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Is There a Comparable to Howe in Any Other Sport?

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Old
11-27-2012, 06:25 PM
  #76
Dennis Bonvie
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Ted Williams
The best ******* hitter ever. I think that was his quote about himself.

Flew 39 missions as a fighter pilot in the Korean War.

Williams received the following medals and decorations:

Military

Naval Aviator Badge
Air Medal with two Silver Stars
Navy Unit Commendation
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal (United States)
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
United Nations Korea Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (Korea)

Civilian

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Also known as a great fly fisherman. I don't get that (never fished) but they say its true. Top 10 all-time.

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11-27-2012, 06:41 PM
  #77
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Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
Thee two posts. . .





. . . Firmly eliminate Nolan Ryan from contention, in my opinion (and pending any rebuttal).

What made Howe Howe isn't just the longevity; its his dominant, all-around play through that long career that seperates him from the pack.
I understand why Ryan is not in contention.

But, he is the most like Howe in that he was still pitching in his 40's and still throwing the ball past major league hitter. An incredible feat of agelessness.

The most dominant pitchers I've seen were Sany Koufax, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan. The latter 2 actually scaring hitters.

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11-27-2012, 08:05 PM
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
I understand why Ryan is not in contention.

But, he is the most like Howe in that he was still pitching in his 40's and still throwing the ball past major league hitter. An incredible feat of agelessness.

The most dominant pitchers I've seen were Sany Koufax, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan. The latter 2 actually scaring hitters.
I'll never forget the look on Karim Garcia's face after Pedro threw one just over his head. 2003 playoffs I think. He looked like he had seen a ghost. As for Ryan, his agelessness is definitely a fair comparison to Howe. These two had unique genes.

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11-28-2012, 03:30 PM
  #79
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In 10 years time the answer will be Kobe Bryant.

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11-28-2012, 04:35 PM
  #80
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to me what makes gordie howe special is not the playing until he's 50 thing, not even the long career/consistency thing. it's the crazy anomaly where if you take away the four years where he peaked and was arguably the greatest player the game had ever seen, he'd still be a top ten player all time. i mean hell, take away '51-'54 and beliveau vs. howe still is an argument, am i right?

the only other sport i know anything about is basketball, and i can only think of two players with that kind of easily definable GOAT peak where if you took that away they'd still be considered one of the greatest ever: jordan is one, but that's a bad comparison for obvious reasons. the other is kareem, who has been mentioned a number of times before.

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11-28-2012, 05:09 PM
  #81
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
George Blanda - 26 seasons in the NFL/AFL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Blanda
Blanda had longevity, but he was pretty much a below-average QB. His best years, which weren't much of anything, were basically in the two years that the AFL was on the same level as the CFL.

His selection for the Hall of Fame is a joke.

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Originally Posted by RedWings19405 View Post
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.
In the grand scheme of things, he has numbers padded by a long career. His defense was average. But more than that, he didn't lead the league in anything...batting average, slugging, OPS, and doubles (one time each). He's 199th on the black ink list.

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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
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.
Jeter lacks power, and is one of the worst-fielding shortstops in history to have had a meaningful career. The only two times that he was even average was in 2004 and in 2009, and those pale in comparison to the worst seasons of merely good fielders (let alone great ones).

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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.
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
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.
Cobb's a good comp. His fielding was average.

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Originally Posted by Marotte Marauder View Post
Charlie Hustle seems to be a good comparison.

23 seasons, led league at some point in over 30 categories, alltime hit leader, games played, at bats and 2nd alltime in 2 baggers.

17 All Star games at 5 different positions.
No power at all, and a slight above-average fielder at best.

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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Hank Aaron or Willie Mays
Quote:
Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
Is Hank Aaron considered an all-around talent, though? I don't honestly know much about him other than the home run record.
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Baseball Reference: Hank Aaron

won 2 batting titles & 11 times top 5
career .305 hitter with 3,771 hits
led in runs 3 times & 12 times top 5
7 times top 5 in OB%
8 times top 10 in SB (240 career)
3 gold gloves

Mays was a bit more of an all around player, while Aaron had a bit more consistency and longevity.
Aaron's numbers are a bit of an illusion. The Braves moved to Atlanta just as he was beginning to decline, and this was the years that Fulton County Stadium was called "The Launching Pad". It was actually studies done on Atlanta during these years that led to the discovery that altitude had an effect on a batted ball. So what happened is that Aaron's decline was masked by suddenly favorable conditions.

He was a good fielder, but not a great one. Still better than some of the other names above...

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11-28-2012, 05:20 PM
  #82
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And since I wouldn't just poke holes in anyone else's theories without adding any of my own...A few years back, SABR decided to settle the discussion of "the best of all-time" by presenting a list, then striking players one-by-one until they arrived at the best. The two finalists for "best of all-time" were Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner.

Ruth we know all about. The greatest offensive force (relative to the league) in history, and a major media attraction. However, he was an outfielder, which is less important defensively, and he was average.

Wagner, on the other hand...

Honus Wagner is considered by nearly every expert to be among the three or four best players in history (like Howe). He played longer than anyone else to that point (like Howe). And he was dominant in all aspects (like Howe).

See, Wagner was a shortstop. There's a long list of guys who were great hitters at shortstop (Alex Rodriguez, Vern Stephens, Robin Yount) and some great fielders (Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel). There are a few true all-around talents (Barry Larkin, Cal Ripken). What Wagner was is a combination of one of the five best-hitting shortstops in history, and one of the five best-fielding shortstops in history. No one else compares; the gap between Wagner and the #2 shortstop is probably greater than the gap between #2 and #10, maybe #2 and #20.

So if the qualifications to compare to Howe are:
- Longevity
- Dominance throughout an entire career
- Elite play in all facets of the game
- Important records, and records that lasted for a long time
- Regarded universally as among the five best in history

In baseball, it's Wagner. It's not even Mays, Mantle, or Musial. Ruth can be argued for, if you believe that his offense more than makes up for his defensive shortcomings. But Wagner must be in that discussion.

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Old
11-28-2012, 06:08 PM
  #83
Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
And since I wouldn't just poke holes in anyone else's theories without adding any of my own...A few years back, SABR decided to settle the discussion of "the best of all-time" by presenting a list, then striking players one-by-one until they arrived at the best. The two finalists for "best of all-time" were Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner.

Ruth we know all about. The greatest offensive force (relative to the league) in history, and a major media attraction. However, he was an outfielder, which is less important defensively, and he was average.

Wagner, on the other hand...

Honus Wagner is considered by nearly every expert to be among the three or four best players in history (like Howe). He played longer than anyone else to that point (like Howe). And he was dominant in all aspects (like Howe).

See, Wagner was a shortstop. There's a long list of guys who were great hitters at shortstop (Alex Rodriguez, Vern Stephens, Robin Yount) and some great fielders (Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel). There are a few true all-around talents (Barry Larkin, Cal Ripken). What Wagner was is a combination of one of the five best-hitting shortstops in history, and one of the five best-fielding shortstops in history. No one else compares; the gap between Wagner and the #2 shortstop is probably greater than the gap between #2 and #10, maybe #2 and #20.

So if the qualifications to compare to Howe are:
- Longevity
- Dominance throughout an entire career
- Elite play in all facets of the game
- Important records, and records that lasted for a long time
- Regarded universally as among the five best in history

In baseball, it's Wagner. It's not even Mays, Mantle, or Musial. Ruth can be argued for, if you believe that his offense more than makes up for his defensive shortcomings. But Wagner must be in that discussion.
Incredibly, you have missed one of the biggest selling points for Ruth.

He was an all-star calibre pitcher before he was the Sultan of Swat.

29 2/3 innings of consecutive shutout ball was a World Series record until 1961.

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11-28-2012, 06:34 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Incredibly, you have missed one of the biggest selling points for Ruth.

He was an all-star calibre pitcher before he was the Sultan of Swat.

29 2/3 innings of consecutive shutout ball was a World Series record until 1961.
It's about a 50:50 shot that he would have developed into an excellent pitcher. The problem is that we're looking at Ruth between ages 20 and 23, and his lack of progression. What we know now is that, after several studies on the issue, Ruth's inability to strike out opposing hitters on a consistent basis most likely would have precluded him becoming an excellent pitcher.

A pitcher who doesn't get many strikeouts puts a lot more balls into play. With an ability to induce ground balls combined with an excellent defense, this can be overcome to some extent. Lew Burdette is basically the only example of this; several others like Mark Fidrych and Chien-Ming Wang haven't been able to do so.

In Ruth's case, he had the huge year in 1916, then started walking more guys and striking out fewer. It's certainly possible that he could have reversed this trend, but he'd declined for three consecutive years and was only 24 at the time. I can tell you what that looks like in hockey, and his name is Steve Mason.

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11-28-2012, 06:52 PM
  #85
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
It's about a 50:50 shot that he would have developed into an excellent pitcher. The problem is that we're looking at Ruth between ages 20 and 23, and his lack of progression. What we know now is that, after several studies on the issue, Ruth's inability to strike out opposing hitters on a consistent basis most likely would have precluded him becoming an excellent pitcher.

A pitcher who doesn't get many strikeouts puts a lot more balls into play. With an ability to induce ground balls combined with an excellent defense, this can be overcome to some extent. Lew Burdette is basically the only example of this; several others like Mark Fidrych and Chien-Ming Wang haven't been able to do so.

In Ruth's case, he had the huge year in 1916, then started walking more guys and striking out fewer. It's certainly possible that he could have reversed this trend, but he'd declined for three consecutive years and was only 24 at the time. I can tell you what that looks like in hockey, and his name is Steve Mason.
Ruth stop being a full time pitcher after the 1917 season. He was only 22. Yet the next year, when the Sox reached the World Series he pitched game 1 and won 1-0. He also won game 4.

A career record of 94-46 with an ERA of 2.28. World Series record of 3-0 with an ERA of 0.87. If he could have been strictly a pitcher he'd have been a great one, no doubt.

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11-28-2012, 07:22 PM
  #86
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Roger Clemens? Pitching at 50 and he didn't look out of place...

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11-28-2012, 07:59 PM
  #87
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Soccers would be Ryan Giggs. Still going alright more than 20 years later, scored in every EPL season, won PFA player of the year at like 36 or something crazy like that.

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11-28-2012, 09:34 PM
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
It's about a 50:50 shot that he would have developed into an excellent pitcher. The problem is that we're looking at Ruth between ages 20 and 23, and his lack of progression. What we know now is that, after several studies on the issue, Ruth's inability to strike out opposing hitters on a consistent basis most likely would have precluded him becoming an excellent pitcher.

A pitcher who doesn't get many strikeouts puts a lot more balls into play. With an ability to induce ground balls combined with an excellent defense, this can be overcome to some extent. Lew Burdette is basically the only example of this; several others like Mark Fidrych and Chien-Ming Wang haven't been able to do so.

In Ruth's case, he had the huge year in 1916, then started walking more guys and striking out fewer. It's certainly possible that he could have reversed this trend, but he'd declined for three consecutive years and was only 24 at the time. I can tell you what that looks like in hockey, and his name is Steve Mason.
Ruth was an excellent pitcher for a few years. The only question is whether that would continue.

And strikeout rates weren't as important for pitchers as they are today. Ruth obviously wasn't Lefty Grove or Walter Johnson as a pitcher, but pitchers like Stan Coveleski and Urban Shocker were pretty good in the 1920s while striking out a batter every three innings.

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11-29-2012, 11:47 AM
  #89
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Roger Clemens? Pitching at 50 and he didn't look out of place...
I'll add that he came out of retirement to play with his son.

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11-29-2012, 11:55 AM
  #90
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
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.
How could you hate Jeter? He's a bi-racial angel

One thing for me, is I never know how to compare athletes in other sports. Hockey has the 50 goals or the 100 point season, which really has set the standard of a "great season" but I've never known how to compare baseball, football or basketball. I guess I'm more a casual fan with those 3 sports but I've always wanted to at least know what sets a "great season" in those sports.

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11-29-2012, 12:02 PM
  #91
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Rod Laver

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11-29-2012, 12:33 PM
  #92
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Ryan's peak greatness is debatable. He wasn't a Cy Young award level generally, but then he did throw more no-hitters than anyone.

Where he definitely falls short is the "all-around" department. He wasn't even an above average fielder or hitter. He could throw that speedball by ya, make you look like a fool and that's it. It would be like calling Manute Bol a great all-around player.
I think critiquing a pitcher's hitting skills is like criticizing a goalie's wrist shot. Pitchers hit 9th in the order for a reason (they rarely practice batting), on top of which Ryan spent a total of 13 years in the AL where he didn't hit at all. Fielding percentage never affected a pitcher's chances with the HOF, just as no one discusses whether Gordie Howe dropped to block shots.

A pitcher is incredibly reliant on team success (run support) to prime his own win-loss stats. Bert Blylevyn is an another example of that. He finally got into the Hall, but did so with career win numbers of 287-250. Blyleven was a fantastic pitcher who did not spend a career on powerhouse teams. In 1987 Ryan's record was 8-16, yet he came in 5th in Cy Young voting. He was 40 years old in '87, led the league in ERA and also happened to strike out 270. Throwing that speedball by ya is the pitcher's primary roll, and Ryan did it very well for a very long time. He's not only #1 all time with career strikeouts (5,714), he's #1 all time with fewest hits allowed per 9 innings. For a guy with a 27 year career and 5,300+ innings, that's a telling stat.


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Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
. . . Firmly eliminate Nolan Ryan from contention, in my opinion (and pending any rebuttal).

What made Howe Howe isn't just the longevity; its his dominant, all-around play through that long career that seperates him from the pack.
Howe was about sustained longevity. His ample skills aside, he was a physical freak of nature that allowed him to remain highly productive at an age where his peers where shadows of their former selves or out of the league completely. Guy Lafleur had a peak. Esposito had a peak. Was Gordie Howe's peak the 95 points in 52-53, or the 103 points in 68-69? In '79-80 Howe put up 41 points, better than kids like Bob Nystrom, Al Secord and Rick Vaive. A 35 year old Ron Ellis put up 23 points that year. To anyone reading this who hasn't hit 40 yet, you'll understand soon enough what kind of rarity it is to be able to sustain a high level of performance at such an age.

Like Howe, Nolan Ryan was a physical outlier. His talent didn't fade away through his 40s while trying to hang on (yes I'm talking to you Chris Chelios and Willie Mays). At 45 years old Ryan struck out 157 batters in 157 innings. A 29 year old Justin Verlander averaged 9.03 strikeouts per 9 innings this past season.

And if none of this means anything, a 46 year old Ryan beat up a 25 year old Robin Ventura when he charged the mound. If that's not an echo of Gordie Howe, I don't know what is.


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12-01-2012, 08:09 PM
  #93
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I'll add that he came out of retirement to play with his son.
Playing a non contact sport once every five days in a bull crap league. I don't think so.

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12-02-2012, 05:33 AM
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I'm a little late to this thread, but I have a huge addition, and I'm a bit surprised nobody's mentioned him.

John Tavares. No...not the hockey player. The guy he was named after. Tavares leads the National Lacrosse League in all-time goals, assists, points, and games played.

3 NLL MVP's
8 MSL scoring titles
3 MSL MVP's
3 MSL Playoff MVP's

And he finished 6th in league scoring last year...at 44 years of age. As for the toughness factor, did I mention he plays lacrosse?

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12-02-2012, 06:59 AM
  #95
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W G Grace - cricket. Best of his era, multiple areas of excellence (great with bat and ball) and played 35-40 years at top level

Heather McKay - squash. Lost a game in 1960 and another in 1962. Apparently didn't like it, and never lost again in the next 17 years, then retired. She then tried her hand a racquetball and became one of the two dominant players until she retired in her mid-40s.

Golf - no shortage of great older golfers.


Tennis - the greats Gonzalez and Rosewall, were competitive into their 40s.


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12-02-2012, 01:11 PM
  #96
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Ray Bourque
Derek Jeter
Ty Cobb
Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant
George Foreman?

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12-02-2012, 09:56 PM
  #97
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Ruth was an excellent pitcher for a few years. The only question is whether that would continue.

And strikeout rates weren't as important for pitchers as they are today. Ruth obviously wasn't Lefty Grove or Walter Johnson as a pitcher, but pitchers like Stan Coveleski and Urban Shocker were pretty good in the 1920s while striking out a batter every three innings.
In fairness to Ruth, I don't think that two spitballers (Shocker and Coveleski) make for good comps under any circumstances.

Even setting aside Grove and Johnson, who are both among the five best pitchers in history, I don't think Ruth would have even hit that second level. That would include guys like Red Ruffing, Dutch Leonard, Smoky Joe Wood, or (for a brief time) Guy Morton.

Good pitcher, maybe. HOF pitcher...if we're using Shocker and Coveleski as the minimum HOF standard (which they're close to; Rube Marquard and Jesse Haines are HOFers and even worse), then maybe. But as far as what most people would consider a HOFer of the highest caliber, I don't think he'd have come close.

Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree.

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12-03-2012, 09:47 AM
  #98
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Originally Posted by Statsy View Post
I'm a little late to this thread, but I have a huge addition, and I'm a bit surprised nobody's mentioned him.

John Tavares. No...not the hockey player. The guy he was named after. Tavares leads the National Lacrosse League in all-time goals, assists, points, and games played.

3 NLL MVP's
8 MSL scoring titles
3 MSL MVP's
3 MSL Playoff MVP's

And he finished 6th in league scoring last year...at 44 years of age. As for the toughness factor, did I mention he plays lacrosse?
This is a good call, Tavares also chipped in defensively in his earlier years, so he was competent in most aspects of the game (except face-offs?). Great playmaker and all around scoring threat, as his career stats will attest to.

Probably THE dominant box lacrosse player of all time, but never excelled in field lacrosse like the Gait Brothers or John Grant Jr. because according to him, it was "boring, slow and dull."

It's pretty frustrating that Canadians are totally clueless about the rich history of lacrosse in this country. To each their own, I suppose.

Would rather watch a Junior A lacrosse game than my lowly Raptors get curb stomped repeatedly (can we switch seasons ? )

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12-04-2012, 03:56 PM
  #99
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This is a good call, Tavares also chipped in defensively in his earlier years, so he was competent in most aspects of the game (except face-offs?). Great playmaker and all around scoring threat, as his career stats will attest to.

Probably THE dominant box lacrosse player of all time, but never excelled in field lacrosse like the Gait Brothers or John Grant Jr. because according to him, it was "boring, slow and dull."

It's pretty frustrating that Canadians are totally clueless about the rich history of lacrosse in this country. To each their own, I suppose.

Would rather watch a Junior A lacrosse game than my lowly Raptors get curb stomped repeatedly (can we switch seasons ? )

Here Here!! Great post!

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12-05-2012, 06:21 AM
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Statsy View Post
I'm a little late to this thread, but I have a huge addition, and I'm a bit surprised nobody's mentioned him.

John Tavares. No...not the hockey player. The guy he was named after. Tavares leads the National Lacrosse League in all-time goals, assists, points, and games played.

3 NLL MVP's
8 MSL scoring titles
3 MSL MVP's
3 MSL Playoff MVP's

And he finished 6th in league scoring last year...at 44 years of age. As for the toughness factor, did I mention he plays lacrosse?
Your avatar is hilarious, by the way. Black Flag should have used that as the cover of My War.

Bionda is offline   Reply With Quote
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