Friday, March 16, 2007

The Cat

These are for Roger.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Catching Up: November/December Top Ten

Roger recently told me of the time he got to see Walter Payton in action for all of one play. It got me thinking of athletes I have been fortunate enough to watch and those I missed or who were before my time. I figured this was an easy way to catch up on my monthly top tens, so here are my November and December lists.

Ten I wish I had seen in action:
1. Babe Ruth - As with most of these choices, this needs no explanation.
2. Gale Sayers
3. Ty Cobb
4. Walter Johnson - I could have picked any number of pitchers (Young, Feller, Paige to name a few) so I went with "The Big Train" because he had the best nickname.
5. Wayne Gretzky
6. Josh Gibson
7. Willie Mays
8. Walter Payton
9. Bobby Hull
10. Roberto Clemente -Every time an outfielder made a bad throw, my dad, without fail, would mention Clemente's ability to throw a strike to any base from the outfield wall. That would have been something to see.

Ten I'm glad I was able to see in person:
1. Denis Savard - Sometimes called Michael Jordan on skates, but in reality he made MJ the second most exciting athlete in the Chicago Stadium.
2. Greg Maddux - He's playing a different game than everyone else on the field.
3. Michael Jordan
4. Mario Lemieux - The talent of Jordan, the intelligence/cleverness of Maddux. If it weren't for cancer, and the fact he played a sport most people ignore, he would have rivaled Jordan as the Ruth-like athlete of the era.
5. Randy Johnson - Not the greatest, but the highest potential for something historic.
6. Kerry Wood - Yeah, I know, he hasn't quite lived up to our hopes, but when he's healthy and can let it rip, he's as fun to watch as anyone.
7. Sammy Sosa - Another chorus of groans, I'm sure, but even when he struck out four times in a game, they were the most exciting strike outs you'd ever see. And you can't say the guy didn't play hard.
8. Mark McGwire - You can't say Sosa without McGwire. Tiffany and I (well, I, really) planned our 1997 trip to Boston according to when the A's were playing the Red Sox so I could see McGwire attack the Green Monster. Our timing was just right - he was traded to St. Louis a couple days later. Everyone in Fenway, including the beer vendors, stopped what they were doing when McGwire came to bat; I've never seen anything else like it.
9. Albert Pujols - I predicted he was a flash in the pan rookie sensation. You just wait and see - ten, fifteen years from now, he'll start playing according to my expectations.
10. Roger Clemens - Saw him pitch a classic Clemens game, too, but he didn't get the win as the Astros scored the only run of the game in the 10th, several innings after he left.

I also got to see Barry Bonds once, but I just couldn't bring myself to include both him and Clemens on the list.

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