Who Wore it Best? 59-50

Photo: Dr. Odd

The dog days are over, the dog days are done, and “Who Wore it Best” has returned. In this edition, we’re checking out the GOATs of the 50’s.

59 – London Fletcher

Photo: Pinterest

One of the most underrated players in NFL history. Fletcher racked up 2,031 tackles, four Pro Bowls, and a Super Bowl ring in 16 seasons. He also never missed a game, which is incredible considering the beating an NFL linebacker takes season in and season out.

Honorable Mentions: Luke Kuechly, Carlos Carrasco, Jack Ham

58 – Jack Lambert

This man was MEAN. One of the stalwarts in the Steel Curtain Defense of the 70’s, Lambert racked up pretty much any award that was available. Six time first team All-Pro, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Papelbon

57 – Johan Santana

Johan Santana had some nasty stuff. Over his 12 year career, he won 139 games while maintaining a career 3.20 ERA, was a two-time Cy Young winner, and tacked on a Gold Glove in 2007. “No-han” threw an unbelievable 134-pitch no hitter in 2012.

Honorable Mention: Rickey Jackson

56 – Lawrence Taylor

Photo: Seriable

Lawrence Taylor was an absolute DAWG. We’ve gushed over LT in previous blogs, but he’s that good that we’re going to do it again. Two Super Bowls, an MVP, three Defensive Player of the Year awards, and eight first team All-Pros are just a fraction of what Taylor accomplished over his incredible career.

Honorable Mention: Mark Buehrle

55 – Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo was way more than his infamous finger wag; he was a defensive stud. Mutombo lead the NBA in blocks three times and rebounds twice. He made eight All-Star games, won Defensive Player of the Year four times, and has his number retired by two different franchises in the Nuggets and Hawks.

Honorable Mentions: Junior Seau, Orel Hershiser

54 – Brian Urlacher

Brian Urlacher was the epitome of a Chicago Bears middle linebacker. He played his entire 13-year career in Chicago; tallying 1,361 tackles, two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, and four first team All-Pros. The eight time Pro Bowler was also named to the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.

Honorable Mentions:
Goose Gossage, Horace Grant, Randy White, Zach Thomas

53 – Artis Gilmore

Photo: NBA.com

Artis Gilmore was a stud in both the ABA and NBA. If you combine his career between both leagues, he was the Rookie of the Year, an MVP, made 11 All-Star games, and scored a shade under 25,000 points.

Honorable Mentions: Bobby Abreu, Mick Tingelhoff

52 – Ray Lewis

Photo: Zimbio

Say what you will about the overzealous speeches, or don’t say anything about the off field issues, but Ray Lewis could flat out ball. Two Super Bowls (including MVP in one), two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, and a seven time first team All-Pro.

Honorable Mentions: CC Sabathia, Patrick Willis, Clay Matthews

51 – Randy Johnson

The Big Unit! Easily one of the most dominant pitchers we’ve seen. Johnson ended his 22-year career with a 3.29 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 303 wins, a perfect game, one no hitter, five Cy Young trophies, and was the MVP of one of the biggest World Series upsets when the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in 2001.

Honorable Mention: Dick Butkus

50 – David Robinson

The very rare story of a service academy athlete becoming one of the best to do it in professional sports. Robinson reached the rank of lieutenant during his three years of service in the Navy, a great achievement. He wasn’t a bad basketball player either; in three separate seasons he lead the NBA in points, rebounds, and blocks. The Admiral also won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and two championships.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Singletary, Corey Crawford

A lot of solid athletes in the 50’s; strong showing by football and baseball. A severe lack of hockey here; will they recover in the 40’s? We’ll have to wait and see…

Who Wore it Best? 69-60

Photo: Dr. Odd

Guess who’s back? Our “Who Wore It Best” series, that’s who. We last checked in on who wore numbers 79-70 best, now we dive into the 60’s.

69 – Jared Allen

Photo: Celebrity Net Worth

Not a huge field of choices here, but a nice selection. Jared Allen played for the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, and Panthers during an above-average 11 year NFL career. He made First Team All-Pro four times, lead the NFL twice in sacks, and made five Pro Bowls.

Honorable Mention: N/A

68 – Jaromir Jagr

Photo: CBS Sports

The flow is enough to be included on our list. That head lettuce is a thing of beauty. Jagr wasn’t half bad in his 24 seasons in professional hockey either: most career game winning goals (135), five Art Ross trophies, and two Stanley Cups.

Honorable Mention: Will Shields

67 – Francisco Córdova

Photo: Rum Bunter

Remember this guy? Cordova gets the nod for pitching nine innings in a what ended up being a 10 inning no hitter for the Pirates against the Astros on June 12, 1997.

Honorable Mention: N/A

66 – Mario Lemieux

Surprisingly strong category here at 66. Lemieux takes it home as one of the best hockey players to ever do it. In fact, Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are the only two players who occupy the list of top ten seasons for points and assists in a season. Pretty impressive company to keep.

Honorable Mentions: Ray Nitschke, Yasiel Puig

65 – James Paxton

Paxton may very well end up being the youngest athlete to make our list. However, “Big Maple” has earned his spot at 65 for recording a no-hitter for the Mariners in 2018.

Honorable Mention: Erik Karlsson

64 – Randall McDaniel

Photo: eBid

McDaniel was a stalwart offensive guard for 13 seasons, mostly with the Vikings. McDaniel started 220 of his career 222 games, made 12 Pro Bowls, and is a member of NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Honorable Mention: N/A

63 – Gene Upshaw

Another hard nosed, badass, old school NFL lineman. Upshaw played 14 years for the Raiders, scooping up three First Team All-Pro selections, five Second Team All-Pro selections, and two Super Bowl rings.

Honorable Mention: Brad Marchand

62 – Jim Langer

Jim Langer was the center for the only undefeated team in NFL history, the 1972 Dolphins. Langer won two Super Bowls and was a three time First Team All-Pro.

Honorable Mention: N/A

61 – Liván Hernández

Who else loved this absolute unit growing up? His career numbers aren’t stellar, but anyone who can hang around the majors for 17 seasons is impressive. Hernandez is a two time All-Star who won a ring as well as World Series MVP honors with the Marlins in 1997.

Honorable Mention: Rick Nash

60 – Dallas Keuchel

Not a lot of meat on the 60 bone, but a fine choice here. Keuchel has established himself as one of the steadiest pitchers in baseball since entering the bigs with the Astros in 2012. He has won four Gold Gloves, the 2015 Cy Young, and a World Series ring in 2017.

Honorable Mention: N/A

Another edition of “Who Wore It Best,” done and dusted. Nice representative spread in the the 60’s for football, hockey, and baseball. Total choke job from basketball here; maybe we’ll see some stronger effort in the 50’s?

Dear Baseball: Welcome Back, We Love You

Dear Baseball,

You made it. You’re back. Every year, Spring rolls around and you reappear in our lives just when we’re all at our wit’s end with Winter.

Your debut is upon us, and league-wide hope is at a premium. Spring Training has wrapped, and all thirty teams have traveled back home to start the long, arduous road to a pennant. The weather is starting to turn; summer is creeping around the corner, and with it, thoughts of cold beer and hot dogs dance in our heads.

Opening Day is a time and feeling unlike any other. It’s like waking up in the middle of the night thinking your alarm’s about to go off, to find you’ve only been asleep for an hour. It’s like taking out your contacts after a long day, or hitting every green light when you’re running late. It’s hard to exactly describe it, but have you ever found a $20 bill in your pants that you forgot about? That’s what it feels like having you back.

From Wrigley to Fenway, Yankee Stadium to Petco Park, let the hum of fastballs and pop of catcher’s mitts fill the air for the next seven months. Let the home runs fly out of Coors Field, pop ups die in the acres of foul territory at RingCentral Coliseum, and Bernie Brewer take all of the home run slides his heart desires.

Who cares if the pace of play is a little slow? Who doesn’t want to to piss in a urinal trough, pay $12 for a mini helmet full of ice cream that melts in five minutes, or step in dropped neon yellow nacho cheese while awkwardly scootching past eight of your fellow attendees all while squeezing into undersized seats in 98 degree weather?

We definitely don’t get embarrassed when our favorite players get injured in hilarious ways while playing a noncontact sport. We don’t care that you make a bunch of old men squeeze into baseball uniforms, or that your Hall of Fame voting is incredibly flawed, or that your fields of play aren’t equal in size like every other legitimate professional sport. No reason to complain about the fact that the DH rule isn’t universal, unwritten rules are dumb, and that hitting at this point is either home runs or strikeouts.

Baseball, we could not be happier that you are back.

Love,

Baseball Fans Everywhere

Sunday State of Mind: February 22nd-February 28th

We have finally reached the end of a brutal February. What happened in sports during the last week of this snow-filled month? We recap in this week’s SSM.

A single car wreck rocked the golf universe
Tiger Woods’ accident luckily could have been worse
Today we had a nice tribute after a week full of dread
Golfers at the Workday Championship, wearing Sunday Tiger Red

Rooting for a guy who has been through absolute hell
Teammates once again with Johnny Manziel
Another chapter in the Josh Gordon story
A hopeful step to a return to NFL glory

Bryce Harper came to Spring Training with a hot take for all
He says the NL East “is the best division in baseball”
Top to bottom he may be right, the division is a beast
What about the other league? An argument for the AL East?

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season looking bleak
As of this weekend they’re on a seven game losing streak
In a long and loss-filled season, someone has to give them shine
Unfortunately for the ‘Wolves, plenty more losses down the line

On the other side of the spectrum, the Nets won eight in a row
Their last win came on Thursday when they beat up on Orlando
But the Mavs came into Brooklyn, and the win streak was no more
Dallas took it to Brooklyn, 115-98 was the final score

Sunday State of Mind: November 9th-November 15th

Photo: Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

Another weekend come and gone…let’s reflect on the week that was in this weeks SSM.

The Miami Marlins, shattering the ceiling
The team has hired the first female GM, an absolute awesome feeling
Kim Ng has been hired to run the show for the Marlins
Here’s hoping it all goes well, and she leads the team to many wins

The 2020 Masters was as always a treat
Dustin Johnson, simply could not be beat
Yes DJ took home his first green jacket
He’s the #1 golfer in the world, in his own bracket

The Bills and Cardinals, holy shit
Kyler to DeAndre, Cards didn’t quit
On the last extra point, the Cards took a knee
An incredible cover, for those who had Buffalo +3

The Tompa Bay Bucs got back on track
TB12 with four touchdowns, put the team on his back
Ronald Jones went yard with a 98-yard score
The Buccaneers are gelling more and more

Sunday State of Mind: July 27th-August 2nd

Photo: Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

Happy Sunday, dear readers…gently glide into your Sunday evening with this week’s SSM.

Bad news first, in the MLB
COVID is spreading, Miami and St. Louie
The Marlins and Cardinals, positive tests aplenty
Cardinals with six, Marlins with upwards of twenty

The list of NFL opt outs continues to grow
The pandemic drags on, and players won’t show
The Lions previewed, what may be the future of locker rooms
Hopefully this and other precautions work, as football season looms

Some non-pandemic news, from the NFL
Patrick Mahomes roots in KC further fell
The Super Bowl MVP, now part owner of the Royals
Ten year football contract and baseball team ownership, can’t say the man’s not loyal

The NBA is back, and in full swing
Full schedule and no positive testing, a beautiful thing
It seems in the bubble, things are going pretty well
The Association is thriving, while baseball is going to hell