The Great Bambino, the “Chief” and Mr. November recognized

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

The good thing about talking and debating sports is that there is rarely a dull moment. In that spirit, The Collegian would like to provide readers opinions on who the greatest athletes to wear numbers 0-99 are. From zero to 23 to 99 and all the numbers in between, who was the best to wear them? Enjoy:

0. Robert Parish-Boston Celtics

The man nicknamed “The Chief” and alumnus of Summit League member Centenary College launched his career when Parish landed in Boston where he earned three NBA titles (1981, 1984 and 1986). His seven-foot defensive stature and impressive rebounding and shot blocking skills landed him as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. His talent did not stop on the court, as he played a role in the classic “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Honorable Mentions: Eric Montras (North Carolina University), Olden Polynice and Gilbert Arenas.

1. Ozzie Smith-St. Louis Cardinals

The man with the “Golden Glove” used his signature flips before he took the field to make him a fan favorite in St. Louis and all of America. The “Wizard of Oz” originally started his career as a San Diego Padre, but then came to St. Louis to earn the title as the best fielding shortstop ever. For 13 straight years (1979-1992), Smith won the National League gold glove. He was also named to the All-Star team 15 times and accumulated more than 2,400 hits, landing in Cooperstown in 2002.

Honorable Mentions: Pee Wee Reese (Brooklyn Dodgers), Bobby Richardson (New York Yankees), Anfee “Penny” Hardway (Orlando) and Oscar Robinson (Milwaukee.)

2. Derek Jeter-New York Yankees

Mr. November entered the Majors as the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996. He then led his team to win four titles in five years (1996 and 1998-2000). Jeter holds the record for postseason hits with 142 and counting. For his offensive performance in 2000, Jeter earned both the All-Star and World Series MVP. He holds the record for postseason hits with 142 and counting. Not only dangerous with the bat, but Jeter has made some of the greatest web gems (in key moments) in the last 20 years.

Honorable Mentions: Nellie Fox (Tigers), Secretariat, Charles Woodson (Michigan University) and Tommy Lasorda (Dodgers.)

3. Babe Ruth-New York Yankees

The Great Bambino, Sultan of Swat, the Babe, the “Great One;” whatever you want to call him, certainly Mr. Ruth was the greatest player to wear NO.3 of all time. Check out these stats: 714 home runs – the third most home runs of all-time, ?2,213 RBIs – second all-time, ?2,174 runs – also the third most of all-time, and he was a great pitcher who won a World Series on the mound.

Honorable Mentions: Dale Earnhardt (NASCAR), Allen Iverson, Dewayne Wade and Dennis Johnson (Boston Celtics.)

4. Lou Gehrig-New York Yankees

Although in the Midwest fans may point to a certain quarterback named Farve, the award must go to Gehrig. For 56 years the “Iron Horse” owned the record for consecutive games played in a row until Cal Ripken, Jr., broke the record in 1995. A key part of “murderers row” in 1927, Gehrig batted .340 along with just narrowly missing 500 home runs (493.)

Honorable Mentions: Paul Molitor (Brewers), Bobby Orr (Boston Bruins), Mel Ott (New York Baseball Giants) and Jerry Sloan (Chicago Bulls).

5. George Brett-Kansas City Royals

The 3,000 hit club member and Lou Gehrig Memorial Award recipient is the best NO.5 to play ever. The 12-time all-star and 1999 first ballot hall-of-famer (98.2 vote) played a mean “hot corner” and when he retired, he had the most base hits for a third baseman ever.

Honorable Mentions: Joe DiMaggio, Paul Hornung (Packers), Johnny Bench (Reds) and Jeff Bagwell (Astros.)

6. Bill Russell-Boston Celtics

The most outstanding player of the NCAA Tournament and Gold Medalist in 1956 easily wins out of all who wear number 6. Despite dealing with racism in Boston, Russell cannot even wear all of his NBA Championship rings on his fingers (11). Throw in five NBA MVP and arguably the best “owner of the paint” ever, and his performance speaks for itself.

Honorable Mentions: Stan Musial (St. Louis Cardinals), “Dr. J” Julius Ervin (Philadelphia 76ers), Tony Olivia (Minnesota Twins) and Steve Garvey (Los Angeles Dodgers).

7.Mickey Mantle-New York Yankees

While a certain Elway was a very close second, one of the greatest ball players of America’s past time is defiantly the best player ever to wear NO.7. The pin-strip center fielder dazzled crowds, and some historians claim he never reached the peak of his career. A little scary if you think about it, all Mantle did was earn seven World Series crowns and played in 20 all-stars games.

Honorable Mentions: Pete Marvich (NBA), Bobby “Bingo” Smith (Cavaliers) and Kevin Johnson (Phoenix Suns).

8.Troy Aikman-Dallas Cowboys

The three-time NFL Superbowl champion and the signal caller for “the team of the 90’s” is getting number eight award despite having a very talented bunch of players surrounding him, including Daryl “Moose” Johnston. In Super Bowl XXVII, the-time MVP completed 22 passes out of 30 and had four touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills. Aikman made his mark at both Oklahoma University and UCLA as a superior college quarterback. The six-time pro-bowler was also drafted by the New York Mets.

Honorable Mentions: Igor Larionov (Washington Capitols), Cal Ripken Jr., Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox) and Steve Young (49ers).

9.Ted Williams-Boston Red Sox

The best hitter ever to swing the bat, Williams is without a doubt the best player to ever wear number 9 in any sport. The two-time Triple Crown (1942 and 1947) winner and two-time MVP humbly recognized great Negro players Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in his hall of fame induction speech, showing what a great man he was. The last man to bat .400 won the American League battle title six separate times. The best left fielder ever served his country in World War II and the Korean War.

Honorable Mentions: Gordie Howe and Sunny Jurgensen (Washington Redskins) and Roger Maris (New York Yankees).

Look for 10-19 athletes in the next week issue.