Yahoo and facebook have now picked the top 10 greatest athletes of Minneapolis. They are:
Rod Carew--whom I said they should and would pick
Cris Carter--whom I left off both of my lists. I thought they would pick Jared Allen over Carter, and they did not.
Kevin Garnett--whom I said they would pick
Harmon Killebrew--whom I said they should and would pick
Joe Mauer--whom I said they should and would pick
Alan Page--whom I left off both of my lists, but he's a good pick nevertheless
Adrian Peterson--whom I said they should and would pick
Kirby Puckett--whom I said they should and would pick
Fran Tarkenton--whom I said they would pick
So I said they would pick Jared Allen, Tom Lehman and George Mikan and they did not. They picked Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Alan Page in their place.
I said they should pick Vern Gagne, Moose Goheen, Kevin McHale, Mikan, Bronko Nagurski and Lindsay Whalen and they did not. They picked Carter, Garnett, Mauer, Moss, Page and Tarkenton in their place.
Bottom line is their list is even worse than it had to be, I mean, Randy Moss? If they wanted somebody I didn't pick, they could at least have gone for Neal Broten.
Now the question is, Who are users of Yahoo and facebook going to elect as the single greatest athlete ever from Minneapolis? I would think Kirby would be a shoo-in, but we'll see. Maybe Randy Moss!? Or, seriously, I guess Adrian Peterson would be a threat, if only because the youngest generation, who didn't see Puckett, has seen AP.
Personally I think George Mikan is the right choice.
Yahoo Sports and facebook are running a joint promotion called Greatest Athletes by City. They pick what they call the 10 greatest athletes of various cities, and then regular folks get to vote for 1 as the single greatest or "most beloved" or whatever athlete from that city. They've now posted their picks for 11 cities including, most notably, Boston and Chicago.
Boston's top 10 includes 4 former Celtics, 3 former Red Sox, 2 former Bruins and Tom Brady. So, yes, only professional athletes need apply. My personal choice for Boston's greatest athlete, among those 10, would be Bobby Orr ahead of Ted Williams and Yaz and Tom Brady and Bill Russell and Larry Bird. Boston has a pretty good list.
Chicago, too. My choice would reluctantly be Michael Jordan. I say reluctantly not because I have anything against Michael, but it's hard not to vote for Dick Butkus or Sweetness, Walter Payton, or Ernie Banks. The top 10 included 3 Bears, 3 Cubs, 2 Black Hawks, 1 White Sox and 1 Bull.
Not only are the lists limited to pros but they're pretty much limited to athletes that people living today have seen. So there's no old-timers like Tris Speaker or Joe Cronin in Boston, or Frank Chance in Chicago, nor are there any college players like George Mikan of DePaul (in Chicago) or Doug Flutie of Boston College.
So that brings us to Minneapolis. That's what's been promised, the best athletes of Minneapolis. What they mean, obviously, is the best of the Twins, Vikings, North Stars and Wild, and Timberwolves...and maybe the Lakers if that's not too long ago.
That's unfortunate, I mean that there's no room on these lists for old timers combined with the fact that it's pros only. Minneapolis, unlike many major cities, has a major university within its boundaries. In Illinois it's Champaign, not Chicago (though there is Northwestern), in Michigan it's Ann Arbor and East Lansing, not Detroit, in Ohio it's Columbus, not Cincinnati or Cleveland.
So here's who I think they'll pick, and then here's who I think they should pick.
Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings
Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins
Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
Harmon Killebrew, Minnesota Twins
Tom Lehman, golfer
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
George Mikan, Minneapolis Lakers
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins
Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings
plus Vern Gagne, U of M and professional wrestler
Moose Goheen, ice hockey player
Kevin McHale, U of M
Bronko Nagurski, U of M
Lindsay Whalen, U of M and Minnesota Lynx
First I like old-timers, and especially guys like Moose Goheen, the best ice hockey player the state has ever produced (with apologies to #2, Neal Broten) and Bronko Nagurski, the best football player (apologies to Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith).
Second, since the U of M is located squarely in Minneapolis, I would make U athletes eligible for this list--especially Vern Gagne, the best wrestler ever (apologies to Jesse Ventura) and Kevin McHale, the best male basketball player at least based on his pro career.
And third, would it kill 'em to have a woman on the list? Lindsay Whalen has to be on the list, and here I'm not even appealing to her U career but as the leader of the Lynx WNBA champs of 2011.
It was very tough leaving Broten, Mauer and Tarkenton off the list, and also golfer Patty Berg, one of the top 10 women golfers of all-time with a much-better career than Tom Lehman.