Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 28, 2004

If you're wondering why New York Giants fans are so excited about Eli Manning, well, let me offer some perspective here. Consider my somewhat-typical experience. I'm a Mets/Giants/Knicks fan, and I'm 32 years old. Manning gives me, potentially (if he lives up to billing), the opportunity to see my favorite team develop an offensive superstar. Now, if you're a Red Sox fan or a Lakers fan or, even, a Detroit Lions or Montreal Expos fan, that may not sound like anything terribly novel. But consider the top homegrown offensive stars of my three favorite teams over the past 30 years or so, at least based on their performance in NY:

1. Patrick Ewing
2. Darryl Strawberry
3. Phil Simms (yes, Simms contributed more than Strawberry, but except for a brief moment around 1984, he was never a carry-the-team kind of QB)
4. Edgardo Alfonzo
5. Rodney Hampton
6. Mark Jackson (yes, #2 all-time in assists, but Jackson's a slow guy who can't shoot and only once scored as many as 15 points per game)
7. Joe Morris
8. Todd Hundley (we're scraping here; Hundley spent more than half his Mets career as an offensive millstone, although he did set a home run record for catchers)
9. Ray Williams
10. Amani Toomer
11. Mark Bavaro (an icon, but only briefly a light-up-the-scoreboard player)
12. Tiki Barber
13. Michael Ray Richardson
14. Lee Mazzilli
15. John Starks (I count Starks and Mason as homegrown players, since the Knicks developed them as regulars)

That's a top-of-the head list (feel free to quibble - this one's a natural argument-starter), and after Ewing, it's pretty weak; plenty of individual franchises could do better. And neither of the corresponding lists will knock your socks off, either - the top guys who were brought along in NY but bloomed elsewhere (Rod Strickland, Ed McCaffrey, Lenny Dykstra, Kevin Mitchell, Gregg Jefferies), and the top guys who arrived from elsewhere (a list that starts to fall off after Mike Piazza, Bernard King and Bob McAdoo - meaning no disrespect to Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez - and on which the top Giants are creaky old guys like Ottis Anderson and Fran Terkenton).

Looking at the list above, it's no surprise that the Mets have never had an MVP or a batting champ, the Knicks haven't had an MVP or scoring champ in the past 35 years, and I couldn't find the last time the Giants had a league leader in passing, rushing or receiving yards. My New York, at least, is a defensive town. That's why people went crazy for Stephon Marbury, who seems no more likely to bring home playoff glory than King or McAdoo, and why Mets fans are so hopeful about Jose Reyes if he can ever put together a healthy season.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 06:21 AM | Baseball 2004 • | Basketball • | Football | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)


What about Gooden? I mean, sure, he turned into a crackhead, but he was the genuine article (and I say that as a Sox fan who throw a chair through dorm room plate glass window in 1986). And LT?

Posted by: Steve the Llamabutcher at April 28, 2004 10:14 AM

As a fan with the same affiliations, I know of what you speak. The Giants have always been a defense first team. Even when they had good to great offenses (mid 80's), they were clearly defense first.

Then there is the orange and blue effect.

For hitters, this causes a 20% reduction in all offensive categories.

For hoopsters, this causes a 20% reduction in all statistical categories.

Fortunately the same works for opposing teams, so mediocre pitchers and defensive stoppers in hoops tend to get over-rated quickly in NYC.

Posted by: Zufall at April 28, 2004 10:44 AM

Gary Carter!
Lawrence Taylor, (yeah, he's D, but just give him credit for all the Offensive stats that Theissman would have gotten it he'd been able to keep playing.)

On down the list you get to folks like Eddie Murray, Howard Johnson, and Mookie Wilson. I know I'm practically just listing the '85 roster, but it was a really good team. Wasn't HoJo HR champion that year?

And the Knicks have a newly enlightened Marbury now, so that should count for something.

Not familiar enough to know who's home grown or what the definition of that is, so you might dq the whole list.

Posted by: emcee fleshy at April 28, 2004 04:38 PM

Oh geez. Cats will be sleeping with dogs.

Crank and I both hate the Yankees...and I too happen to be a Giants fan.

Posted by: C Giddy at April 28, 2004 09:26 PM

....and I wouldn't trade watching LT and Harry Carson for anything....regarding the NFL, of course.

Posted by: C Giddy at April 28, 2004 09:30 PM

Crank: your problem is a lack of diversification. If you threw in the Isles, you could litter the list with Bossy. Trottier. Gilles. Potvin.

Posted by: Gerry at April 28, 2004 09:32 PM

Oh, boo-hoo. Hey Crank- You canít see it, but Iím playing the worldís smallest violin, just for you and the NY fans!

Iím a Clippers fan. A Clippers fan! At least you have a list...

Posted by: Richard at April 28, 2004 09:37 PM

So you're the Clipper fan.

Gooden, though a decent hitter, was a pitcher. The parameters here were offense-related.

Shockey may be near the top of this odd list soon. Idiot though he may be.

BTW, who is Ray Williams? Was that a typo or is that someone from before my time?

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at April 28, 2004 10:44 PM

What's a Clipper?

Posted by: Gerry at April 29, 2004 06:00 PM
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