Young Talent in Sports: Who Has a Chance to be the Best? – Part 2

Posted: July 12, 2011 by mceagle611 in Sports
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Who is the next great? A common question in the sports world that I have seen argued many-a-time by the biggest sports nuts because some people believe that an emerging young talents could possibly be the next great in their respective sport…others not so much. That may sound quite a bit confusing but allow me to give you an example. After his unbelievable performance in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, swimmer Michael Phelps claimed a record 8 Gold Medals – setting 7 World Records and 1 Olympic Record – and many tried to prove that he was the greatest swimmer to ever walk God’s Green Earth. Others saw Mark Spitz tear apart his competition in the 1972 Munich Games where he was able to obtain 7 Gold Medals accompanied by 7 World Records; many were up in arms about the topic and it has sparked quite a bit of controversy. So the idea crept into my head that I might compare the greats of major professional sporting to their young, ‘yet to do much for their sport’ counterparts in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and PGA; enjoy the argument and chime in with some comments below! Revisit my Part 1 Argument for Derrick Rose and Cameron Newton whom are two talented, aspiring athletes.

Professional Golf Association – Young Talent: Rory McIlroy – The Northern Ireland Phenom has been receiving a lot of credit for his most recent victory at the U.S. Open at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md, but does he really deserve it? Would you not really think that this kid is special at golf if he was being compared to the likes of Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Jones, and Jack Nicklaus? I most certainly would. Let me say that McIlroy certainly has the most beautiful stroke in the game right now and it is extremely consistent; nobody can argue that. However, let’s focus on something that all the greats can do that McIlroy really has not shown us yet; performing in the clutch and winning under pressure. The greats in the sport of golf can do it when it counts, and sure Rory did dominate in the Open but I can’t really say that he should be considered one of the greatest until he proves that he can win when someone is breathing down his back at a Major Championship.

McIlroy, despite being twenty-two, has demonstrated that he will be better – hopefully – in one aspect than Tiger or Jack; his public image tops them all. I really do not blame the public for being so supportive of this kid because a story broke – just before he won the U.S. Open – that McIlroy had spent a few days helping Unicef in struggling, third-world countries. The fans love to see a figure who does not have a big ego, they love a guy who does not only donate his money but his time.

Despite this story, it really drives me crazy when people already say that McIlroy is becoming the next Tiger Woods because he is not even close yet. McIlroy has one, Tiger has fourteen, and Jack has eighteen, so he still has quite a way to go! He does have the potential but I am in no real true seat to make the judgement on whether McIlroy will end up in the realm of all the greats of this game because there have been so many other careers that have begun with such promise and have not really gone anywhere. Oh, and let’s not lose sight of the simple fact that Tiger, Jack, and Arnold are all American! McIlroy is European, even though he is doing wonders for the game he is still the enemy. America’s threshold over Golf is slipping; ask yourself are the McIlroy-led Europeans about to take control of Golf? Maybe we will find out this weekend at the Open Championship.

Major League Baseball – Young Talent: Stephen Strasburg – The “most-hyped pick in draft history” – said by ESPN – and the “most hyped and closely watched pitching prospect in the history of baseball” – said by Sports Illustrated – both refer to possibly the next great thing in Major League Baseball; Stephen Strasburg. In his MLB debut Strasburg set a Washington Nationals record of 14 strikeouts – falling one short of the most strikeouts in a MLB Debut of all time – and threw seven innings accompanied by two earned runs and no walks allowed…that is not even the best part. Strasburg threw 34 of his 94 pitches at 98 Miles per Hour or Faster! An unbelievable spectacle, I’m not even sure if Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson had done something like that in the entirety of his career.

The most intriguing part of Strasburg’s case, however, is that his teammate – Bryce Harper – has been considered by many to, also, be the next great thing in baseball; go figure! His pitching repertoire makes him perhaps one of the hardest to hit pitchers in all of baseball; he throws a two-seam and four-seam fastball, a curveball/slider “the slurve“, and the infamous circle change-up. Strasburg did not pitch this year due to his extensive recovery from Tommy John Surgery, but you should definitely expect him to be an All-Star as well as an elite player in the League for years to come. Strasburg will be the guy in the National’s organization and the fan favorite – as Bryce Harper has been said to have a big ego.

His stats last year only show the precipice of what he could do in baseball, and only time will tell if he has what it takes to be matched up with the greats – Roger “The Rocket” Clemens, Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Bob Feller, etc. Now do I think he has what it takes? Most certainly yes, of all the young athletes we have analyzed in this two-part series Strasburg – in my completely unbiased opinion – has the most upside. However, only time will tell if he will be compared to the greats when he retires from America’s National Past-time.

  1. […] that were unforgettable, but this was on the biggest stage – a must have three ball. All Derrick Rose – 2011 NBA MVP – had to do was make two free throws (uncontested) and Chalmers hit one of the […]

  2. […] : The Favorite – Rory McIlroy (Read about the Young Prodigy HERE), The U.S. Women’s Soccer team, Alberto Contador, and Jose Bautista in the […]

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