Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Athletes - Last Names Starting with "F" - Post 1980

"F" is for Football.  NFL players grab four of the top six slots on this list, but will they capture #1?  Also included in this list is my first tandem entry.

10. Prince and Cecil Fielder (MLB)
9.  Carlton Fisk (MLB)
8.  Sergei Fedorov (NHL)
7.  George Foreman (Boxing)
6.  Dan Fouts (NFL)
5.  Nick Faldo (Golf)
4.  Larry Fitzgerald (NFL)
3.  Marshall Faulk (NFL)
2.  Brett Favre (NFL)
1.  Roger Federer (Tennis)

Federer nabs the top spot as arguably the top tennis player in the past 30 years.  Favre chimes in a close second, but has enough marks on his storied career to keep him from #1.  Six majors, including 3 green jackets allowed Faldo to break-up the NFL party.  Finally, since it is my list, I will combine the Fielders into one, giant, home-run hitting entry.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Top Athletes - Last Names Starting with "E" - Post 1980

"E" is for effortless, as a large contingent of my next list made things looks so easy, even though we all know they are not. 

10) Dale Ellis (NBA)
9)  Dennis Eckersley (MLB)
8)  Stefan Edberg (Tennis)
7)  Alex English (NBA)
6)  Ernie Els (Golf)
5)  Chris Evert (Tennis)
4)  Patrick Ewing (NBA)
3)  Julius Erving (NBA)
2)  Dale Earnhardt (NASCAR)
1)  John Elway (NFL)

Arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time edges out arguably one of the greatest drivers of all-time for the top spot on my list.  This is an instant where comparing sports is so difficult and the mainstream sport probably won out here.  A couple of NBA icons come next, with Dr. J preceding a ringless Ewing.  In the defense of Ewing, he had one of the top 3 greatest college basketball careers of my sports lifetime (Laettner, Jordan), playing in 3 NCAA Championship games and winning one.  The last spot went to the smooth shooting Ellis over the rifle arm of Dwight Evans.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top Athletes - Last Names Starting with "D" - Post 1980

"D" is for professional.  I know, it isn't, until you see this list full of consummate professionals in their sports:

10) Brian Dawkins (NFL)
9)  Carlos Delgado (MLB)
8)  Terrell Davis (NFL)
7)  Kevin Durant (NBA)
6)  Joe Dumars (NBA)
5)  Tony Dorsett (NFL)
4)  Andre Dawson (MLB)
3)  Eric Dickerson (NFL)
2)  Clyde Drexler (NBA)
1)  Tim Duncan (NBA)

#1 was a "slam dunk", or should I say "bank shot", for this list.  Duncan is the only player who would be considered Top 10 in their respective sports.  While Dickerson has the single-season rushing record, Drexler sustained a longer and ultimately more successful career.  Durant may one day find himself near the top of this list if his career arc continues.  This list is also exclusively NBA/NFL/MLB.  The closest I could get was Lindsay Davenport, who ultimately did not win enough big matches to displace the others.

Top Athletes - Last Names Starting with "C" - Post 1980

"C" is for cookie, that's good enough for me.  The third letter of the alphabet surprisingly lacked in the overall talent level of the first two letters, but the following ten athletes were good enough for me to make the list:

10) Natalie Coughlin (Swimming)
9)  Paul Coffey (NHL)
8)  Sam Cassell (NBA)
7)  Miguel Cabrera (MLB)
6)  Vince Carter (NBA)
5)  Joe Carter (MLB)
4)  Jimmy Connors (Tennis)
3)  Sidney Crosby (NHL)
2)  Cris Carter (NFL)
1)  Roger Clemens (MLB)

At the top, I felt no other choice but to go with an alleged doper.  Clemens career, despite the steroid allegations, dwarfs anyone else on this list.  Cris easily won the best Carter award, but Joe vs Vince is another good debate.  I went with the one who was a post-season hero.  Connors may have ranked higher if he had done more damage post-1980.  Coughlin rounds out the list with a decorated Olympic career, beating out the likes of Fred Couples, Jose Canseco and Terry Cummings.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Top Athletes - Last Names Starting with "B" - Post 1980

The second letter of the alphabet gets a bit more intriguing.  Some of the all-time greats in their sports are included in this list and the depth of this list shows.  When there is no room for the Killer Bees of Houston or a record-setting, Super Bowl-winning quarterback, that is very apparent.  I bring you, the letter 'B":

10)  Boris Becker (Tennis)
9)  Raymond Borque (NHL)
8)  George Brett (MLB)
7)  Usain Bolt (Track & Field)
6)  Charles Barkley (NBA)
5)  Martin Brodeur (NHL)
4)  Barry Bonds (MLB)
3)  Tom Brady (NFL)
2)  Larry Bird (NBA)
1)  Kobe Bryant (NBA)

How about that for a Top 4?  Barry moves to the back of this group for one obvious reason.  You can't go wrong with the other three, but Kobe has the five rings to three each for Tom and Larry.  I would argue Brodeur as the greatest goalie of my lifetime.  Bolt is kind of the Armstrong of this list, coming from another fairly obscure sport that actually is spotlighted only once every four years.  He is the World's Fastest Man though.  Becker gets the last spot, beating out the likes of (in no particular order) Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Drew Brees, Seve Ballesteros, Champ Bailey and Derrick Brooks.

Top Athletes With Last Names Starting with "A" - Post 1980

Let the cross-sport debates begin.  Jabesblog will run these lists for 25 letters of the alphabet (excluding X).  Included in the list are both male and female athletes (but no horses).  Sports include football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis, boxing, NASCAR, Olympics and cycling.  I do not pretend to pay enough attention to soccer to properly assess those athletes. 

As I have begun to compile my lists, here are some initial observations before I reveal the first list.  When mixing sports, it adds a different level of difficulty than just ranking the top point guards from one sport.  How do you compare two of the all-time greats in two different sports?  Provides excellent debate material.  And just wait until the letter "M".  Then there is the performance enhancing drug/off the field incident component.  How do I factor that in, if at all?  It is tough to ignore, and therefore I see it as more of a tie-breaker.  It is a struggle though, even within a sport, such as Manny Ramirez vs Cal Ripken.  Finally, there is my Post-1980 cut-off, which I am considering soft for this list.  If the player had a great impact post 1980, their impact pre-1980 may also factor somewhat in their ranking.  Jack Nicklaus is the prime example.  I have a lot of great memories of Jack Nicklaus, but much of his damage was done pre-1980.  The Golden Bear will still be a big factor in the "N" list.  So without further ado, here are the Top Athletes With Last Names Starting with "A" - Post 1980:

10.  Mark Aguirre (NBA)
9.  Carmelo Anthony (NBA)
8.  Shaun Alexander (NFL)
7.  Ray Allen (NBA)
6.  Marcus Allen (NFL)
5.  Roberto Alomar (MLB)
4.  Lance Armstrong (Cycling)
3.  Troy Aikman (NFL)
2.  Andre Agassi (Tennis)
1.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA)

This list fell into place pretty well.  The selection of Kareem as #1 was a no-brainer, despite half his career being played before 1980.  He was still a huge factor in winning 5 championships in the 1980's and became the NBA's all-time leading scorer in that time.  The placement of Armstrong may have been most difficult, as he is from the most obscure of sports and really was only spotlighted for 3 weeks each year, not to mention the on-going doping saga.  One fun debate might be the greater Allen, Marcus or Ray?  Just please no one say Woody.

Jabesblog is back!!

I'm back.  After a post NCAA tournament and NFL draft hiatus, Jabesblog is back with some new material.  Here is what is upcoming from Jabelsblog...

1)  More sports debates covering my sports lifetime (post 1980) in the form of Jabesblog lists, including the top MLB players by position and top athletes in an alphabetical context.
2)  Some random thoughts blogs covering current sports topics
3)  Coming this fall, weekly Wisconsin Badger, NFL and College Football blogs.

As always, I appreciate any feedback or banter on my blog.  Feel free to comment or email.