Siena College recently took a poll of New Yorkers to find out who they think the greatest athlete in the history of New York sports is. Now, off the top of my head, the first players that come to my mind are: Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Joe Namath, Joe DiMaggio, Tom Seaver.
Nope, none of those six sports icons won it. It was won by...Derek Jeter.
Bloody hell. You've got to be kidding me.
Jeter is a better athlete than The Babe? The Mick? Tom Terrific?
I know how worthless these polls can be (I really hate those "Who's your favorite New York baseball team?" polls, but that's another story), but Jeter as New York's Greatest Athlete? My friend Lisa at Subway Squawkers (and a huge Yankee fan) has a good article on this (and thanks to her for pointing it out to me) and notes that 41% of those polled AREN'T EVEN SPORTS FANS! So how in the world can you take this seriously?
More ridiculousness: Carmelo Anthony, who has been on the New York sports scene for about ten minutes, outpolled Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig and Willie Mays (who didn't even make the Top 10). Here is the poll's Top 10:
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: 2%
Jim Kelly 2%
I guess the Siena poll of 801 people took into account the state of New York, with Jim Kelly number 10. (He was a better athlete than Phil Simms or OJ Simpson?)
But Jeter number one? There's not much hope left for New York sports fans out there.