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Lighthouses - best in your own country at your sport by ridiculous levels

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  • nmrfox
    replied
    Ole Mortenson. Can't think of many or indeed any Danish cricketers.

    Danish Kaneria doesn't count on a number of levels.

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  • Southport Zeb
    replied
    Bart King, an American cricketer who was among the early pioneers of swing bowling. Although much of his cricket was played in Philadelphia club cricket, he made three tours of England with the Philadelphians. In 1908 he topped the English first class bowling averages with 87 wickets at 11.01. Following one of the earlier tours, one county apparently was willing to arrange for him to marry a widow with an annual income of £7000 to try and persuade him to join them.

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  • Bermuda Iron
    replied
    Flora Duffy

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  • diggedy derek
    replied
    Oh all time right.

    djamolidine abdoujaparov is a name I learned to say as a young teenager and have retained the ability to do so for decades without using it, like cycling a bike

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  • Flynnie
    replied
    Originally posted by diggedy derek View Post
    Might Joseph Parker be in with a shout? He's a top ten heavyweight in the world, but I can spot very few other contemporary New Zealand fighters in any division.
    David Tua would probably have something to say about that.

    Yan Gomes is another lighthouse. Sao Paulo - nowhere else in Brazil produces any baseball talent - has somehow produced five MLB players in the last five years. Gomes has been bitten by the injury bug and had a weird slump in form in the middle of his career (possibly due to injuries), but really is quite a good catcher and made the All-Star team in 2017 or 2018, I can't remember.

    There's a few Brazilians (again from Sao Paulo, coincidentally the Japanese capital of Brazil) who have made it to NPB in Japan, but I don't think any have had the impact Gomes has had there. Yuichi Matsumoto had a 16 year career, but he was the Japanese equivalent of a 4A guy, ie not really good enough to stick around in the first team.

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  • seand
    replied
    I'm no expert in Uzbek cycling but I'm gonna suggest the man with one of the greatest names in pro sport Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, the Tashkent Terror. 3 green jerseys in the TdF

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  • diggedy derek
    replied
    Might Joseph Parker be in with a shout? He's a top ten heavyweight in the world, but I can spot very few other contemporary New Zealand fighters in any division.

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  • Flynnie
    replied
    Originally posted by Janik View Post
    Arguably Huga Porta!
    Juan Martin Hernandez was rated as the best full-back in the World, and in the running for the best back overall when he was at Stade Francais and led Argentina to the World Cup Semi-Finals (playing out of position at fly half!). I don't remember if Hernandez was ever voted World Player of the Year, but he was surely close to it for a few years. Porta was far ahead of his teammates at the time, but I'm not sure he was rated as better than his counterpart in the All Blacks/England/France/etc teams of the time. Hernandez was. Ergo, I reckon Hernandez is the best player Argentina has produced.
    Porta is considered an all-time great flyhalf, probably the best flyhalf of the 80s.

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  • ingoldale
    replied
    Originally posted by ingoldale View Post
    I think you could make a good case for Chris Boardman, prior to signing for GAN.
    Add to this Beryl Burton and Nicole Cooke.

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  • ingoldale
    replied
    I think you could make a good case for Chris Boardman, prior to signing for GAN.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    I'm not sure we can have any Argentine rugby player, given the level they've reached generally over the last fifteen or twenty years. I'm not sure who the second-best Argentine rugby player of all time is, but he's definitely not nowhere.
    Arguably Huga Porta!
    Juan Martin Hernandez was rated as the best full-back in the World, and in the running for the best back overall when he was at Stade Francais and led Argentina to the World Cup Semi-Finals (playing out of position at fly half!). I don't remember if Hernandez was ever voted World Player of the Year, but he was surely close to it for a few years. Porta was far ahead of his teammates at the time, but I'm not sure he was rated as better than his counterpart in the All Blacks/England/France/etc teams of the time. Hernandez was. Ergo, I reckon Hernandez is the best player Argentina has produced.

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  • Simon G
    replied
    John Part was for years the only beacon in Canadian Darts - 3 time World Champion between 1994 and 2008. It wasn't until Jeff Smith broke onto the scene at Lakeside in 2015 that another Canadian name became known in the game.

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  • Kevin S
    replied
    Andrey Amador, Costa Rican cyclist? Not sure any others have made the Pro Conti level, let alone been a World Tour / Grand Tour challenger.

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  • Sam
    replied
    I'm not sure we can have any Argentine rugby player, given the level they've reached generally over the last fifteen or twenty years. I'm not sure who the second-best Argentine rugby player of all time is, but he's definitely not nowhere.

    For Argentina it's going to be individual sports, I think. SebastiŠn Crismanich, who won gold at the London Olympics in taekwondo, could well be one. Similarly Paula Pareto, who's got two Olympic medals (one bronze and one gold, plus a fifth-place finish in between them) and loads of Panamerican and South American games titles, is far and away the country's greatest judoka.

    I thought Pablo Cuevas might be a shout for Uruguayan tennis, but I've had a look and there are a couple of others at a similar (if not quite as high) level to the one he reached, a few years before I started paying attention.

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  • nmrfox
    replied
    Garo Yepremian won two SuperBowls. There aren't many Cypriotic NFL players who can boast about that.

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  • Flynnie
    replied
    Originally posted by anton pulisov View Post
    You have to think that Rik Smits would have been even better if he had grown up in a basketball playing environment instead of the Netherlands.
    I think this has been discussed here, because I recall being illuminated to the existence of korfball, but the tallest country in the word having produced exactly one good NBA player is bizarre.

    Smits had good skills for a big man, in particular a pretty nice jump shot IIRC. His main problem was the curse of the ultra tall big man - he was maybe the tallest player ever to have a good career besides Yao Ming - issues with his feet.
    Last edited by Flynnie; 26-03-2019, 19:51.

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  • Kevin S
    replied
    He may have been a back-marker but Chile's only F1 driver thus far is Eliseo Salazar. Clive James here describing his coming together with Piquet in '82.



    Some other Chilean drivers have made it as far as IndyLights in the past decade or so but I don't think anyone has raced in a world- or top-US-level competition.

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  • anton pulisov
    replied
    You have to think that Rik Smits would have been even better if he had grown up in a basketball playing environment instead of the Netherlands.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    Smits and Kubica are excellent calls.

    There is somewhat of a tradition of rally driving in Poland, but no Polish driver has ever won a WRC event, and Speedway is a rather different beast.

    I can't recall ever having heard of Gadzuric, whereas I recall Smits quite vividly.

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  • Flynnie
    replied
    This is a particular fascination of mine, I love the "how the hell did he/she become so good?" type athletes from obscure countries in their particular sport, real sui generis types. Vijay Singh is probably the ultimate example, if any Fijian golfer has broken the world top 500 besides him I'd love to know. Weah is probably the ultimate football example, with Wynton Rufer in 2nd place. Who is the second best New Zealand player ever? Ryan Nelsen? Winston Reid grew up in Denmark, he's cheating.

    I feel like LeMond qualifies but doesn't at the same time, Andy Hampsten is only 7-8 months younger than him and won the Giro in 1988 and was 4th in the Slaying the Badger Tour of 1986 as superdomestique to Hinault and LeMond. And I think He Who Shall Not Be Named still hung on to his World Championship in 1993. It might be more of an example of European cycling discovering that America can produce good cyclists, and the first guy just happened to be fuoriclasse like LeMond. Hugo Porta for Argentinian rugby is another, he's still universally considered the best Argentine player ever and he retired 30 years ago, when Argentina were still a minor rugby nation.

    One 90s Indiana Pacer not mentioned is Rik Smits. The 2nd best Dutch NBA player is probably Dan Gadzuric, who was just a bog-standard big. Smits played almost 1,000 games, was an All-Star, and was the 2nd best guy on those 90s Pacers teams behind Reggie Miller that should have made an NBA finals.

    Robert Kubica for motor racing.



    `

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  • Crystal Staples
    replied
    Jonathan Edwards doesn't really fit - Francis Agyepong, Nathan Douglas and Larry Achike would usually reach triple jump finals during his career.

    Could be wrong but Olympic gold medal winner John Akii-Bua was probably a long way ahead of Uganda's second best hurdler.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Well, if there are two of them, then neither count for this!


    Actually, as a category it is interestingly counter-intuitive. Because it's not about how good the no.1 player was, even if they were really superb. It's more about the level of the next best; if they are anywhere beyond nowhere, then even a GOAT contender like Beryl Burton may be discounted (not that I'm saying she is, I don't know who the other international class Women's bike riders were in the 1960s). Hence why Rachel Atherton, or a personal favourite athlete of mine, Chrissie Wellington, don't get the nod.

    For example, I would say Andy Murray, who was nominated a few times up thread, doesn't belong in this. Not because he wasn't achieving things that no other Brit was capable of, he was, but because he was never alone in being an international class British Tennis player during his career. At the start there was Henman and Rusedski, top 5 players both with significant Slam performances. In the later part there was Edmund and Evans inside the top 100 and of course Konta on the Women's side in the top 10. But even in the middle there was James Ward, a sometime top 100 player and regular playing at least the qualifiers of Slams (which would be my working definition of 'not nowhere' in Tennis terms), whilst the Women had top 50 players in Keothavong, Baltacha (RIP), Robson and Watson. All dimmer lights for sure, but still emitting a clear glow of their own.
    Basically there was a culture of playing the sport that Murray grew from, which meant that some of his international competitors were compatriots. For proper examples of this, we are looking for people playing a sport to a high class (though not necessarily World Champion level, as again it's about the no.2 and not the no.1) that none of their countrymen and women take seriously.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    Ryder Hesjedal

    He had a fifth at le Tour, too.

    Though he also admitted to doping during his career after he retired.

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  • jefe
    replied
    Originally posted by Antepli Ejderha View Post
    For cycling what about Peter Sagan of Slovakia or Steve Bauer of Canada?
    Didn't a Canadian win the Giro a few years ago? Might be him instead of Bauer.

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  • Lobachevsky
    replied
    Reg Harris in the 1950ís

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