OT: Greatest athlete ever?

RUTGERS95

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You are what you are, so yes, height is certainly part of the equation as it is fundamental to someone's body...why should any physical characterisitics be normalized for? Jordan was quite tall as well so, comparatively, he would not be at a severe disadvantage relative to Wilt.

Jordan's height and longer arms and larger hands didn't necessarily help him excel in baseball, maybe defensively in the field. Couldn't those characteristics have given him an advantage at hitting a baseball, greater reach with the bat to get to the outside curveball he couldn't effectively handle (to at least slap it to right field or just foul off to reduce the number of Ks)? Maybe, maybe not...there were other factors associated with hitting that he couldn't master well enough.

But I wouldn't even use his time playing baseball against him in judging his athletic prowess because he could have just as easily never bothered to give it a shot and we wouldn't know whether he would have been great at it. Just like we don't know how great of a football player he could have been if he tried to make a go of professional football instead of baseball. But his baseball exploits certainly demonstrate his competitive spirit, for which he had very few or no equals.
Jordan tall? I've stood next to both men, Jordan is not 'tall'
 
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Mr_Twister

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Is Jimmy Brown really the greatest lacrosse player of all-time? Or potentially the greatest lacrosse player of all-time? I’m guessing No and Yes.
 

NickRU714

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Jordan tall? I've stood next to both men, Jordan is not 'tall'
Stop trying to bring NBA knowledge into this.
It's like NBA athletes don't exist to most here.
Someone called Jim Brown "Tall". All 6'2" of him.
That is a small PG.

"Tall" baseball and football players would be run off the court of an NBA practice - let alone an actual game.

Everyone talks about hitting a baseball as the pinnacle of hand-eye coordination.
And it is incredibly difficult.

But, nobody ever mentions trying to sprint down a court, dribbling a basketball with 3-4 other guys trying to get it from you without looking down at the ball.
Or trying to catch and shoot a basketball from 25ft with a defender on you and jumping to block you.
 

zappaa

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It requires those things? I've certainly seen slow professional baseball players. Have never seen a slow Olympic sprinter.

As an extension of that, we always say a guy like Lamar Jackson is a very athletic QB. While Tom Brady is not. Brady is clearly the better QB. But the better athlete? We always give that to the runner.
You’ve seen a boatload of slow footed football players who were great athletes.
Outside of a select few offensive linemen, the great many of them are slow comparatively.
They all still possess great footwork, fast hands, fast twitch, and great strength... in short excellent athletes.
Elston Howard ran with a piano on his back, but had soft hands, forearms like cinder blocks and enough power to turn a Volkswagen over... god gifted arm strength and incredible foot work....not a great athlete?
Yea, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle both ran 4.4 40s....with awesome power....bad athletes.
 
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mdk01

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Is Jimmy Brown really the greatest lacrosse player of all-time? Or potentially the greatest lacrosse player of all-time? I’m guessing No and Yes.
Best athlete ever to play lacrosse? Yes. Best stick skills? No, though reports were that he had a cannon of a shot.
 

mdk01

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Same as Elway, Ainge, Russell Wilson, Tebow, Sanders did...struggle.
It’s why Bo’s feat was amazing
I'll disagree with you on one. Knew Russell Wilson's father in college, who played both football and baseball with distinction. He went to the Chargers camp (WR) as an UDFA with UVA law school as an alternative. When he got cut the decision not to bounce around camps was obvious. I never met Russell, but I think if he was willing to start at A ball and work through the minors I think he could have done it. But he would have had to give up football.

One footnote. Where would Russell have been drafted if he had been a legit 6'1" like his father?
 
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BigWill

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The Gait brothers are considered by those in the 'know' to be the greatest Lacrosse players in the modern era of Lacrosse.

Roy Simmons Sr and Roy Simmons Jr were around Lacrosse for a LONG time and BOTH told me that Jimmy was the GOAT in the sport for his combined skills. He NEVER lost a face off and the face off rules were changed after he left the sport.

SImmy Sr asked me to walk the Lacrosse team on my Senior year at Syracuse after watching me in college teaching class. I told him I couldn't because I had signed an NFL contract with the Chargers. He said he would be wiling to overlook that small "issue".

My Dad was an All American Lacrosse player at RU, or what was called the All Amer team in those days. He played Attack at 5' 11" and 210 lbs.

I used to use his old sticks to catch fish with and his swords from his time at Manlius as a Cadet for spearing fish.
 

zappaa

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I'll disagree with you on one. Knew Russell Wilson's father in college, who played both football and baseball with distinction. He went to the Chargers camp (WR) as an UDFA with UVA law school as an alternative. When he got cut the decision not to bounce around camps was obvious. I never met Russell, but I think if he was willing to start at A ball and work through the minors I think he could have done it. But he would have had to give up football.

One footnote. Where would Russell have been drafted if he had been a legit 6'1" like his father?
I’d agree with that.
Russell often works out with major league teams in spring training because he still loves the game....plays a flawless 2nd base and swings the bat well.. I definitely agree with you here.
 

BigWill

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You’ve seen a boatload of slow footed football players who were great athletes.
Outside of a select few offensive linemen, the great many of them are slow comparatively.
They all still possess great footwork, fast hands, fast twitch, and great strength... in short excellent athletes.
Elston Howard ran with a piano on his back, but had soft hands, forearms like cinder blocks and enough power to turn a Volkswagen over... god gifted arm strength and incredible foot work....not a great athlete?
Yea, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle both ran 4.4 40s....with awesome power....bad athletes.
IIRC, The Mick still has the fastest time home plate to first base from the lefty box.
I can still remember him hitting a one hopper thru Dr Strangegloves legs at first at Fenway. He stole second the next pitch, third the next and home the next.

I have an ongoing debate of what defines a "skill" athlete in football.

One that just has to run around to where nobody else is and catch the football thrown by someone paid to throw it perfectly to him only if he is not surrounded by opponents.

or'; OL

A guy that has to move a guy 300 pounds or higher, this guy that has trained for years to life houses and doesn't WANT to be moved from the direction he wants to go. This huge guy can use his mitts to grab you and toss you around. All of this is done in under 1 second. You move too soon, or grab the other guy then an announcer and the tv camera will zero in on you for the only time in the game.
 

zappaa

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IIRC, The Mick still has the fastest time home plate to first base from the lefty box.
I can still remember him hitting a one hopper thru Dr Strangegloves legs at first at Fenway. He stole second the next pitch, third the next and home the next.

I have an ongoing debate of what defines a "skill" athlete in football.

One that just has to run around to where nobody else is and catch the football thrown by someone paid to throw it perfectly to him only if he is not surrounded by opponents.

or'; OL

A guy that has to move a guy 300 pounds or higher, this guy that has trained for years to life houses and doesn't WANT to be moved from the direction he wants to go. This huge guy can use his mitts to grab you and toss you around. All of this is done in under 1 second. You move too soon, or grab the other guy then an announcer and the tv camera will zero in on you for the only time in the game.
Mantle could have represented the USA as an Olympic sprinter had he chose that direction
 
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RU-05

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You’ve seen a boatload of slow footed football players who were great athletes.
Outside of a select few offensive linemen, the great many of them are slow comparatively.
They all still possess great footwork, fast hands, fast twitch, and great strength... in short excellent athletes.
Elston Howard ran with a piano on his back, but had soft hands, forearms like cinder blocks and enough power to turn a Volkswagen over... god gifted arm strength and incredible foot work....not a great athlete?
Yea, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle both ran 4.4 40s....with awesome power....bad athletes.
I never said all baseball players were bad athletes, so the Mays and Mantle examples are not conflicting to what I am saying. I said you don't need to be fast, which is absolutely true.

Offensive linemen? This goes to the Tom Brady Lamar Jackson comparison. Or countless others just like it. Brady is the better QB, the better football player. But Jackson is the better athlete. At least that is how we most often use the term. O-Linemen, in terms of football players, are not the athletes. The WR's are, the RB's are. You could take a two bit receiver and he'd be more athletic then an excellent O-lineman. Doesn't make that WR the better football player. But in how the term is most often used, he would be the better athlete.
 

mdk01

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O-Linemen, in terms of football players, are not the athletes. The WR's are, the RB's are. You could take a two bit receiver and he'd be more athletic then an excellent O-lineman.
If you're defining athlete by 40 time you're right. But in terms of defining athletes that's as valid as defining it by how many reps you can do benching 225. If you think that O-linemen are not athletes you're sadly mistaken.
 
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zappaa

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I never said all baseball players were bad athletes, so the Mays and Mantle examples are not conflicting to what I am saying. I said you don't need to be fast, which is absolutely true.

Offensive linemen? This goes to the Tom Brady Lamar Jackson comparison. Or countless others just like it. Brady is the better QB, the better football player. But Jackson is the better athlete. At least that is how we most often use the term. O-Linemen, in terms of football players, are not the athletes. The WR's are, the RB's are. You could take a two bit receiver and he'd be more athletic then an excellent O-lineman. Doesn't make that WR the better football player. But in how the term is most often used, he would be the better athlete.
That fast wide receiver athlete your talking about my just might get his ass kicked by a slow 300 pound linemen in a game of 1 on 1 basketball..,.just sayin.
Maybe the linemen doesn’t miss any shots....lol
 

RU-05

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If you're defining athlete by 40 time you're right. But in terms of defining athletes that's as valid as defining it by how many reps you can do benching 225. If you think that O-linemen are not athletes you're sadly mistaken.
This is certainly at the heart of the discussion. What physical attributes do we consider "athletic" and what weight do we give each? Hand eye vs speed vs strength vs jumping ability, plus whatever other attributes you want to include.
 

Knight Ed

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Hope you're just having a little fun busting chops, because you're way off.

How did Michael Jordan do playing baseball? 😀
About the same he did playing golf.

I remember Kivelhan sitting on the bench for the football team for 4 years and then he walked on the baseball field dominated the conference after not playing for years. I would recommend to any our 3rd or 4th string football players to go and be amazing baseball players.

Bottom line is that if you match the average baseball player against the average football player in speed or strength, the baseball player would look like a child competing against an adult. Sorry, but it's true.
 

colbert17

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About the same he did playing golf.

I remember Kivelhan sitting on the bench for the football team for 4 years and then he walked on the baseball field dominated the conference after not playing for years. I would recommend to any our 3rd or 4th string football players to go and be amazing baseball players.

Bottom line is that if you match the average baseball player against the average football player in speed or strength, the baseball player would look like a child competing against an adult. Sorry, but it's true.
Two totally different skill sets. 98 per cent of NFL players couldn't foul a ball off against a MLB pitcher. IMHO
 
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zappaa

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Two totally different skill sets. 98 per cent of NFL players couldn't foul a ball off against a MLB pitcher. IMHO
What you don’t realize is fielding major league hit ground balls and line drives, and throwing from deep short stop on a line to first base as equally as hard as hitting.
Shit, you could ask our posters who play 3rd base in beer league softball
 
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BigWill

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What you don’t realize is fielding major league hit ground balls and line drives, and throwing from deep short stop on a line to first base as equally as hard as hitting.
Shit, you could ask our posters who play 3rd base in beer league softball
"Come on Dorn, get in front of the damn ball, don't give me this OLEY bullshit". Major League.
 
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BigWill

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Two totally different skill sets. 98 per cent of NFL players couldn't foul a ball off against a MLB pitcher. IMHO
100 % of MLB pitchers couldn't go against an NFL OL.

Matt could hit, we would go to batting cages and as the arm was coming down I would tell him; "Pull the ball, or hit up the middle, hit to right. etc just before the pitch. He could do it well.

Hoops he was the PG. Ball in his hands was like a yo yo . Hoops pick up games at Illinois gym, you ever see a 6'3", 310 lb point guard ?
 

BigWill

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If you play a deep third base like Nettles did, you need a stronger arm than the short stop.
I can remember when Hector Lopez played some third base for the Yanks.

Right after both teams took infield the grounds crew would come out with the big fire hose and lay down a lot of water in front of third on the grass.

Brooks Robinson was at third, someone hit a one hopper to him. He took the ball, made a face, shook it like he was disgusted on how much water was on the ball and threw a strike to first for the out.
 

colbert17

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100 % of MLB pitchers couldn't go against an NFL OL.

Matt could hit, we would go to batting cages and as the arm was coming down I would tell him; "Pull the ball, or hit up the middle, hit to right. etc just before the pitch. He could do it well.

Hoops he was the PG. Ball in his hands was like a yo yo . Hoops pick up games at Illinois gym, you ever see a 6'3", 310 lb point guard ?
James Harden?? :WooHoo:
 

BigWill

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Renaldo Nehemiah he proved it multiple times on Superstars!!!
When Renaldo broke in at WR with 49ers and Bill Walsh. He held the WR in the 110 M high and was the first man to run sub 13 seconds.

Walsh asked him how fast he ran the 40.
Renaldo answered, "4.6 Coach"
Walsh said that isn't fast I've got guys that can do that.
Renaldo replied; "Over high hurdles ?"
 

G- RUnit

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Are you saying Winfield and Debusschere are "modern" athletes who played multiple sports?

Just when I think this board can't get any older (JK - you old guys are great 😉)

Nobody has even mentioned a Decathlete except for Kaitlyn Jenner in a joking manner.
Jim Thorpe? Young Grasshopper!
Who won the first Superstars? Bob Seagren! Ronaldo Nehemiah! And don't you dare forget Kyle Rote Jr!
 
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BigWill

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Superstars;

Joe Frazier; Military Press; tried to press a too big weight and almost decapitated himself.
Swim; Obviously couldn't swim and looked to be drowning. "STAND UP CHAMP !" was
the cry as the pool was about 4 feet deep.
 
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rudad02

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The day I quit football at UNC, I called my Dad and told him to mail down my Rawlings Mickey Mantle glove. I was going to play Bases for UNC. A couple of the guys played both sports down there at that time. I had watched them practice and my dorm was in left field and I knew I could play there with no question. One of them actually made the Yankees later as a relief pitcher and I could hit him all day in BP down there in Chapel Hill. Tom Buskey was the pitcher.

The next day, an Assistant Coach at Syracuse called me and told me not to attend any classes at UNC and that Syracuse was starting practice and classes that week. To get up there and it was all set to play football up there. Admissions all set. I knew 6 or so guys on the roster from my 2 years at Manlius. So Dad got me a plane ticket rather than sending me my glove.

My first practice at Cuse, I was on the O scout team. One play had me blocking down on the DT.
Scout team Coach askes me can I make the block. This is Dennis and he's first team All East (or whatever the confer was at the time.), I looked at his stance and knew I could block him. I did and it was no problem. Then they set up a blocking drill with me on the LB'ers. I blocked all of them.
Head Coach Ben had been brought over to watch. After the drills he says to the team; 'We haven't had anybody blocking like that since John Mackey was here."

I was accepted as a member of the team.

Probably should have waited for my Mickey Mantle glove and played center field in the Bronx.
Great story.
 

BigWill

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That would have made TWO Maddox's to play Centerfield for the Yankees.....
 

bethlehemfan

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Superstars;

Joe Frazier; Military Press; tried to press a too big weight and almost decapitated himself.
Swim; Obviously couldn't swim and looked to be drowning. "STAND UP CHAMP !" was
the cry as the pool was about 4 feet deep.
Frazier supposedly said Mark spitz was one tough m’fer. Lol.
 

yesrutgers01

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We didn’t get to see Gretzky play othe sports but what he did in a sport like Hockey rivals Ruth...
 
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