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Favorite athlete(s)....and why


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Le Gros Bill!!!!!! As a lifelong Blackhawks fan it is difficult, especially from the period I was a child, to admire any Montreal Canadiens player, but Beliveau was as classy an individual as you will ever see. A great player on the ice and from what I hear, a true gentleman off it.

Who was the best number four of all time, Marv? Bobby Orr or Jean? LOL (That'll get a rise out of Marvin!)

There are many athletes I have loved to watch on the ice....Tony Esposito, Stan Mikita, Denis Savard, Bobby Hull, household hockey names to all, but off the ice, I have a few that people might not be familiar with.

1) Tony Amonte of the Calgary Flames was a wonderfully talented player (now in his final years) when he was a Blackhawk. He led the NHL in total goals over a two year period and was fourth over a five year period, but he was a real fan favorite off the ice. The guy always had a smile for the fans and I had the pleasure of hanging out with him a few years ago at a golf tournament and he insisted on buying drinks for all of us that were working publicity for it at the after party. He also respects the game and it's past, unlke a lot of the new breed. Amonte and I had to help hockey great Gordie Howe walk to his golf cart and Tony was in as much awe as I was! My daughter still wears his number ten on all her sports teams, years later, and her room has many pictures of him on the wall.

2) Bob Probert.....one of the most respected fighters in NHL history. Probie once threatened to leave a Hawks promotion because he overheard someone in management tell my ten year old daughter they wouldn't allow him to sign her jersey. Guess who ended up signing?

3) The late, great Keith Magnuson, killed in a car accident two years ago this month. Maggie would see us at the Hawks games and come up a give me a bear hug at the site of my old Hawks jacket. He wasn't a big guy, but his hands were mammoth! He always remembered my daughter Amanda's name and that simply amazed me, so imagine what it did for her! We had a picture of the two of them blown up to an 8 X 10 and she asked him to autograph it. He wrote "I have lots of fans, but Amanda is a true FRIEND". Maggie actually gave me his phone number and said he would love to have a copy of that! She has a pin of his number three on her sports bag that she displays proudly. He was going to start setting me up with former NHL players to write a "where are they now?" segment for a friends hockey website, because you'd be shocked at the number of former players who need jobs now, and he thought it might help some of them. We were devastated when we heard he was killed and I can honestly admit I cried at the news. He retired from playing fifteen years before Amanda was even born, but he will always be one of her favorite players!

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Dan Marino Beyond his football successes this is a good man and a good Father.Dan and Claire have six children he is at most of the kid's activities, he is generous and kind the the kids and fans hounding him while watches his kids games.

The Dan Marino Center has provided evaluation and treatment for children with special needs. The center has provided neurological and developmental services for children in South Florida. He charity work was endless.

He and his family now live in Jupiter,FL. I no longer see him in the grocery store and in the neighborhood. But I know he is doing good works where ever he goes.

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Ah... "Pops"... Willie Stargell; he of the famous quote, something like this... "We get paid to play a kids game. I mean, you never hear the umpire say "Work Ball", do you?" laugh

Pops to those Pirates and that era was what Ernie Banks had been to the Cubs and his era... the greatest cheerleader and ambassador of the game.

"Let's play 2!"

Great Idea, Ernie. It is after all, a game.

I bet Pops and Ernie play both ends of a double header every day now! wink

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Great thread, James!

Let's see.... I'd start with Mickey Mantle, based on the fact that, well, he was Mickey Mantle. Unfortunatley, he retired just as I got old enough to follow baseball, but he's still up at the top for me.... I interviewed him in 1994, less than a year before he died, and it was something I'll never forget. The Mick. The Magnificent Yankee....

A kid had to have an active hero, of course, so for me it was easy: Bobby Murcer. When the Yanks traded him for Bobby Bonds (ugh) in 1974, captain Thurman Munson was the guy I'd root hardest for. (Can you tell I'm a Yankee fan?) More recently, I'd probably call Bernie Williams my favorite Yankee.

In football, Bart Starr has always been a hero. I've met him on several occasions, and he's as classy a person as you'll find on earth. More recently, naturally, I've got Brett Favre up there at Starr's level. Heck, 250-some consecutive games without missing a start? The guy is unreal.

Basketball? Larry Legend.... I used to love watching Larry Bird play during the Celtics' glory days of the 1980s. You had to be there....

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1.Ron Santo-I loved his competitive spirit as a player and admire his courage in facing his health problems now as the Cubs radio analyst, while keeping his enthusiasm for life(and for the Cubs).

2.Ryne Sandberg-for his grace and his quiet professionalism.

3.Bobby Orr-the most dominant player I ever saw in any sport.

4.Lance Armstrong-he excelled in what I imagine to be the most gruelling event in sports.

5.Kenny Battle,UofI Flyin' Illini-never saw any player give more effort on the floor.

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In my earlier post, I listed some of my favorites from my beloved Steelers, but I forgot to mention Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood. Two of the greatest players ever for the Steelers. I met Joe Greene when he was in my very small hometown of Johnstown. The Steelers were using the local stadium during the strike in the NFL. I recall it happening during the early part of the 1990s.

I remember him giving me this advice. "Always look both ways before crossing the street." Who cares about looking both ways before crossing the street, it was Joe Greene!

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I'll second Jack Nicklaus and Jesse Owens...2 of my favorites.

Another: Joe Morgan. He excelled in all aspects of the game: on base %, batting avg., he hit with power, stealing bases, gold glove second baseman, and an instrumental contributor to the Reds of the 70s who were one of the best teams of our generation. He's since become one of the premier broadcasters in the game.

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Andrea Jaeger. Tennis phenom as a teenager...made it to #2 in the world or so.

She felt she was called by God to do some good in the world. So she gave up the whole tennis/celebrity thing and gave her earnings to a philanthropic organization she started up to help dying kids.

She's a true stud in my book.

I read recently that she just became an Anglican nun or something..

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