January 19 - The Faces of New York
After attending Mark Messier Night at the Garden last week, I thought it might be
a good idea to propose an addition to whatever will be reconstructed on the
World Trade Center site as a memorial to the victims. This is, in no way, meant
to diminish the people who died that day, but as a way to link them with some
of New York’s sports heroes, who became a part of the fabric of the city, the
way those who died that day will always be.
Maybe there could be a Mt. Rushmore-type of memorial, overlooking
Broadway’s “Canyon of Heroes”, that would permanently symbolize the
contributions of these sports figures who defined their careers by what they did
for our teams. But who goes up there? We’ve had so many legendary
performances by players, coaches, etc. over the years that a foursome of whomever could never be
exactly right. Here are my nominees:
Joe DiMaggio - If we’re going to have one Yankee up there, it has to be him. The grace, the skill, the
pride, he will always be Mr. New York Yankees. He was the leader of the greatest set of Yankee
teams, didn’t try to hang on with diminished skills, always performed at the top of his game.
Walt Frazier - I’ve always thought that Willis’ great entrance in 1970 inflated his value to the franchise,
but it was Frazier who embraced the city, and was the complete player who also made it cool to play
basketball. With basketball so much a part of New York’s culture, everyone tried to be like ‘Clyde’.
Most players still do. Sorry, Willis, Sen. Bradley, Louie, this is the basketball guy who belongs.
Mark Messier - The Captain. Enough said. No apologies necessary to anyone.
Lawrence Taylor - I don’t care if he was high sometimes, he symbolized the Parcells-led Giants in
their best years. His toughness and leadership paved the way for championship-caliber teams and
he defined his position, then and now. How many players can say that?
Honorable Mention - Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, Tom Seaver, Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing, Bill
Parcells, Frank Gifford, Phil Simms.
Now, let’s get it done.
Who do you think should be on the New York sports Mount Rushmore? E-mail us your