Rivals 2.0

Last week, I wrote an article entitled “Rivals”. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten some response to it that indicates I left some readers confused about how to interpret it. Today, in “Rivals 2.0”, I’ll try not to leave any one in the dark.

I will give you the names of pairs of individuals from various fields of employment. Your job is to decide who is the better person in their area. It’s a game you can’t lose because you are the only one playing. If you want, make up your own pairings in an area you find interesting.

For example, compare these 2 baseball players: Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. Who was the better hitter? What was their finest accomplishment? Who was the better all-around player? IMO, Williams was the better hitter. Each man had a tremendous accomplishment. DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games. Williams hit over .400 (ie, .406 –the last man to do so). But DiMaggio, a fine fielder, was probably the better all-around player.

Here are more pairs of individuals to think about in comparison.

 

 

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison.

 

 Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando (pictured).

Brando 

 

Katharine Hepburn (pictured)   and Meryl Streep.

 KHepburn

 

Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.

 

Serena Williams and Billie Jean King (pictured).

BJK 

 

Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps.

 

Jim Brown (pictured)  and Walter Payton.

JBrown

 

Larry Bird and LeBron James.

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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