- 09/17/2012, 07:41PM ET
Mrlns Fn said 09/18, 01:08 AM
This is fairly difficult. There are countless athletes I would've liked to have seen compete and narrowing down the list to three has been hard to say the least. Regardless, it's done and for my first pick I'm going to go with Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears.
Sayers is relatively young enough to probably have been seen by many FN'ers, but I'm 31 and Sayers' NFL career was long over by the time I was born. Sayers played from 1965-1971 but his prime is generally considered to be 1965-1967, or his first three years in the NFL. Sayers injured his knee in 1968 and apparently was never the same player thereafter, sadly diminishing what was once a very promising career.
But I would've loved to have seen those first three years of Sayers' career.
As a rookie Sayers scored a then-record 22 TDs. He also set an at-the-time record with 2,272 all-purpose yards.
His second year brought less TDs (12) but more all-purpose yards, a new record of 2,440.
Sayers' third year was more of a time-share (no clue why) and Sayers finished with lesser stats, but was still an electric player.
But Sayers' reputation as the "best gridiron dancer ever" is why I would've liked seeing him.
TnerB57 said 09/18, 05:33 AM
Alright, MF, good choice and good luck!
Unlike yourself, I had no difficulty at all in coming up with my first choice. The other two might be tougher, but I have always dreamed what it would have been like to have seen the great Mickey Mantle play in his heyday.
I mean, this guy had it all. Hit for average, had power from both sides of the plate, phenomenal fielder, and knew how to play through pain, as he needed to for his entire career.
For the second half of the 50's decade, and the first few years of the 60's, there was no better player in baseball. Mantle, the year before I was born, won the Triple Crown, leading not just the AL, but both leagues in all three categories.
Mantle still holds numerous World Series records, most notably with 18 home runs over his 12 World Series'.
I like to fantasize that I'm seeing the next coming, in the person of one Mike Trout, who displays many of Mantle's traits.
Mantle was one of the greatest players ever, and one can only wonder what could have been, just as in the case of Sayers, had injuries not played such a prominent part of his career.
Mrlns Fn said 09/18, 11:08 PM
Ok, for pick number two I'm turning to America's pastime. Baseball. Sweet, sweet baseball. And this is where I flip flopped the most about who to use in this TD. Because I've always yearned to see Willie Mays, and I really wanted to pick him. But I can't. There's one baseball player I can't justify picking ANYBODY over, and that's
George Herman Ruth, Jr. The Babe. The Bambino. The Sultan of Swat. Jack Dunn's Baby.
Call him whatever you will, Babe Ruth is the one athlete I would've loved to see the most. There is never going to be another player like him. everyone knows about Ruth's accomplishments at the plate, but he was also a great pitcher, finishing his career with a record of 94-46 and a dazzling 2.28 ERA. Ruth also finished his career with a WHIP of just 1.159. He wasn't much of a strikeout pitcher but he sure was an effective one.
And at the plate... oh my. One of the best ever, if not the best. MLB's TRUE homerun king. Amazing hitter. Just phenomenal.
And the best part is he looked more like you or I than like any of today's athletes. Ruth was an average Joe's hero, and I'm sad I missed him.
Good luck, Nerby!
TnerB57 said 09/19, 10:57 PM
Ok, MF, this next choice was a bit harder, admittedly, but I kept going back to my original thought for my pick.
And that is Wilt Chamberlain.
Chamberlain was an athletic beast! Did you know he won the Big 8 high jump three straight years?
Now, on to basketball. I did get to see Wilt play his last 3-4 years (I was even at the Fabulous Forum when the Lakers beat the Atlanta Hawks for their 21st of 33 wins in a row), but I would really have liked to see his first 6 years in the league, particularly that monster 1962 season. I mean, look at this stat line: 48.5 mpg, 25.7 rpg, 50.4 ppg! And I really would have liked to be on hand when he scored 100 pts in a single game.
Wilt pulled down over 27 rebounds a game his first two seasons. Heck, these days top players are lucky to get 27 points a game. Only Bill Russell came close to Chamberlain here. 22+ rpg for his career!
Chamberlain and Jordan are the only two players to retire with a 30 ppg average for their career.
And Chamberlain could pass, too, even leading the league in total assists in 1968.
Mrlns Fn said 09/20, 02:35 AM
For my third selection I too am borrowing from the game of basketball. I thought about this one for a long time because there are many old school players I would've enjoyed seeing, but in the end there was really only one choice. The third athlete I wish I could've seen is Pete Maravich.
When I was a kid I read Pistol Pete's book. Between the different stories I read in the book concerning Pete's prowess with the ball and other stories passed on through the years by former teammates/coaches/opponents etc, there is no shortage of accolades. Maravich was known as "the best ball-handler of all time", according to John Havlicek. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame called Maravich "perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history" upon his induction.
Besides Maravich's peerless ball handling skills and supreme vision on the court, he was also a prolific scorer. Pete played three years in college, leading the NCAA in scoring each year and finishing with a cumulative 44.2 PPG scoring average, before the introduction of the 3-point line, where many shots originated.
I would've loved watching Pete during the prime of his collegiate career.
TnerB57 said 09/21, 12:09 AM
You know, this has actually been a pretty fun TD. Re-reading up on some historical athletes has been and extreme pleasure. That said, no sport re-read quite as well as baseball, in my book, so the final athlete I would have liked to see in their prime is [b]Ted Williams[/i].
The Splendid Splinter was one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game. 521 homers, .344 ba, 2654 hits, 1838 rbi. The numbers, while phenomenal, would have been even more extraordinary, had he not given up 3 very prime years, and the great majority of two others, to serve his country as a bomber pilot in WWII and the Korean conflict. Ted would have very likely been at or withing top 3 in every major category if not for this.
Ted Williams was the last man to hit over .400, won not one but two Triple Crowns, hit a home run in his very last at bat, and was a two-time MVP.
In fact, everyone missed seeing Williams in his prime, as his years in WWII, were ages 25-27, supreme prime for any athlete. Hell, if not for war, Barroid Bonds might have been chasing Williams records rather than Ruth.
Great idea, MF, and good luck!
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