Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Every now and then, a fun conversation develops from a question on Twitter that demands to be a Sports Q. Here’s one:
Pound for pound, who is the greatest athlete baseball has ever seen? Mookie Betts or Willie Mays jump out. I’m inclined to say Betts. Trout’s amazing but too thick.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 21, 2019
The key is pound-for-pound, which probably eliminates Mike Trout (listed at 235 pounds on baseball-reference.com, closer to 275 when he’s carrying his wallet). Dave Winfield, a baseball Hall of Famer who also was drafted by the NFL, NBA and ABA, got some votes, but he’s 6-feet-6-inches and 225 pounds. Rickey Henderson (180 pounds) was a popular choice, as were Mookie Betts (180) and Willie Mays (listed at 170, but completely jacked for his time).
My initial vote ignored the pound-for-pound part. Bo Jackson is the best athlete I’ve ever seen by a significant margin, especially on a baseball field. He was listed at 220 as a baseball player and 227 during his fleeting football career, but even with that handicap of size in a debate with pound-for-pound parameters I’d still vote for him. That’s how awesome he was. I suppose Deion Sanders (195) belongs in that conversation too.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I should change my vote. The best player, pound-for-pound, I’ve ever seen is probably Donnie Sadler.
Ah, I’m kidding: It’s Joe Morgan, winner of back-to-back MVP Awards in 1975 and ’76, ignitor of the Big Red Machine dynasty, and a complete player whose patience/power/speed combo was ahead of its time.
Look at his baseball-reference page and tell me Morgan isn’t one of the most underrated true superstars of all-time. Not bad for a 5-foot-7, 160-pounder who actually looked that small but played so much bigger
In retrospect, Morgan was an obvious choice. But what does everyone else think? Who is the greatest athlete baseball has ever seen, pound-for-pound? I’ll hear you in the comments.