- 06/13/2011, 10:35PM ET
Woahbigguy I'm Back. said 06/13, 10:35 PM
Contrary to popular belief, I'll go with George Herman "Babe" Ruth.
Rudedog: Believe The Hype said 06/14, 03:09 PM
There are two people I can think of that are more influential than your pick. But in the end, one of the stood out to me.
Ali was someone who inspired young people to become boxers every where and launched the sport into new heights in his time there.
He was not only a great boxer, but he was a great showman. To be influential, to me, means influencing the fans/viewers/other boxers. Ali most certainly did that. He influenced fans and viewers who tuned into his shows and showed up to his fights. His fights were some of the best ever and most highly attended.
And that's not to take away from his in-ring ability. His record of 56-5 doesn't tell you how good he was. 3 of the 5 losses came in his last 4 fights, so essentially he was 55-2 at the end of his career. He also was a Gold medalist in Rome.
And none of this is touching his influence with him being a black man who converted to Sunni Islam. He's most remembered for refusing to take part in the Vietnam War and facing jail time because of it as well as being stripped of his title.
Ali is far more influential than Babe.
Woahbigguy I'm Back. said 06/14, 05:27 PM
Personally, I thought your best bet was Jackie Robinson because I don't think Ali really stands a chance here.
1) Ali influenced people to become boxers. However, the Babe clearly influenced people to become baseball players and is still the most recognizable sports figure in American history.
2) Ali caused people to tune in and watch boxing, however my argument is that Babe did this more than Ali as he singlehandedly saved the game of baseball. Following the Black Sox scandal in 1919 the game was in need of hero as ratings plummeted, and Ruth was just that. He clubbed 54 homers in 1920, breaking the previous record of 25 and outdoing the entire AL that season. He also singlehandedly brought the game out of the unappealing not fan-friendly dead ball era into an era of offense and power.
3) Then you choose to argue about Ali's influence in terms of how great an athlete he was, however Ruth dominated in a fashion that is unparalleled by Ali or any other sports icon for that matter.
I have a few more compelling arguments to come for the "Colossus of Clout".
Rudedog: Believe The Hype said 06/14, 11:33 PM
Seriously? You think Babe is the most recognizable sports figure in HISTORY? If I walked around downtown New York City with a picture of Babe Ruth, I'd venture to say 8 out of 10 people wouldn't know who he is. Do the same with Ali and you'd have about 7 out of 10 get it right.
This shows how influential a person he was. In the sport of boxing, which isn't popular anymore and has been on the decline for a while, Ali is someone who is still recognized as the face of the sport. He ushered boxing into the most popular era it's ever had.
Ali is far and away the most well known boxer in history and to say he didn't have a HUGE role in saving boxing or at least keeping it relevant, or more specifically a more important role than Ruth had in baseball, than I think you're crazy.
The Babe was a great player. But to call him the most influential in sports history is huge overkill. He might not even be the most influential in baseball history.
There's no doubt, however, that Ali is his sports most influential and far more influential in the history of sports than Ruth was.
Woahbigguy I'm Back. said 06/15, 10:55 AM
Okay NY is a baseball town in which the Babe dominated and changed the game of BASEBALL, America's Pastime, not a dying sport of boxing making your numbers about how recognizable he was completely false, go ahead and try that experiment everyone knows the Babe.
However, you do bring me to my next point. Babe Ruth, with his gargantuan swings and goliath home runs turned the New York Yankees into the most powerful sporting franchise in the history of the world. The impact that the Yankees have around the globe is ridiculous. If you go to any person in Japan or any baseball loving countries, every single person will know the Yankees because Babe Ruth put them on the map, no pun intended.
To go along with the fact that Babe turned the Yankees into the greatest franchise on Earth, ever heard of the "House that Ruth Built", Yankee Stadium? He turned Yankee Stadium into the greatest sporting venue in American History, and is paralleled only by the Coliseum in world history.
Oh, and if that's not enough, I'll take it a step further and inform you as to how New York City became the mecca of sports in America. Two words, The Babe.
Rudedog: Believe The Hype said 06/16, 12:27 AM
Babe may have been the first star of NYC, but he wasn't the sole reason for putting NYC on the map in sports. You are putting entirely too much stock into Ruth.
We can agree that both Ruth and Ali did incredible amounts for their sport. Exactly how much we'll disagree on, but it's close.
But in the end, Ali's influence transcended sports. As a black Islam figure, he was a symbol for others like him. While there aren't numbers to specifically showcase his impact, it's without a doubt noticeable. Wikipedia says that his religion conversion...
"turn[ed] the outspoken but popular champion into one of that era's most recognizable and controversial figures"
So while Ali and Babe both did about the same for their sport, Ali did far more outside of the sport of boxing. To put Ruth on Ali's level is simply an insult to Ali. Ruth was nothing more than an alcoholic outside of the field. Ali was an activist for his religion.
On the field/in the ring, it's a close debate. When factoring in what they did outside their sport, it's a clear advantage to Ali
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