The Detroit Free Press is officially kicking off its “Greatest of All Time” series in which readers will vote for the best players on the Red Wings, Tigers, Lions and Pistons. The Free Press’s Shawn Windsor explains the contest, which will eventually pick one Detroit sports player winner to rule them all:
Starting today, the Free Press begins its “Tournament of G.O.A.T,” in which you, dear reader, are expected to vote for the Greatest athlete Of All Time from a Detroit professional sports team.
Our tournament runs through mid-July. Which gives you plenty of time to think, to debate, to consider, say, whether former Lions quarterback Bobby Layne was better than former Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell.
But back to that word — greatest. Because it can mean different things.
Are we talking about winning? About greatness relative to the history of a particular position? About skill? About identity?
About what an athlete meant to our region? About how that athlete helped define us through his athletic feats?
If that’s the case, then … it’s got to be Gordie Howe, right? Mr. Hockey. The best all-around player of his generation. Maybe of any generation.
Windsor continues, and the Free Press’s timing is ironic because it’s the second anniversary of Gordie Howe’s passing:
2 years and not a day goes by where we aren’t thinking of you, Gordie. https://t.co/ho3njOzMUy
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) June 10, 2018
Windsor suggests that fans will probably end up voting between Howe, Ty Cobb, Barry Sanders and Isaiah Thomas.
I’m biased, but I believe that no Detroit athlete changed the sport he played like Howe changed his sport, all while playing a physically dominant game for a longer period of time than any other Detroit athlete.