ESPN list of top 10 "all around" athletes of all time - Do you agree with selections?

Maybe I’m missing something, but why is Jordan on the list? I know he’s the greatest basketballer who ever lived, and that he played a bit of minor league baseball, and that he’s an above averrage golfer, but it seems to me that the point of the list is to recognise athletes who have dominated in more than one arena.

Otherwise why isn’t Pele there?

Hardly identical. I grant you that Jackson did have an exceptional arm. But if you look at the difference between Total Chances, Errors and Fielding Precentage, you see that he could throw it, but couldn’t *catch it * that well.

You know what? I was looking at total errors. Their percentages aren’t even close.

WTF? No Mickey Mantle?

mailman, I wouln’t put Mantle up there before any of the named baseball players, especially if Ruth isn’t in there (or Ripken, for that matter).

An honorable mention that went unmentioned: Ricky Henderson

Having the best arm in left field is like being the best-scoring goalie.

Jackson had a good arm, but his career high in oufield assists was 11, which isn’t anything special. Ichiro’s arm is ridiculously overrated, so that’s not a good comparison for Jackson.

Jackson’s problem was in catching fly balls. He made twice as many errors as the average outfielder and that’s with him not being very good at getting to them in the first place.

Bo Jackson’s stats.

Compare those fielding numbers to Ichiro’s, who has one of the best arms right now. They’re nearly identical.

I remember Bo Jackson as being an outstanding defensive outfielder prior to the football injury. He used his great speed to get to balls that others might watch bounce from 15 feet away. Often, defensive statistics in baseball penalize an infielder with exceptional range or a fast outfielder because those players manage to get their gloves on a ball that others couldn’t reach.

Jackson also won several state dash championships while running track in high school, and was a winning member of Auburn University’s track team when he was at Auburn.

Also, wasn’t Michael Jordan a high jumper in track as well as being a basketball star?

But the statistics don’t support that; Jackson didn’t make any more plays than the average left fielder. I don’t have any advanced fielding numbers in front of me, but his basic numbers look horrible at first blush.

I saw him play, and to my eyes he was obviously not good. He did have great speed; his problem was in his fundamentals. He didn’t get a good jump on the ball and, IIRC, had a habit of taking his first step in when he should have taken it out on long flies. He didn’t always take a straight route to the ball. Speed doesn’t always help you if you took the first two steps in the wrong direction. I’m not saying he was as bad as Kevin Reimer or Dave Kingman, but he was probably about the same as George Bell.

Jackson also won several state dash championships while running track in high school, and was a winning member of Auburn University’s track team when he was at Auburn.

Also, wasn’t Michael Jordan a high jumper in track as well as being a basketball star?

The Mick–the greatest switch hitter ever; he could run, hit, steal, throw; he had the fastest first step to base than anyone, EVER. 536 career home runs in an injury-plagued career, and in a hungover laden career. All fueled by cigarettes–smoked cigs in the dugout between innings; just a country boy from Oklahoma. Ran with good company–Whity Ford, Billy Martin, et. al.

His most awesome season…54? MVP–mind blowing stats, all season. He just pounded it. Played centerfield and caught everything anybody hit near him.

He was the Mick. I humbly submit that he deserves mention long before Dave Winfield or Bo Jackson.

Bo Jackson, maybe. But Winfield was drafted in THREE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.

I think hockey and basketball are good examples where, if you are dominant, then you are a well-rounded athlete, there are many more skills you have to master compared to Baseball and American football (at least some positions).

You’re right, it’s not really deliberate. It’s just the result of a culture that is so parochial and inward-looking that it often fails even to recognize that the rest of the world exists.

This culture, which is perhaps most prevalent in the realm of sports, then expects the rest of the world to “recalibrate his meter” to suit its own insularity.

Not from what I’ve read. He was a pretty studly guy, which given his drinking habits says something.

One of my complaints about this list is that espn analysts are really qualified to judge the ability of a man like Heiden. The shorter events were obviously sprints. The longest event took less than 15 minutes, which makes it comparable to an elite athlete running over 5K (say around 3.5 miles). Not only has no ice skater matched that accomplishment, no track athlete has ever matched that feat. It is a rare runner who competes at the 400 and 800, which is generally considered the transition from sprint to distance. On top of that, he was a professional cyclist. IIRC, there was a Czech who won the Olympic marathon and the 10 K, but that is as close as you come.

How do you compare a Lance Armstrong, who wasn’t a bad triathlete, besides being a dominant cyclist? For that matter, triathletes are pretty impressive. I can tell you that just taking up swimming has slowed my running times down by 10 s/mile. Swimming and running require totally different physiologies. (Upper body mass vs toothpick upper body, supple, flexible body vs. stiff body, etc.)

Then you have your volleyball players, table tennis players, etc. And how about Jeremy Bloom? (He has a silver medal in a snow sport, and is a great punt returner for CU, besides being a model.)

I agree with RickJay. Choosing Gordie Howe over Wayne Gretzky (or, to a lesser extent, Mario Lemieux) is an absolute travesty.