Blabe: Five who could
It's common practice for sports fans to compare great athletes from the past to modern day players.
In most instances, everyone agrees that today's athletes are bigger, stronger, faster and better trained than anyone in past generations. But for the sake of argument, I would like to give you five athletes that could play in any generation and be great.
Jim Brown — Cleveland Browns running back
Sporting News called him the “greatest professional football player ever.” Maybe because he led the NFL in rushing in eight of the nine years he played. A physical specimen at 6-foot-2 and 232 pounds, Brown was a modern day running back with speed, strength and moves rarely duplicated in modern times. Brown was not only a great running back, he was also named, “the greatest lacrosse player ever.” His talents in college didn't stop at two sports. He averaged 11.3 points a game in basketball for Syracuse University. By the way, he also ran the sprints, threw the discuss and high jumped for the Orangemen.
Ted Williams — Boston Red Sox outfielder
Sometimes called the greatest hitter who ever lived, Williams hit for a career average of .344 with 521 home runs. That in itself is amazing, but Williams served his country for five years during his prime. He was a decorated Marine aviator during World War II and Korea. Williams eyesight was 20-10 in both eyes. He is the last player to ever hit .400 for a season. The “Splendid Splinter” made hitting a baseball a science. After retiring from baseball, he managed the Washington Senators. It was baseball lore that Williams could hit any for the Senators pitching at age 52.
Jesse Owens — track and field
Owens is best known for his four Olympic gold medals in 1936. He won gold in the 100 and 200 meter, the long jump and the 4 x 100 meter relay. What made Owens a track star that could excell today was the fact he set his records on a cinder field track. In a span of 45 minutes at Ohio State, Owens set three world records and tied a fourth. His long jump of 26 feet, 8 1/4 inches was a record that lasted for 25 years. He tied the 100 yard dash record and set world records in the 220 sprint and hurdles.
Jack Nicklaus — golfer
Nicklaus is the holder of 18 major titles, 20 if you count his two U.S. amateur wins. He is considered by many to be the greatest golfer ever. Nicklaus' power is legendary, being able to out drive most of his opponents. Upon watching a young Jack Nicklaus, golfing legend Bobby Jones commented, “You play a game with which I am not familiar.” Nicklaus also had 19 runners-up in major tournaments. A poll was taken in the 1970's that asked pro golfers if they had a 10-foot putt for their life, who would they want putting? Eighty-three-percent said Jack Nicklaus.
Wilt Chamberlain — NBA center
“Wilt the Stilt” was perhaps the most prolific scorer in NBA history. He was the only man to score 100 points in an NBA game. More impressive was the fact that he averaged 30 points and 20 rebounds a game not just one year but for nine seasons. Chamberlain is the only man in history to average over 40 and 50 points in a season. His dominance in college caused the NCAA to make rule changes so he wouldn't completely overshadow basketball. At 7-foot-1, Chamberlain not only played basketball but shot putted 56 feet, triple jumped 42 feet and won the Big Eight high jump championship three years in a row at Kansas University.
I believe the five athletes mentioned are great at any generation. If it leads to debate, then his article has served its purpose. Hope you enjoyed my list of five — I'm sure you have a few of your own.