Baseball Intelligence: January 2022(#127)

January 2, 2022

“The G.O.A.T. ATHLETE!!”
“A touch of brilliance in all they partake!”

As a youngster every kid wants to be the best at every sport, but few attain
greatness in any of them. The most important concept is that youngsters try them
all and later in their development focus on one or two. Too many today “fall in
love” with a single sport and then miss all the fun of trying or participating in
others. Sometimes, when they fail to achieve their goals, they quit and then have
missed all the others.
When researching the G.O.A.T. Athlete, the name Kris Kristofferson popped up.
Why? Because as a boy and later as an adult he was one of the greatest athletes of
his time. Every neighborhood, school, state, and geographic area has their own
G.O.A.T. or local iconic hero. Kris did not play professional sports but did achieve
many honors and accolades when he was active in athletics. At Park
School(elementary) he was a legend…he dominated in every sport and even ran for
conditioning(unheard of at the time) and boxed!! Later in High School he played
football, ran track and field and started playing rugby…he was a true high school
hero! At Pomona College, Kris played also played football, rugby and was a track
star…and boxed in Golden Gloves competitions! He was an honor student, won
literary awards, and was named a Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford he played rugby
with Pete Dawkins and dominated the game, He also won the Blue Award as a
boxer and then later was a helicopter pilot and Airborne Ranger in the US military!
Lastly, he was honored in Faces in the Crowd(1958) in Sports Illustrated for his
athletic achievements!
How does Kris compare with the ALL-TIME G.O.A.T. athletes? Let’s see!!
Below are listed the TOP 15 GREATEST athletes of ALL TIME! Not the greatest
necessarily in one sport as some of the one-trick ponies like Gretzky, Pele, Jordan,
Ali, Serena, Ruth, Grange, or Nicklaus, but those who were true athletes and
excelled in many sports and physical competitive activities!

  1. John Elway: College football All-American and NFL Hall of Famer; College
    and professional baseball player. Excellent golfer.
  2. Lottie Dod: British athlete who played tennis, field hockey, archery and golf at
    the highest levels. She won five Wimbledon championships, the British Ladies

Amateur in golf, and a silver medal in the Olympics in archery; Also, excelled in
figure skating, toboggan, mountaineering, and curling.

  1. Bob Gibson: Hall of Fame baseball great(pitcher, pinch hitter and pinch
    runner)and played baseball and basketball at Creighton University. Also played
    for the Harlem Globetrotters. “Gibson Rules” changed the rules and art of pitching
    in MLB.
  2. Jessie Owens: The world record setting track/field star that set world records
    in high school, college and at the Olympics. Besides his four Gold medals at he
    Olympics in 1936, he is known for the “greatest 45 minutes in sports history” when
    he set 3 world records and tied another at the NCAA Track championships in less
    than an hour.
  3. Dave Winfield: MLB Baseball Hall of Fame(did not play in the minors).
    Baseball college All American and basketball star at U of Minnesota. Drafted by
    FOUR professional teams: San Diego Padres, Hawks(NBA), Utah(ABA) and
    Minnesota Vikings..and he never played any football.
  4. Althea Gibson: Despite having to overcome segregation policies/laws,
    became a world tennis champion and professional golfer. Won 11 Grand Slam
    titles in tennis and played on the LPGA tour.
  5. Wilt Chamberlain: One of the strongest athletes to ever play a sport and a
    versatile all-around athlete. NBA Hall of Famer who set many records(never
    fouled out) and holds the record scoring 100 points in a game! Played for the
    Harlem Globetrotters and was a player-coach in the ABA. Played professional
    volleyball and team handball. In high school and college was a track/field star who
    would have been a decathlete if he could pole vault! Once beat Jim Brown in a
    sprint and challenged Ali to a fight! Also played polo, tennis, and was an avid
    water skier. Could dunk on a 12’ basket and take change off the top of a
    backboard(13’+). Even played pro basketball while in high school as George
  6. Deion Sanders: Pro football Hall of Fame and college All-American. Played
    professional MLB baseball for a number of teams. Only athlete to hit a home run
    and score a TD in the same week!! Fast enough to excel in track.
  7. Joan Joyce: A top ranked college and amateur softball players who was All
    American and set many records as a pitcher and hitter. Once struck out Ted

Williams and Hank Aaron. Played on the women’s golf tour and still holds the
record(men and women) for fewest putts in a round(17). Played and coached in the
pro volleyball league. An All-American basketball player in AAU and WBA. Is
in six Hall of Fames!!

  1. Jim Thorpe: First great multi-sport athlete. Played pro football, baseball and
    basketball. Won two gold medals in the Olympics: Decathlon and pentathlon.
    Two-time football All American at Carlisle and played lacrosse and track/field.
    Also, great ball room dancer and has a city named after him!
  2. Bo Jackson: College football All American and won Heisman Trophy. Also
    played college baseball and ran track. High school star in football, baseball and
    track. Played professional basketball(CBA) . ONLY athlete to be an All Star in
    both pro baseball and football…and to hit a 450’ homer and score on a 91 yard TD
    run..BO KNOWS!!
  3. Amos Alonzo Stagg: Renown football(til he was 95) and baseball coach. All
    American in football at Yale, played and scored in the first ever basketball game,
    and played college baseball. Also, track and field in college. Innovator in all
    sports and even has a tree named after him!
  4. Jim Brown: High school 13 letterman in five sports: football, basketball,
    baseball, lacrosse, and track. College football and lacrosse(national scoring champ)
    All American. College and pro football Hall of Fame and lacrosse Hall of Fame.
    Retired early with many NFL records…said to be the greatest lacrosse player in
  5. Jackie Robinson: The first Afro American to play in the MLB. Four sport star
    athlete at UCLA, and also played tennis. Set records in college football and
    basketball. Swam competitively and shot in the 80s in golf! First black Rookie of
    the Year, and MLB MVP, and Hall of Famer!
    1.Babe Didrikson Zaharias: THE “Other Babe”! Swimming/diving, lacrosse,
    billiards/pool, boxing, handball, volleyball, bowling, football(SMU scout QB),
    softball, tennis and baseball(House of David)-stuck out Joe DiMaggio! She did
    them ALL!! Won two gold and a silver(1932) Olympics and won a TEAM AAU
    Championship by herself winning 7 or 8 events setting 4 world records. Won over
    50 professional golf titles(3 US Opens)..once 17 in a row! In basketball she was 3-
    time All American and also played against men..scored 106 points in a game.

AND, she still holds the record for the longest baseball and softball throws by a
woman! Oh, and she once won a sewing bee and typing contest! BABE KNOWS
Honorable Mention: Theodore Roosevelt: The believer of a “strenuous” life,
Teddy was an avid sportsman and as President created the beginning of the
NCAA!! Secretariat…the horse of course! Bob Hayes, Gene Conley, Jackie
Jensen, Jim Abbott, Babe Ruth, Ernie Nevers, Jess Hall, Kirk Gibson, and
Dick Groat.
“Today you have 100% of your life left to live and be GREAT!””