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Some recent sports thoughts

Saturday 9/18/21

* Saw a weak-minded, bizarre list of the top football players of all-time, by someone, of course, with a million followers, a supposed expert. Right. He had Junior Seau at like #4. Junior Seau. The pile-jumper. Seau might not be in the top 100. My five would be: 1. Tom Brady 2. Jim Brown 3. Jerry Rice 4. Lawrence Taylor 5. Peyton Manning.

* I have a feeling Belichick might still tell someone that LT was the best player he ever coached.

* The numbers for Brown and Rice are nuts. What I've noticed with Rice is that Joe Montana's reputation has gone down over the years. When they were teammates, and then for quite a while after, Montana was discussed as the better player. Not just that--it was treated as a given. This obvious point. I remember thinking, when I was a kid, that Montana wasn't the best player on his own team. Not after Rice got there. Also, you had to see Montana, I feel like, to appreciate his skill. The numbers don't bear it out as readily. And now, people don't use their eyes. Not even with active players. They look at numbers. Or, what Skip Bayless says. (The world is a sewage tank for thought.) That serves Rice well.

* Jim Brown was in the league for nine years. He lead the league in rushing eight times. He averaged over 100 yard per game for his career. The one year he didn't lead the league in rushing, he finished fourth. Also, his rookie card is a thing of beauty.

* Carlton Fisk, a catcher, tried to steal home plate seven times in his career. He was successful three times.

* Four players in MLB history committed more than 1000 errors. Isn't that wild? One of them is in the Hall of Fame, and one of the others probably should be. Bill Dahlen is the guy who should be in, and Deacon White (born in 1847), who is, looks exactly like you'd think he would:

* As Kimball mentioned to me the other day, the great Honus Wagner--one of the ten best baseball players ever--committed 828 errors (with 676 coming at shortstop). That's good for thirteenth all-time. He was playing on fields covered in rocks, with a glove the size of a mitten. But here's the mind-blower: Wagner is forty-fourth all-time in defensive WAR! He had nine seasons in the top ten, and lead the league once. Which would mean that Wagner is also one of the best defensive players ever to play. According to those metrics.

* No one ever says it, but gloves are the main reason baseball averages could once reach certain levels that they don't now. It's not pitching. Look at the gloves guys had. For a while there you were practically bare-handed. Watch Devers when he charges in all a slow-roller and has to barehand it to make a play. Now imagine someone playing everything that way--including hard hit balls.


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