As the year ends, I've been thinking about some of the headliners and news makers of the year. In this column over the last six months, I've mentioned a lot of people.
But now I want to mention a few other athletes who I have not really weighed in on yet. My thanks to the editors of the "2001 ESPN Information Please Sports Almanac" for prompting me to come up with this list.
|Pedro Martinez had a major-league-best 1.74 ERA in 2000.|
Two years ago we all went appropriately crazy over Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. They ushered in the new era of offense in baseball which is still in full swing. That's why Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox is such an amazing pitcher. In this era of the long ball and double-digit run totals, Martinez has put together two remarkable seasons in a row. With an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.9 plus a 1.74 ERA that was nearly two runs better than the AL's second-best mark (Roger Clemens' 3.70), Martinez has set a new standard for pitching. We really should be making more of a fuss over him.
It's like Watergate. What did she know and when did she know it? Her husband, American shot putter C.J. Hunter, tested positive for steroids four times. I mean fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me four times and you have to make up a new expression. Unfortunately, her husband's problems overshadowed her remarkable performance in Sydney (three gold medals, two bronze). He even ruined this tribute to her, now that I think of it.
By winning his seventh Wimbledon singles title and 13th overall Grand Slam title, Pete Sampras passed Roy Emerson as the most accomplished tennis champion of all time. I don't know how many more he has left in him. Maybe another Wimbledon. He's just not that durable any more. He also married actress Bridget Wilson this year, something of a grand slam in its own way. Congratulations, Pete, on both accounts.
This quiet British boxer, in his own way, has restored a little bit of the old luster to being the heavyweight champion of the world. His dignity and class, his style and substance, make him a fighter we don't have to apologize for. How refreshing.
He came on the scene like the crazy, willful son of Jerry Jones. Just when Jones had settled in as part of the new NFL power structure, a more daring and individualistic owner comes along and shakes things up. In his brashest move, Snyder charged admission to the Redskins' training camp. People paid, of course, which will only encourage him. Snyder also has some Steinbrenner in him as he put his money on the table to get a winner on the field.
Happy holidays to all. Drive safely and say "thank you."
Coming Tuesday: The rest of my Top 10.