Who Is The ‘Most Influential’ Athlete In Boston Sports History? [Poll]
With the G.O.A.T. calling it a career, let us take a moment to reflect on some of the icons throughout the rich history of Boston sports. The city has seen its share of Hall of Famers, but which was the most influential to the Boston, and New England, sports world?
- You may be familiar with a few of his accomplishments. TB12 will likely own virtually every passing record until the end of time, won 17 division titles during his time in Boston, guided the Pats to 13 conference championships, nine Super Bowls and won six. Simply put, he led the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever seen and lifted the Patriots from a team on the brink of leaving New England to the second most-valuable franchise in the league.
- The greatest hitter to ever live. Williams swatted 521 home runs during his career and was likely the last player to ever hit north of .400. Unfortunately for Teddy Ballgame, the Sox could never get over the hump despite having the best bat in the game in their lineup. Williams played in just one World Series - the 1946 Fall Classic, which Boston lost in seven games to the Cardinals. Oh, and Williams sacrificed five seasons of his prime to serve in WWII and Korea, so just imagine what the numbers would have looked like.
- Yaz was the centerpiece of the the "Impossible Dream" team in 1967 that reinvigorated a fanbase and really gave birth to Red Sox Nation as we know it today. No Red Sox player has played in more games than '67 Triple Crown winner did during his 23 years in Boston.
- Newly minted Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz's postseason heroics will always be the stuff of legend in our corner of the country. Big Papi played as big a role as any in bringing the Sox back from the 3-0 2004 ALCS deficit against the Yankees to ultimately reverse the curse. Then he went on to play another dozen seasons with the Sox.
- Arguably the greatest champion in North American team sports history, Russell won 11 championships as a player and coach of the Boston Celtics. Saving some of his best performances for the biggest of games, Russell helped put the sport of basketball on the map in Boston.
- Along with help from his on-court rival Magic Johnson, Bird helped bring the NBA from having the finals aired on tape-delay to being a sport that dominated headlines from coast to coast. While the Sox made it to the World Series in '86, Boston was a Celtics town in the mid-to-late '80s.
- His time in Beantown may have been shorter than the others on this list, but Orr reinvented the way hockey was played. He's widely considered the G.O.A.T. Bruins player and more-than-deserving of a place on this list.