Fan Vote: Greatest Athlete In New York Sports History?

With March Madness coming to a close, I’m sure many of you are frustrated with your brackets that were spoiled about an hour after the tournament started. So, us at New York Sports Hub will be unveiling another bracket, but this time there will not be any frustration. You, the readers and fans of our site, will be able to vote on each match up up until the finals.

This tournament will crown the greatest athlete in the history of New York Sports. It was no easy task to narrow it down to just 64, as New York has been one of the greatest sporting cities in the world since the start of the 20th century, but these players are the ones we believe are the most deserving. Here is the final bracket. Scroll down to vote.

final

Here are a few rules about the bracket, and some other important info you will want to read.

Voting will be two days for the first three rounds, three for the next two and four for the finals.

The players were chosen based on legacy and skill. Players who have won a lot were ranked more favorably then someone who has not won much. This also was based solely on professional playing careers, not college careers of the players coaching careers after, and their play with other franchises not in New York did not factor in. We also tried to keep the players from teams that are still currently active and in New York, although one exception was made. The four cities have nothing to do with the players placed in them, they instead were put in to replace the NCAA’s regions of Midwest, West, South, and East. Sorry Staten Island, wasn’t any room for you guys. This also did not include the Devils or any Buffalo teams. Sorry Jim Kelly and Martin Brodeur. We do not cover them, and it’s “New York” only. Buffalo usually is not considered NY by media, and instead is its own market, and the only reason NJ Nets players are in is because they are now a Brooklyn NY team.

Make sure to vote for all matchups, and you will have until the night of April 6th to do so.

Lets start with the Queens side.

1. New York Giant Lawrence Taylor vs. 16. New York Knick John Starks

Lawrence Taylor career highlights: NFL Hall of Famer, 13 seasons with the Giants, 10 Pro Bowl and All Pro selections, 1986 MVP, 3 time defensive player of the year, 2 time Super Bowl Champion, 1981 rookie of the year, ranked as the third greatest NFL player of all time by NFL.com, has his number 56 retired by the Giants. Second in franchise sack record with 132.5

John Starks career highlights: 14.1 PPG as a Knick in 8 seasons, franchise leader in three pointers made, 7th in steals, 8th in assists, one conference title.

This match up has a clear cut favorite. Taylor is known as one of the greatest ever to play in the NFL, and he spent his entire career as a Giant. Starks though is a fan favorite, known for his passion and desire to win. Could he pull off the upset?

2. New York Yankee Mickey Mantle vs. 15. New York Yankee Reggie Jackson

Mickey Mantle career highlights: MLB Hall of Famer, 20 seasons with the Yankees, 20 time All Star, 7 time World Series Champ, 3 time AL MVP, 1956 triple crown winner, #7 retired by Yankees, 536 career home runs, second most in NYY history.

Reggie Jackson career highlights: MLB Hall of Famer as a Yankee, 5 seasons with the Yankees, #44 retired by Yankees, 144 home runs as a Yankee, 5 time All Star, world series MVP, 2 time world series champ

Jackson had five amazing years with the Yankees, earning the nickname Mr. October for his excellent postseasons.  Mickey Mantle though, was absolutely dominant and a baseball legend. This one should be his.

3. New York Ranger Mark Messier vs. 14. New York Yankee Andy Pettitte

Mark Messier career highlights: Captain of 1994 championship team, 10 seasons with the Rangers, 7th all time in goals scored (250), 3 time all star, Hart Trophy winner, 6th all time in assists, 5th all time in points.

Andy Pettite career highlights: 15 seasons with Yankees, third all time in career wins, 3 time All Star, all time postseason wins leader, Yankees all time strikeout leader, 5 time world series champion

Messier is an absolute New York legend. His leadership was unmatchable, and he lead the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years in 1994. Pettitte though also though will not be an easy matchup. Pettitte was an integral part of the 90’s Yankees dynasty, and his intimidating pitching style may have him as the greatest Yankee starting pitcher of all time.

4. New York Ranger Brian Leetch vs. 13. New York Knick Allan Houston.

Brian Leetch career statistics: 1994 Stanley Cup MVP, 18 seasons as a Ranger, NHL Hall of Famer as a Ranger, 2nd in Rangers history in games played, 9th in goals scored, 1st in assists, 2nd in points.

Allan Houston career statistics: 10 seasons with the Knicks, Eastern Conference championship, 2 time All Star, 4th all time in Knicks history for FG made, second all time in three pointers made, fourth all time in points.

Houston will have his work cut out for him here. Although he is a beloved Knick, Leetch is arguably the greatest Ranger of all time.

5. New York Yankee Yogi Berra vs. 12. New York Giant Eli Manning

Yogi Berra career highlights: MLB Hall of Famer, 18 seasons as a Yankee, 18 time all star, 13 time world series champion, 3 time AL MVP, #8 retired by Yankees, 5th all time in Yankees history for hits

Eli Manning career highlights: 2 time Super Bowl MVP and Champion, 3 time Pro Bowler, New York Giants All-Time Leader in Pass Attempts, Pass Completions, Passing Touchdowns, and Passing Yards, NFL Record most 4th-quarter touchdown passes in a season.

Berra and Manning are both pure winners, with Berra having 13 rings and Manning having won two Lombardi Trophies. Can Manning stage the upset in this bracket? That is something he’s familiar with.

6. New York Knick Willis Reed vs. 11. New York Giant Michael Strahan

Willis Reed career highlights: 11 seasons with the Knicks, NBA Hall of Famer, #19 retired by the Knicks, 2 time NBA champion and MVP, 18.7 PPG and 12.9 RPG with Knicks, 1970 MVP, 7 time all star, 3rd in Knicks history in points, 2nd in rebounds.

Michael Strahan career highlights: 15 seasons with the Giants, NFL Hall of Famer, 5th in NFL history and Giants all time sack leader (141.5), 2nd for tackles, 2007 SB champion, 2000 NFC champion, 7 time Pro Bowler, holds single season sack record, 2 time NFC defensive player of the year.

Reed is one of the greatest players to ever put on the Knicks blue and orange, leading them to two NBA championships, while Strahan is one of the most feared pass rushers of all time. Who has the edge?

7. New York Knick Earl Monroe vs. 10. New York Yankee Thurman Munson

Earl Monroe career highlights: 10 seasons as a New York Knick, NBA Hall of Famer, 1973 NBA champion, 3 time All Star, #15 retired by Knicks, 7th in Knicks history in points, 16.2 PPG

Thurman Munson career statistics: 11 seasons with the Yankees, .292 average, 7 time All Star, 2 time World Series Champ, 1976 AL MVP, #15 retired by Yankees

Monroe also was a dominant Knick, leading them to a title, while Munson is still a fan favorite. The battle of two number 15’s, who will win?

8. New York Ranger Mike Richter vs. 9. New York Yankee Bill Dickey

Mike Richter career highlights: 14 seasons, NHL Hall of Famer, 1994 Stanley Cup champ, franchise leader in saves, 2nd in wins, 3rd in save percentage, 5th in shutouts, #35 retired by Rangers

Bill Dickey career highlights: 17 seasons, MLB Hall of Famer, 14 time World Series Champion, 11 time All Star, #8 retired by Yankees, .313 batting average

This one is a tossup. Richter was the starting goalie on one of the greatest Rangers teams in 1994, while Dickey had an amazing 14 rings.

Now onto Manhattan

1. Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson vs. 16. New York Met Keith Hernandez

Jackie Robinson career highlights: First ever African American MLB player, 10 seasons in Brooklyn 6 time all star, 1949 NL MVP, World Series champion, #42 retired by the MLB, .313 batting average, MLB Hall of Famer

Keith Hernandez career highlights: 7 seasons as a Met, 3 time All Star, World Series champion, .297 batting average 3rd in franchise history

Robinson was the exception to our current team rule. How could you have an NY athlete bracket and not have Jackie Robinson? Hernandez will need a miracle in this matchup.

2. New York Knick Patrick Ewing vs. 15. New York Knick Charles Oakley

Patrick Ewing career highlights: 16 seasons as a Knick, NBA Hall of Famer, #33 retired by Knicks, 11 time All Star, 2 time Eastern Conference Champion, franchise leader in games played, points, blocks, steals, and rebounds, 22.8 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 1 time all NBA first team

Charles Oakley career highlights: 11 seasons as a Knick, 1 time eastern conference champion, all time franchise leader in offensive rebounds, third in total rebounds, second in steals, 10.5 PPG, 10 RPG

The battle of the big men here, although one has a clear advantage. Despite never winning an NBA title, Patrick Ewing is one of the best, if not the best, New York NBA player of all time.

3. New York Knick Walt “Clyde” Frazier vs. 14. New York Knick Bill Bradley

Walt Frazier career highlights: 11 seasons as a Knick, NBA Hall of Famer, 2 time NBA champion, 7 time All Star, 1975 ASG MVP, 4 time all NBA first team, 7 time All NBA Defensive first team, #10 retired by Knicks, 2nd in franchise history games played and points, 1st in assists, 19.3 PPG

Bill Bradley career highlights: NBA Hall of Famer, 2 time NBA champion, #24 retired by Knicks, 3rd all time in games played, 9th all time in points

The hall of fame teammates will battle this one out. Bradley and Frazier both made up two parts the Knicks championship starting five.

4. New Jersey Net Jason Kidd vs. 13. New York Jet Darelle Revis

Jason Kidd career highlights 8 seasons as a Net, 7 time All Star, 2 time Eastern Conference champion, 3 time All NBA first team, #5 retired by Nets, 5th in franchise history for rebounds, 1st in assists and steals, 4th in points

Darelle Revis career highlights: 6 seasons as a Jet, 4 time Pro Bowler, 2009 defensive player of the year

Revis could be much higher if he hadn’t left the Jets, but now he is back and ready to climb the rankings. Is his past enough for him to overcome Nets legend Jason Kidd?

5. New York Ranger Rod Gilbert vs. 12. New York Islander Clark Gillies

Rod Gilbert career highlights: 17 seasons with the Rangers, NHL Hall of Famer,#7 retired by the Rangers, 3rd in franchise history games played, 1st in goals and points, 2nd in assists, 4 time All Star

Clark Gillies career highlights: #9 retired by Islanders, NHL Hall of Famer, 4 time Stanely Cup Champion, 6 time All Star, 4th in franchise history games played, points, goals, and assists

Two hockey legends battle here. Gilbert had a more decorated career, but Gillies was an integral part to the Islanders four Stanley Cup runs. Is that enough to push him though?

6. New York Islander Mike Bossy vs. 11. New York Knick Dave DeBusschere

Mike Bossy career highlights: NHL Hall of Famer, 10 seasons with Islanders, #22 retired by the team, 4 time Stanley Cup champion, 10 time All Star, franchise leader in goals scored, 3rd in points, 2nd in assists

Dave DeBusschere career highlights: 6 seasons as a Knick, NBA Hall of Famer, #22 retired by Knicks, 2 time NBA champion, 6 time All Star, 7th in franchise history for rebounds, 16 PPG, 10.8 RPG

Bossy is one of the greatest NHL players of all time, and could be even better if he played more into his 30’s. DeBusschere though is beloved for his two titles.

7. New York Yankee Whitey Ford vs. 10. New York Yankee Don Mattingly

Whitey Ford career highlights: 15 years with the Yankees, MLB Hall of Famer, #16 retired by Yankees, 6 time World Series champ, 10 time All Star, 1961 Cy Young winner, 1961 WS MVP, franchise leader in wins

Don Mattingly career highlights-:14 seasons as a Yankee, 6 time All Star, 1985 MVP, 9 time gold glove winner, Yankee captain. #23 retired by team

Ford is arguably the greatest Yankee pitcher of all time. Mattingly, while never winning a ring, was a model of consistency and an all time great for New York.

8. New York Knick Bernard King vs. 9. New York Met/Yankee Daryl Strawberry

Bernard King career highlights: 4 seasons as a Knick, NBA Hall of Famer, 1985 NBA scoring champion, 2 time All NBA first team, 3 time All Star, 2nd all time in Knicks PPG (26.5)

Daryl Strawberry career highlights: 8 seasons as a Met, 5 as a Yankee, 7 time All Star, 4 time World Series Champ, 1983 NL rookie of the year

Both of these players actually played for both New York teams in their sport. Strawberry was great with both, but King was only effective with the Knicks. His time with the Nets was out of his prime.

Onto Brooklyn

1. New York Yankee Babe Ruth vs. 16. New York Jet Larry Grantham

Babe Ruth career highlights: 15 seasons in New York, 2 time All Star, 714 career home runs, #3 retired by Yankees, most home runs in franchise history, 2nd in RBI, 3rd most hits, 4 time World Series champ, 1 time AL MVP

Larry Grantham career highlights: 12 seasons with the Jets, 6th all time in franchise interceptions, 5 time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl Champion.

The Great Bambino is one of the greatest baseball players to ever play. I think I know an early favorite to this one.

2. New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio vs. 15. New York Giant Phil Simms

Joe DiMaggio career highlights: 13 seasons as a Yankee, MLB Hall of Famer, #5 retired by Yankees, MLB record for hitting streak (56), 13 time All Star, 3 time AL MVP, 9 time World Series champion, 4 highest batting average in franchise history (.325)

Phil Simms career highlights: two-time Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP, 2 time Pro Bowler, 1 Pro Bowl MVP, #11 retired by the Giants

DiMaggio is an absolute baseball legend, while Simms was one of the best quarterbacks of the 80’s.

3. New York Yankee Mariano Rivera vs. 14. New York Met Gary Carter

Mariano Rivera career highlights: 19 seasons as a Yankee, #42 retired by Yankees, MLB All Time saves leader, 13 time All Star, 1999 WS MVP,  5 time Reliever of the Year award, 2.21 ERA

Gary Carter career highlights: 5 seasons with the Mets, 11 time All Star, 1986 WS Champ

One of the deadliest pitchers of all time Mariano Rivera vs one of the best catchers in Mets history Gary Carter. Rivera is the favorite here, but Carter is beloved by Mets fans.

4. New York Yankee Derek Jeter vs. 13. New Jersey Net Buck Williams

Derek Jeter career highlights: 20 seasons as a Yankee, 5 time World Series champion, 14 time All Star, 200 WS MVP, all time Yankees hit leader, 1996 rookie of the year, .310 career batting average

Buck Williams: 8 seasons as a Net, 3 time All Star, 1982 Rookie of the year, 16.4 PPG, 11.9 RPG, #52 retired by Nets, franchise leader in games, points, and rebounds

Not many people have the legacy Derek Jeter has left behind. While Buck Williams was a great Net, he will have a difficult path to the round of 32.

5. New York Islander Dennis Potvin vs. 12. New York Giant Frank Gifford

Dennis Potvin career highlights: 15 seasons as an Islander, NHL Hall of Famer, #5 retired by NYI, 3rd in franchise history for goals and points, 2nd in assists

Frank Gifford: 13 seasons as a Giant, 8 time Pro Bowler at multiple positions, 1956 title winner, 6 time all pro, NFL Hall of Famer, #16 retired by Giants

While Gifford was an exceptional athlete, Potvin was the Islanders leader in their golden era that yielded four championships. Good Luck Gifford.

6. New York Giant Emlen Tunnell vs. 11. New York Islander Brian Trottier

Emlen Tunnell career highlights: 11 seasons in New York, NFL Hall of Famer, franchise leader in interceptions, 8 time All Pro and Pro Bowler, 1956 Champion

Brian Trottier career highlights: 15 seasons with the Islanders, NHL Hall of Famer, #19 retired by Islanders, franchise leader in games played, assists, and points, second in goals, 4 time Stanley Cup champion

Tunnell was one of the best ballhawks in the league during his time, but is still largely forgotten. Trottier though is an Isles great. This should be a contested matchup.

7. New York Giant Mel Hein vs. 10. New York Met Jerry Koosman

Mel Hein career highlights: 15 seasons with the Giants, NFL Hall of Famer, #7 retired by Giants, 1938 NFL MVP, 4 time Pro Bowler, 2 time Champion

Jerry Koosman career highlights: 12 seasons as a Met, 2 time All Star, 1969 WS Champion, 3rd all time in franchise career wins

Hein is the only offensive lineman in NFL history to take home the MVP award. Koosman was an excellent pitcher for the Mets, one of the franchise bests.

8. New York Met Mike Piazza vs. 9. New York Giant Sam Huff

Mike Piazza career highlights: 8 seasons as a Met, 7 time All Star, 5 time Silver Slugger winner, 4th highest average in franchise history, 3rd most home runs

Sam Huff career highlights: 8 seasons as a Giant, 4 time Pro Bowl, NFL Hall of Famer, 4 time All NFL First team, 1956 Champion

Piazza is one of the greatest hitting catchers to ever play in the majors, and has been robbed of a HOF election for two consecutive years now. Huff though, was one of the Giants who anchored their championship teams before the Super Bowl was created.

Last but not least, the Bronx

1. New York Yankee Lou Gehrig vs. 16. New York Ranger Henrik Lundqvist

Lou Gehrig Career highlights: 17 seasons, MLB Hall of Famer, #4 retired by Yankees, Yankee captain, 7 time All Star, 6 time World Series champion, franchise leader in RBI’s, second in hits, batting average, 1934 triple crown winner

Henrik Lundqvist: 10 seasons, franchise leader in wins and save percentage, 2014 Eastern conference champion, 3 time All Star, 2012 Venzina Trophy winner.

The Iron Horse. Lou Gehrig is more remembered for his streak and disease nowadays, but he was a terrific ballplayer too. Lundqvist is a Ranger great, but his lack of a ring will hurt him here.

2. New York Jet Joe Namath vs. 15. New York Jet Mark Gastineau

Joe Namath career highlights: 10 seasons as a Jet, NFL Hall of Famer, Super Bowl 3 champion and MVP, #12 retired by Jets, 5 time Pro Bowler, franchise leader in touchdowns and yards thrown

Mark Gastineau career highlights: 9 seasons as a Jet, franchise leader in sacks, 5 time Pro Bowler and All Pro, 1982 defensive player of the year

Two all time great Jets. Namath led the Jets to their only Super Bowl Title, while Gastineau was a terrorizing pass rusher in his time with the Jets. Namath has the edge here.

3. New York Met Tom Seaver vs. 14. New York Ranger Adam Graves

Tom Seaver career highlights: 11 seasons as a Met, MLB Hall of Famer, #41 retired by Mets, 10 time All Star, 1969 WS Champion, 3 time Cy Young award winner, franchise leader in wins.

Adam Graves career highlights: 10 years as a Ranger, 2 time All Star, 3rd all time in franchise history for goals scores, #9 retired by Rangers

Seaver was excellent in his time playing at Shea Stadium. Graves was a Ranger great, can he beat out Seaver though, one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history?

4. New Jersey Net Julius Erving vs. 13. New York Giant Tiki Barber

Julius Erving career highlights: 4 seasons as a Net, 4 time ABA All Star, 2 time ABA Champion, 4 time all ABA first team, NBA Hall of Famer, #32 retired by Nets, 28.2 PPG as a Net

Tiki Barber career highlights: 9 seasons as a Giant, 3 time pro bowl, one of three players with 10 thousand rushing yards and 5 thousand reception yards, franchise leader in rushing yards and touchdowns

Although his tenure was short, Erving helped popularize the Nets franchise and get them into the NBA. Barber, while he’s been unpopular sine his retirement, he was excellent on the field.

5. New York Jet Don Manyard vs. 12. New York Red Bull Thierry Henry

Don Manyard career highlights: 12 seasons as a Jet, #13 retired by Jets, 4 time Pro Bowler, NFL Hall of Famer, franchise leader in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

Thierry Henry career highlights: franchise leader in goals and assists, 2013 Supporters Shield winner, Eastern Conference champion twice.

Henry is one of the greatest MLS players of all time, while Manyard is an all time great receiver. Can the lack of MLS popularity at the time Henry was in the league overcome?

6. New York Jet Curtis Martin vs. 11. New York Jet Joe Klecko

Curtis Martin career highlights: 8 seasons as a Jet, NFL Hall of Famer, 3 time Pro Bowler, #28 retired by the Jets, franchise leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns

Joe Klecko career highlights: 10 seasons as a Jet, 4 time Pro Bowler, #73 retired by Jets, 1981 defensive player of the year

Two legendary Jets. Martin a more recent star who followed Parcells to New York, or the ultimate position switching utility defender Joe Klecko?

7. New York Giant Harry Carson vs. 10. New York Ranger Eddie Giacomin

Harry Carson career highlights: 12 seasons as a Giant, NFL Hall of Famer, 9 time Pro Bowler, 2 time NFL first team, 1986 SB Champion

Eddie Giacomin career highlights: NHL Hall of Famer, 11 seasons as a Ranger, 5 time All Star, #1 retired by Rangers

Carson formed a deadly duo alongside Taylor, while Giacomin is one of the greatest goaltenders in Ranger history alongside Richter and Lundqvist.

8. New York Met/Yankee Dwight Gooden vs. 9. New York Yankee Red Ruffing

Dwight Gooden career highlights: 11 seasons with the Mets, 3 with Yankees, 4 time All Star, 3 time WS champion, 1985 Cy Young and triple crown winner, 1984 Rookie of the Year

Red Ruffing career highlights: 15 years as a Yankee, MLB Hall of Famer, 6 time All Star and World Series champion

The dual Yankee and Met pitcher was dominant when at his best, but his inconsistency was a buzzkill. Ruffing is often overlooked, but still a huge part of Yankee history.

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15 thoughts on “Fan Vote: Greatest Athlete In New York Sports History?”

    1. Well that would have to happen eventually anyways if you were to pick the greatest. Just try to look at the legacies the players left, it isn’t that bad.

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    1. Please read the top before you comment that. We mentioned it there. Robinson was the exception to the rule

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  1. Willie Mays not being included is a disgrace. He was the KING of NY for almost 8 yrs before the giants decided to move away…. This was during a time that sooo many immigrants came to the US. He single-handedly converted Cricket fans to Baseball fans. Greatest All-around baseball player of all time. Shame on you.

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  2. I agree. The “Say Hey Kid” isn’t on here. Your bracket is invalid. He’d easily make the elite eight and probably the final four. Ask your parents/grandparents. When I first saw this, the first four names I thought of were Babe Ruth, WILLIE MAYS, Lawrence Taylor and Jackie Robinson.

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