Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Ten most loyal Chicago athletes

Well Mass Hysteria took over the site last Friday and in the process, showed all of us Chicago fans up. Boston won, though to nobodies surprise, and they could/should have just skipped the whole "list" process and gone to the main reason; The Celts are significantly better than the Bulls. But they did a fantastic job in the process, so thanks guys.

Anyway onto my list. Every fan loves the loyal athlete, the one who has been around for years and has no desire to leave. Below are a few athletes; some present, many from the past who are always remembered for being there for their team and their fans.

10. Ozzie Guillen
This might come as a shocker to some, but I feel Ozzie acts how he acts and demands the best out of his players because he does not want to disappoint anyone, including his fans. He respects Reinsdorf and his relationship with Kenny Williams is one of the best manager/GMs in baseball.

9. Paul Konerko
While he might be on the way out via trade, Paulie is one of those guys who will live in Sox folklore forever. After an impressive 2005 season, which included a monstrous World Series in a contract year, the Angels were willing to pay roughly another $5-10 million for the same amount of seasons and turned it down to stay on the South side. While he had a disappointing 2008, it is hard to ever get upset with his play.

8. Scottie Pippen
"No tip Pip" was not one more liked guys off the court as the nickname signifies. But after constant feuds with Jerry Krause about contract situations (where he was continuously given the shaft), the last place people thought he would want to finish out his illustrious career would be in Chicago. But after Krause was shown the door Scottie made a return to the Bulls in the 2003-04 season shortly before retiring.

7. Chris Zorich
The Chicago-born Zorich excelled at Vocational on Chicago's South side. He stayed in the area and chose Notre Dame where he was moved to the inside of the line. But it was when he was a member of the Bears that a true sense of loyalty showed. Nobody played harder on the field and off the field he is considered a one of the nicest guys, continuously giving money to those in need.

6. Harold Baines
Baines came back to Chicago on multiple accounts, the city he felt most at home. He was traded in 1989 for Wilson Alverez and Sammy Sosa and had no hard feelings. In exchange the Sox retired his number later in the season. He returned to the Sox in 1996 from Baltimore and again in 2000 from Cleveland. Probably the greatest Baines moment was when he was commemorated with a statue in center field earlier this season, where he broke down in appreciation, feeling that this was comparable to making the Hall of Fame.

5. Walter Payton
Nobody gave it up more on the field than Sweetness. The greatest running back in the history of football spent his entire career as a Bear. His family still raises money for Cancer research. The Soldier Field ceremony after his death in 1999 was one of the most emotional moments in sports history.

4. Ryne Sandberg
One of the greatest second-basemen in history, Ryno was always liked by fans. What makes Sandberg so loyal is that instead of getting a higher coaching position pretty much anywhere else, Sandberg opted to manage Class-A Peoria so he could stay in the organization. While he recently had problems including a brawl this Summer, Sandberg could eventually become manager of the team that gave him the fame.

3. Mike Ditka
Da Coach is maybe the most beloved man in sports in Chicago history. His brash demeanor symbolizes the city. But Iron Mike shows his loyalty every Sunday during the football season, when on Sunday Countdown, he chooses the Bears over whoever the opponent may be. Ditka has been affiliated with multiple fundraisers.

2. Ron Santo
All jokes aside, nobody shows more loyalty to the Cubs than #10. While actually finding out what is occurring in the game might be difficult by color commentary, his pleasure or displeasure towards a particular play typically sum up what is going on. After all, Santo still cries when discussing the fallout of the 1969 season. I have said this before on the site that I have never heard more excitement than Ron explaining the final out of the 2008 NL Central clincher than simply yelling "YES" as loud as he could.

1. Denis Savard
The epitome of loyalty. Dennis Savard is one of the most appreciated Blackhawk of all-time. After playing in Chicago in the 1980's, he returned to the squad in the mid-90's to finish his career as a Hawk after a few seasons in Montreal and Tampa. That alone would have put him on this list. After two rebuilding season in 06-07 and 07-08, he was fired before he got a chance to take this promising team to a playoff spot. But Denis did not seem too upset and gladly took the Blackhawks ambassador position he was given. The fact that he has no hard feelings is probably what made him the most loyal athlete in Chicago history.


Anonymous said...


GP said...

Billy Pierce and Minnie Minoso could also be included, both of whom could be seen regularly at the cell, remaining dedicated to the White Sox,after they were traded late in their careers.

Walt said...

How about John Paxson?

Phil Barnes said...

He might have had a chance on the list if he actually had any desire to keep his job. Paxson would not have been a bad choice either though

Anonymous said...

Butkus and Tom Thayer.

Anonymous said...

And I know he's gone now but Kerry Wood, Mark Buehrle, and Olin Kruetz. These guys all passed on a lot of money to stay here and have been intricate members of their respective team's individual successes.
Ben Wallace does not qualify in this category.