I admit your bartender is a bit cranky today. I’m getting a little old for hip language and trendy acronyms.
Like GOAT. Greatest Of All Time. It’s starting to get my goat, if you will.
To me, a goat in sports is the guy who blows his team’s chances of winning. Like Kyle Shanahan, for instance. But that goat is apparently lowercase.
I’m trying to adjust with this GOAT thing. I even used it once or twice. Hey, if I can write about game-winning homers as “walk-offs,” I guess I can get with the times on everything else, too.
The whole GOAT thing comes to mind because, of course, Tom Brady’s heroics Sunday night shoved the GOAT reference down America’s collective throat.
I know there are plenty of Johnny Unitas fans that will ho-hum Brady’s accomplishments. But it’s difficult not to give Brady his due after Sunday’s performance, and after his outstanding career.
It got me thinking, though. Who is the true GOAT of Baltimore sports? It’s an exceptionally difficult call because you need to compare baseball players and football players of different eras. And, potentially, throw in a couple basketball players and at least one Olympian.
You also have to decide what criteria you want to use to do determine Baltimore’s GOAT. What’s the primary requirement, having played the majority of one’s career in Baltimore? Or can the candidates simply be from the Baltimore area? What about Babe Ruth, who probably is the greatest baseball player of all time? He was from Baltimore. But, with the exception of his brief time with Jack Dunn’s minor league Orioles, his biggest accomplishments happened on brighter stages in New York and Boston.
And how about Michael Phelps? He’s the greatest Olympic swimmer of all time. He may be the greatest Olympian of all time. How does what he achieved compare to a Brooks Robinson or a Ray Lewis or a Unitas? And Towson area has to count as Baltimore, right? But what about Aberdeen? Because if Aberdeen counts, well then shouldn’t Baltimore’s GOAT be Cal Ripken Jr., who grew up here and became a Hall of Famer here? He checks both boxes.
Oh, so many questions and just one barkeep.
Several years ago, when I was at The Baltimore Sun, I asked a similar question about Baltimore’s Mount Rushmore. It was hard enough whittling down Baltimore’s greatest athletes to four. And now I’m asking you to give me just one. Up for the task? If so, make sure to explain your reasoning.
Tap-In Question: Who is Baltimore sports’ Greatest Of All Time? Why?