As part of Boston’s Biggest Sports Legend tournament, we are comparing Boston’s best to the best from Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Here is Chicago’s case, courtesy of Ricky O’Donnell from Tremendous Upside Potential.
I must admit. This isn’t particularly easy.
Yes, I’m full of Chicago pride, especially when it comes to the athletic deities we’re speaking of today. But to convince you, Green Monster enthusiasts, that Chicago’s sports legends are superior to Boston’s seems like a tall task.
First, let’s make sure we throw objectivity out the window. That isn’t the point of this exercise, is it? This isn’t about the differences in VORP between Carl Yastrzemski and Ernie Banks or the offensive efficiency numbers of Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird. It is, I think, about the way these icons have shaped the cities in which they played and passed their characteristics along through generations of followers.
So, let’s start at the top, shall we? Since Chicago owns Michael Jordan, Chicago automatically wins. This became a truth in 1991, and never stopped being one until His Airness hung it up. And don’t even try to counter with that two-year vacation in Washington. Everyone knows that never actually happened. I’m sure you all feel the same about the 26 games Bobby Orr spent wearing the best jersey in all of sports.
I can go on about Jordan all day. I probably wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t grow up during his reign. Who else was going to make me like Chicago sports in the ‘90s? Curtis Conway? I like to think that, without MJ, my whole life would be a little different. Maybe instead of blind devotion to Chicago sports, I would have been drawn to math or something instead. Can there be a greater compliment given to an athlete?
I doubt, however, that I need to convince anyone on the merits of the greatest of all time. Let’s move on to, without question, the most iconic and influential person in Chicago sports history (Chicago history!?), Mike Ditka.
The way my city lionizes Ditka’s 1985 Bears is almost a little embarrassing at this point. Of course, the team totally deserves it. You Patriots fans know that as well as anyone. No member of the ’85 Bears will ever go hungry as long as they stay in Chicago. That much is fact. And Ditka, the mogul that he is, probably, maybe, possibly would have defeated Barack Obama in the 2004 Illinois Senate race if he decided to run like originally planned. If that isn’t the ultimate testament to his power, I don’t know what is. That’s right, Mike Ditka had the chance to change American history. Can Red Auerbach say that?
Moving on, I’m sure Ted Williams was tough — serving as a pilot in World War II probably reinforces such a characteristic — but has anyone ever said they’d rather fight one of nature’s most ferocious beasts instead of Teddy Ballgame? I highly doubt it.
Can’t say the same about Dick Butkus, though. Speaking of Butkus, former Packers running back MacArthur Lane once said, “If I had a choice, I’d sooner go one-on-one with a grizzly bear.”
A grizzly bear. No, not the critically acclaimed soft-rocking indie band (what man worth his salt couldn’t beat up those dudes?), we’re talking about the real deal, the No. 1 threat to America. Show me a quote where a former opponent of John Havlicek said they’d rather fight a Tyrannosaurus, and maybe I’ll reconsider.
Boston does earn some points in this competition — since all of the Bears’ passing records are held by a guy who threw his first pass in 1939, it’s safe to say we’d kill for Tom Brady. But come on, this is easy: On a whole, Chicago is the superior sports town with superior sports legends and superior sports fans.
I’ll give you guys the edge over L.A., though.
Who is Chicago’s biggest sports legend?survey software