June 30, 2003

Overrated Jocks: This should be fun. ESPN's Jeff Merron has a list of all-time overrated jocks. I agree with his choices of Phil Rizzuto, Jose Canseco, Nolan Ryan, and honorable mention Dominique Wilkins, but what was he smoking to consider Pete Maravich, Pete Rose, OJ Simpson, and Sandy Koufax overrated?

posted by cg1001a to general at 03:03 PM - 17 comments

Charlie Nicholas and Peter Marinello.

posted by Fat Buddha at 04:13 PM on June 30, 2003

Dunno about Koufax but from his mention I can see the case for Simpson and Rose. Maravich was flashy which makes him memorable. Didn't even think he rated as a super great player, but an exciting player. i think maybe it can come down to a hair splitting argument over 'ratedness'. Is the problem that 'people' think Pete Rose and Nolan Ryan are ***** players when they were really more in the *** to *** range with long careers under their belts? Hence overrated?

posted by gspm at 04:19 PM on June 30, 2003

Merron's a moron. First off, who says Maravich is being rated solely on his NBA days? For God's sake, he was only the greatest scorer in collegiate history! And who the hell thinks Pete Rose is the greatest hitter of all time? Jesus, even PETE doesn't think that! "Casual fans?" What does that mean? People who wear khakis to the ballpark? Yes, the guy hung around too long. That doesn't make him overrated ... it makes him greedy. Well, duh! The list of those just receiving votes was even sillier. Anyone even thinking about Sandy Koufax can't think highly enough. He was one of the top five pitchers of all-time. Period. How can you overrate that? But Lenny Dykstra? WTF?!? Does anyone even mention his name anymore? I sure don't. Did anyone ever consider him great? Not that I've ever spoken with. And where did these mysterious other votes come from? It doesn't say anywhere that this list came from anywhere except Merron's head. Maybe he's schizophrenic, or maybe he's just an idiot. Either way, ESPN.com needs to do FAR better than this.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:12 PM on June 30, 2003

Yeah, that bugged me too about Maravich being a marginal HOFamer based on his pro career. The basketball HOF is not run by the NBA; college performance counts, a lot, though that seems to be a thing of the past these days.

posted by cg1001a at 09:26 PM on June 30, 2003

I don't know of anyone who thinks that Nolan Ryan was the best pitcher of all time. I think this guy needs to do some better research. Nolan's numbers, especially the strikeouts, are so staggering that he should be considered an upper-echelon starter, but noone is comparing him to Cy Young here.

posted by therev at 11:13 PM on June 30, 2003

We did this a week ago. But it looks like the "Search for previous link" function didn't work because the link in the earlier post was in the Description field, rather than the URL field. Oh, well. Party on!

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:19 PM on June 30, 2003

Different lists, waterchestnut. The earlier one (that I posted) was current athletes. This one is athletes ever. And ditto the comments about Koufax.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:56 PM on June 30, 2003

wfrazerjr, I must contest your comment about Koufax being one of the top pitchers. I find him to be a marginal HOF member at best. 12 seasons and only 165 wins in an era of 4 man rotations are not exactly awe inspiring. Check his career stats and rankings. You find a mediocre pitcher who came on with 4 good seasons and faded by 30 years of age. Comparisons to Gale Sayers, and more recently, Terrell Davis come to mind. A sympathy vote for a promising but short career does not a true Hall of Famer make.

posted by Scottymac at 01:14 AM on July 01, 2003

Fat Buddha, you made exactly the same joke I was going to! I have no idea what the septics are talking about here...

posted by salmacis at 02:31 AM on July 01, 2003

Well, I'm bloody glad somebody got it.!

posted by Fat Buddha at 07:39 AM on July 01, 2003

Koufax was completely overrated...he sucked.

posted by StarFucker at 11:17 AM on July 01, 2003

The stats don't show it but I've always believed that Steve Young was the most overated quarterback of the 90's. No stats that I can point to ... you just had to see him play in tough games. As long as his team was up and had a comfortable cushion he looked great but as soon as the score got tight he'd start to fall apart. He'd do stuff like bolt from the pocket, get knocked unconcious by a D lineman, and fumble the ball. Or he'd get the ball knocked away from behind. Or he'd start short arming passes. Just all these little things. Young could dominate an easy game but when the games got tough he didn't produce. The only thing I can really point to is that he only won 1 Super Bowl with some really freaking good 49ers teams. Considering how successful the 49ers were in the regular season that success didn't translate into victories in the playoffs. It's kind of like Young's style was great for running up the stats during the regular season but didn't work in the playoffs. (Randall Cunningham is the epitome of the phenomenon but, unlike Young, no ones overating Randall).

posted by Mike McD at 11:42 AM on July 01, 2003

A good calibration point of the cluelessness of the list's author is the inclusion of George Mikan in the "also received votes". During Mikan's college days, DePaul played a zone where Mikan would guard the basket and deflect any shots before they went in. The NCAA had to install the goaltending rule to end that tactic. In the NBA, the league doubled the width of the lane to make it more difficult for him to score. In one game, the Pistons decided the only way to beat the Lakers was to sit on the ball. This resulted in a 19-18 score and the introduction of the 24-second clock a few seasons later. It's inane to call a player overrated when rules are changed to end his dominance. Major rules were changed three times (twice directly) due to Mikan. The charitable assumption here is that Merron was only practicing his typing when he wrote this column.

posted by joaquim at 01:37 PM on July 01, 2003

Too busy ... to type Koufax rebuttal ... repress urge to scream ... ... post tomorrow ...

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:37 PM on July 01, 2003

This morning on the Mike & Mike show on ESPN Radio, they were discussing Merron's list and compiling their own based on listener submissions. If anyone heard the final list (I had to leave car), please post it. Since overrated can mean a variety of things, ie Ryan a great pitcher but overrated for being included in top 3, top 5 of all-time, I submit that Muhammad Ali is the most overrated athlete of all-time. Ali was a great heavyweight, one of the best known individuals on the planet and deserves much acclaim for his accomplishments. However, when most of the all-century lists and greatest athletes of all-time discussions come about, Ali is almost always in the top 3. While Ali was an influential black leader and Vietnam war lightning rod, yet his social importance is not even in the same realm as Jackie Robinson. Ali was a product and relfection of the time he lived in, Robinson defied the norms of the time during which he lived. While Ali was a great boxer and repeatedly won the heavyweight title, he was not overly dominant nor that much superior to his peers at the time. He is not widely regarded as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all-time, nor is even universally accepted as the greatest heavyweight of all-time. Nearly every list of individual sports has Jordan, Ruth, Gretzky, Nicklaus in top 3, but I have seen many boxing lists where Ali does not rank that high and Sugar Ray Robinson is far more widely regarded as greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all-time with Dempsey, Louis, Johnson, Marciano also strongly competing with Ali. Furthermore, Ali did not demonstrated physical ability far superior to his peers like Jim Thorpe, Jim Brown, or Wilt Chamberlain. Finally, unlike athletes such as Ruth, Palmer, Nicklaus, Bird, Magic, Jordan---Ali's sport has greatly declined in popularity in the last 20 years and not rode his coattails to new heights. Ali--great boxer, important social figure, very popular and controversial--but top 3 of all-time--No Way.

posted by dales15 at 10:28 AM on July 02, 2003

One reason Ali gets the nod to appear in top 3 lists is because he is known around the world by so many people. There might have been better boxers before and after him, but none of them were known in China, Africa, Russia, South America and the rest of the world like Ali was. He trancended his sport. Robinson might have had a bigger impact for racial equality in America, but not to the rest of the world. There are only a couple other athletes that are as WORLD famous as Ali: Michael Jordan (thanks to the marketing of the NBA and Nike) and Tiger Woods (but not as much as the other two).

posted by grum@work at 11:47 AM on July 02, 2003

grum--I totally agree with your point that Ali transcended sport and was one of the best known individuals, not just athletes, on the planet but most of such lists are very ethnocentric and athletes such as Pele don't rank (because specifically limited to American athletes) or rank far below where they would on a global list.

posted by dales15 at 01:05 PM on July 02, 2003

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