Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time. Some might say he was the greatest athlete of all time. But in a poll of New Yorkers, The Babe lost out to Derek Jeter (!) as New York's Greatest Athlete ever. Who voted in the poll -- Casey Close?
Here's the breakdown of the Top Ten Greatest New York Athletes ever, according to a Siena College Research Institute poll of 801 New York State residents:
Derek Jeter: 14%
Babe Ruth: 11%
Joe DiMaggio 4%
Mickey Mantle 4%
Joe Namath 4%
Patrick Ewing 3%
Carmelo Anthony 3%
Lou Gehrig 2%
Jakie (sic) Robinson (yes, that's the way the report spelled his name!): 2%
Jim Kelly 2%
What is wrong with these people? Did they find people who never watched a moment of sports in their lives? Actually, that's not that far off -- 41% of the people in the poll described themselves as not being sports fans! Why those 41% percent were asked a single question after that admission is beyond me.
Aside from the ridiculousness of Jeter winning this honor (by the way, he won the women's vote with 17%), how about Carmelo Anthony, who has been on the Knicks for less than a month, being No. 7? Outrageous, even if you add in 'Melo's Syracuse heroics. These are the most short-sighted and embarrassing poll results I've seen since Britons picked Princess Diana over Winston Churchill for that country's Person of the Century.
It gets worse on this New York poll. According to Siena's press release, "Among Yankee fans, Derek Jeter holds a commanding lead, 21 percent to Babe Ruth's 13 percent for New York's greatest athlete. Tied for third are DiMaggio and Mantle with Namath continuing in fifth."
I don't want to be the fan police here. But if you call yourself a Yankee fan, and you really think Jeter is a better player than Babe Flipping Ruth, I don't even know what to say to that. Sheesh. Our fan base prides themselves as being loyal and knowledgeable, but Jeter winning that poll is just plain sad.
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