It is simply amazing how players are viewed by the public and media.
I recently posted an entry on whether or not Barry Larkin deserves to be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame. If you look at his stats…he probably is not. That then brings up Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and others. I also talked about how Mike Tyson, though one of the most feared men of his time, really didn’t have that great of a heavyweight career.
It is funny, however, the amount of admiration certain athletes get for whatever reason.
Joe Namath is one of the most famous players in NFL history. His waving his finger as he ran into the tunnel after winning Super Bowl III is one of the most known images in all of sports. And because of that…and the fact he did that in New York….he is in the Hall Of Fame. I mean, after that magical 1969 season….Namath never led his team to a winning record again. He threw 173 touchdowns and 220 interceptions. His 50% completion percentage is rather low as well. Yet, he is one of the best known Hall Of Famers. Using Joe Namath as a measuring stick….then Kurt Warner should be a shoo-in for the Hall as well. Just like Namath, you could argue that Warner had just as dominant a 3-year stretch as Namath…and Warner went to TWO Super Bowls and had TWO league MVPs.
Lynn Swan is also in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. He was a Pro Bowler only 3 times in only nine seasons. He caught less than 350 catches….Art Monk, who can’t get into the HOF, has over 900 catches. He is not in the top 50 of any major career category for receivers. Yet he’s a Hall Of Famer.
Two of my biggest NBA gripes are Bill Walton and Pete Maravich. Yeah, both guys had their careers cut short by injury. Walton holds career averages of 13.3 pts and 10.5 reb. His top scoring output was 18.9 ppg in only 58 games in 1978.…his last in Portland. From there, his production drastically declined…and he only averaged 46.8 games per season….and only ONCE playing more than 67 games in a season. Pistol Pete’s career averages are much better. He averaged 24.2 pts over his career. But he played on bad Hawks and Jazz teams.
Pete Rose was one of my favorite ballplayers. He does own the all time hits record and #4192 will always be remembered in my heart. But, that’s the only thing he was better at Ty Cobb hitting-wise. For being dubbed “the hit king”….his career average was only .303. Cobb owned a .366 average. His best RBI season was 82. Yeah, I know….he led off a lot….but he only had 198 lifetime steals. Cobb had over 4 times as many steals and 7 seasons where he had 100+ RBIs.