Quote:
I'm from Columbus and watched Richie Hebner play Triple A ball for the Columbus Jets...he played on the same team with Freddie Patek, Manny Sanguien, Doc Ellis, Dave Cash (he might have come a year or 2 later), Chris Kanazaro & a couple others I'm not remembering...

Those guys all came up together through the farm system, played most their careers together with the Pirates and created a decade long dynasty....that is what baseball is/was all about...and what it needs to get back to..

I was a Cubs fan so I hated the Pirates...but respected what they did and how they did it.

Jim:

I agree with you ...baseball today is nothing like days of Willie Stargell, Al Oliver, and others. They had a love for the game. Richie Hebner, I believe came up the system in 1969 along with Bob Robertson.

I wasn't interested in baseball until I watched the 1972 playoffs against the Reds. Sadly, I did not get to see much of Roberto Clememte play.

The 70's Pirates were a dynasty and they had one of the best managers around in Danny Murtaugh.

They came close in 92 with Jim Leyland, another great manager.

The teams I loathed were the Braves and those pesky Mets.

My two favorite Cubs... Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg.

Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed reminiscing about good days of baseball.

Deb - PA Steeler Fan

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Jesse Owens- 'cause he ran in the 1936 (i think) Olympics and beat the Germans during the height of Hitler's era... too bad it didn't help the civil rights movement that much here in the states... it's arguably the most astounding moment in sports...

Willie Mays- my one & only major league baseball game caught him (& the Mets) during his last season...

Steve Prefontaine- great runner who has had 2 films ("Without Limits" & "Prefontaine") made about him & one documentary...

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Growing up a baseball fan in Daytona Beach was a mixed blessing. For a while we had the Dodgers Class A farm team, but they left around 1974. We got the Expos to spring train there for a few years... because they didn't like sharing West Palm Beach with the Braves... and then they left and went back to WPB because they missed the convenience of sharing a park with the Braves...

I followed the careers of the guys (especially the Dodger farmhands) so my favorites became the guys who actually made the bigs from those teams that I saw with my Dad.

Jerry Royster

Glenn Burke

John Hale

Kevin Pasley

Ivan DeJesus

and probably the most successful of the lot, Rick Rhoden

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