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Is There a Comparable to Howe in Any Other Sport?

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Old
11-23-2012, 09:04 PM
  #1
DisgruntledGoat
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Is There a Comparable to Howe in Any Other Sport?

So I got to thinking: Gordie Howe, regardless of where you rank him on an all-time list, was pretty unique in hockey history. I think most around here would agree that there simply is no one who comes close to matching Mr Hockey's combination of all-around play, consistency and longevity.

I mean, it is really remarkable when you think about it. This is a guy that is arguably the most complete player who ever played: a big, strong, tough, hard-skating offensive dynamo who could fight, check, score, make plays, and play defense well enough to fill on the blueline. Heck, he could even switch hands and shoot either left or right if he wanted.

And if all that wasn't enough, he also played at an incredibly high level for an incredibly long time (if there's a more impressive record than Howe's 20 consecutive years in the top 5 of scoring, I don't know what it is).

So since we know that no one else in hockey approaches Howe's combo of all-around play, consistency and durablity, my question is this: is there anyone in any other sport that can lay claim to similar such all-around dominance over such a long period of time? I don't really follow any other sports so I honestly don't know, and I'm curious to see what others think.

To be clear, here are the qualities that make Howe unique in hockey (IMO), and which we're looking for in another athlete:


All-around game- Must be above-average to exceptional in all or most facets of his (or her) particular sport.

Consistency- Pretty self-explanatory. No injuries, no slumps, no off years.

Longevity- They don't necessarily need to be their sports all-time games played leader like Howe was, but they need to have played at a high-level for an exceptionally long period of time.


Thoughts?


Last edited by DisgruntledGoat: 11-23-2012 at 09:17 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old
11-23-2012, 09:17 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Sir Stanley Matthews

Consider Sir Stanley Matthews :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Matthews

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Old
11-23-2012, 09:26 PM
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Killion
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Satchel Paige in baseball, however, he played all over the place, minors, Negro Leagues etc, and I wouldnt exactly compare his career to Howes... There was a guy named John Whittemore who was still competing in Track Events at 104, but he was never any better than Varsity calibre so he's out... Martina Navratilova played until she was like 49 or something, but no bodychecking, rough & tumble in tennis.... Stanley Matthews in Soccer, but mostly Div II so nope.... cant think of anyone.

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Old
11-23-2012, 09:34 PM
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Evincar
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Barry Sanders and Hank Aaron. Cant think of anyone else atm.

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Old
11-23-2012, 09:37 PM
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JackSlater
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in basketball. Extremely high peak, exceptional all around skills for a centre and unparalleled longevity in basketball. Kareem was an elite player for ~17 NBA seasons, and there are some years when he played for UCLA where he was probably among the world's best.

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11-23-2012, 09:42 PM
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Canadiens1958
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George Blanda

George Blanda - 26 seasons in the NFL/AFL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Blanda

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11-23-2012, 09:57 PM
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BubbaBoot
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Ted Williams in baseball. Took time off basically to fight in WW2 and the Korean War...other than that he was a feisty SOB who was consistantly one of the best hitters in the history of the game.

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar in basketball. 20 yrs.
- 6 times MVP
- 1 Playoffs MVP
- 6 championships
- 2nd overall in games played
- 1st in mins. played
- 1st overall in FGs (5 times 1st / 11 times in top 5)
- 5th overall in FT attempts
- 4th overall in rebounds (8 times in top 5)
- 3rd overall in blocked shots (4 times 1st / 9 times in top 5)
- 1st overall in points (3 times 1st / 9 times in top 5)
- 13th in FG% (1 time 1st / 15 times in top 5)
- 34th in mins/game (8 times in top 5)
- 17th in points/game (2 times 1st / 10 times in top 5)
- 28th in rebounds / game (1 time 1st / 9 times in top 5)
- 8th in blocks/game (4 times 1st / 9 times in top 5)

- would Michael Jordan be the Phil Esposito of the NBA?

Hard to say about football since the positions are so specialized.

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Old
11-23-2012, 09:59 PM
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BM67
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Perhaps Ty Cobb.

Played 24 years. Won 11 batting titles. Hit .316 or higher every year but his first, including .323 in his last year. Career .366 hitter. Led the league in runs, hits, doubles, triples, HR, RBI, and SB.

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Old
11-23-2012, 10:02 PM
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The Zetterberg Era
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Another guy in Detroit we have been lucky Al Kaline.

22 Seasons
.297
3,007 hits
399 HR
1,583 RBIs
18 All star games
10 Gold Gloves
Batting championship

There was nothing he wasn't good at to exceptional in when looking at all aspects of the game.

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11-23-2012, 10:11 PM
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Ohashi_Jouzu
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I'll throw out another baseball example, and say Derek Jeter. I hate the guy with a passion, but he just completed his 18 season, has garnered substantial all-star, golden glove, and MVP consideration, has been pretty healthy for the vast majority of his career, has hit 200 +/- 20 hits in just about every healthy season, and is a proven playoff performer. 0.313 career batter (0.308 in the playoffs), 1200 RBIs, almost 350 stolen bases, top level offense, top level defense, long term durability, rediculous aggregate totals, significant post season success (team and individual)... pretty much all the criteria, right? Doesn't have the MVP trophies, though, which is a concern I guess.

And depending on how long Pujols goes (and if he rebounds a bit), he could be another.


Last edited by Ohashi_Jouzu: 11-23-2012 at 10:16 PM.
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11-23-2012, 10:22 PM
  #11
mobilus
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Nolan Ryan.

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11-23-2012, 10:23 PM
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Long Duk Dong
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I'm not sure using your criteria, but Nolan Ryan reminds me of Howe a lot. Maybe Dale Earnhardt too.

^^^
I like this guy


Last edited by Long Duk Dong: 11-23-2012 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Added Earnhardt
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Old
11-23-2012, 10:24 PM
  #13
thom
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I know golf is not other sports but 6 time player of the year Tom Watson even at 63yrs is a world class player.At 53yrs playing with a bad hip and a dying caddie lead after the 1st round of the us open then in 2009 with a new hip should have won the british open.Then in 2010 finished in the top 20 at the masters a 7400 course.And a few months ago made the cut at the british open .

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11-23-2012, 10:31 PM
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Ohashi_Jouzu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thom View Post
I know golf is not other sports but 6 time player of the year Tom Watson even at 63yrs is a world class player.At 53yrs playing with a bad hip and a dying caddie lead after the 1st round of the us open then in 2009 with a new hip should have won the british open.Then in 2010 finished in the top 20 at the masters a 7400 course.And a few months ago made the cut at the british open .
Much respect for Tom Watson.

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11-23-2012, 10:36 PM
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SidGenoMario
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11-23-2012, 11:19 PM
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reckoning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM67 View Post
Perhaps Ty Cobb.

Played 24 years. Won 11 batting titles. Hit .316 or higher every year but his first, including .323 in his last year. Career .366 hitter. Led the league in runs, hits, doubles, triples, HR, RBI, and SB.
I don't know a lot about Cobb's defensive play, but as far as maintaining a consistent high-level quality of offence throughout his career, he's probably the best comparison.

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11-24-2012, 12:53 AM
  #17
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Hank Aaron or Willie Mays

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11-24-2012, 01:15 AM
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How about Lothar Matthäus? Great as a midfielder and still successful later as a sweeper. Only 21 years as a pro though.

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11-24-2012, 05:31 AM
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Theokritos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Consider Sir Stanley Matthews
Good call considering longevity. As for completeness, from what I've read Matthews was all offence and doesn't come close to Howe's two-way game. Offensively he was very good all-around though. But Howe was also a physical and nasty player while Matthews wasn't anything like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Stanley Matthews in Soccer, but mostly Div II
He mostly played in the First Division.

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11-24-2012, 07:38 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Cy Young / Pele / Phil Niekro / Greg Maddux

Consider Cy Young:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pl...oungcy01.shtml

Pele - most impressive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pel%C3%A9

Phil Niekro:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pl...iekrph01.shtml

Greg Maddux:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pl...addugr01.shtml

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11-24-2012, 07:51 AM
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Big Phil
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Lots of good picks here and some I thought of myself and agree with. Football is a tough one so we'll start with the other sports.

I agree with Kareem on this one. Very high peak, played for a long time and won a lot of championships. Also Kareem is never off of anyone's top 5 list of NBA players and neither is Howe.

Ted Williams is another interesting one. Would have had higher numbers without the two Wars. The only knock on Ted is that he never won a championship while Howe did. And while Williams was the best at what he did (hitter, HR hitter) during his time he doesn't match that in defensive player or baserunning.

Cobb might just be the best example. Played a long, long time similar to Howe. Never won a championship though which hurts but was good at every facet of the game. He was just hated by everyone, unlike Howe.

Hank Aaron isn't a bad choice, but if I would pick another one in Baseball it is Willie Mays. Mays, like Aaron played forever, but I think he was better all around and could beat you in so many ways, like Howe. Mays won a World Series once so at least he could win.

Hmmm. The NFL. Barry Sanders hung them up too early at 31 to be compared to Howe. Same with Jim Brown. If any running back compares better to Howe it is Walter Payton. I don't know, Jerry Rice perhaps? Played an insane amount of football in his career up until 40. Won championships like Howe, was a big part of doing it. Could catch the ball, could run well after the catch and had great anticipation. Also, while more people would probably put Montana as the best NFLer the truth is a few would still put Rice in there which falls in line with the Gretzky/Howe train of thought.

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Old
11-24-2012, 08:05 AM
  #22
Canadiens1958
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Nfl

NFL if we consider seasons played and snaps then the linemen and linebackers dominate:

Brian Matthews, Clay Matthews Jr., Jackie Slater - 19/20 seasons.

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Old
11-24-2012, 08:25 AM
  #23
unknown33
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Stanley Matthews is a good call for the longevity aspects, however he doesn't meet the all-round criteria.

Alfredo Di Stefano would be my choice. Known for being above average in every aspects of the game and albeit his carreer is shorter than Matthews' it still laster 21 years till the age of 40. Ranking in alltime list is comparable to Gordie Howe's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
More like Wayne Gretzky.

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Old
11-24-2012, 08:35 AM
  #24
Mike Farkas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
George Blanda - 26 seasons in the NFL/AFL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Blanda
Not quite as elite as Howe certainly, but this was the first name that came to mind for me when I read the thread title...

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Old
11-24-2012, 09:04 AM
  #25
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