It was proposed that I write a blog about my top-10 sports moments, live or televised. Not the top 10, my top 10. As I started listing memorable moments, I ran into a problem: after about five, it started turning into a list of athletes, rather than a list of moments. That got me thinking about some of the athletes I’ve been lucky enough to witness, and it’s a staggering list of talent.
I’m 35. I missed out on Ali and Frazier. I didn’t get to see Bobby Orr and Terry Sawchuk. Or the Steelers of the 70s. Even Dr. J was a bit before my time. But I wouldn’t trade that list of legends for the guys I’ve gotten to watch.
Sport by sport, here’s who I saw (or am seeing) in their prime (in roughly chronological order – I’m not getting into the hassle of ranking these guys). I don’t think this list can be topped by any generation of fandom in the history of sports.
So yeah, that’s just the NFL, and I know I left a ton of worthy guys off the list, but it’s my list. With the exceptions of pitchers and goalies, I’m not going position-by-position for the other three major sports. I’m just going to list the amazing talent that comes to mind.
I know I left most of the current guys off the list, but I don’t follow basketball at all anymore, so I have no idea how good the current crop are.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Roberto Alomar Jr.
I know there are a ton more, and I’m sure I’ll catch hell for forgetting some major names. Like Ozzie Smith. Damn. Just came to me now. Anyway, I was never a huge baseball fan, but that’s still an impressive group of guys.
Martin St. Louis
The Sedin twins
So that’s that. The only other sport I feel the need to mention here is tennis: the Williams sisters on the women’s side, and Agassi/Sampras/Nadal/Federer/Djokovic for the men. (Truth be told, it was Djokovic’s 2011 season that made me shift gears from “moments” to “athletes”. That has to be one of the greatest single seasons in the history of sports.)
As I mentioned, this is my list. These are the guys I watched do amazing things. Some of the inclusions and omissions might seem odd, but these are the guys who awed me. There’s no scientific way to say who the best ever were, which is one of the great things about sports. I can tell you this, though: if I had to win a game, here’s who I want:
Clutch counts for a lot in my book.
Finally, just because I can’t justify putting these guys on the real list, but I equally can’t justify not naming them somewhere: Boomer Esiason, John LeClair. My two all-time favourite athletes.
Your turn. Let me know who I left out. Let me know why someone’s inclusion is ludicrous. Most of all, though, try to tell me there was a better 30-year span in the history of sports. I dare you.