The Discovery Channel in the US is set to announce its choice of the all-time Greatest American next Sunday. Despite my campaign on this website earlier in the year, Bart King is, disgracefully, not among the final five nominees. Indeed he wasn't chosen in the top 100.
The greatest cricketer the United States ever produced, and thus the greatest sportsperson in American history, King was snubbed by Discovery Channel viewers whose choices for the top 100 included Hugh Hefner, Martha Stewart, Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson and FOUR members of the Bush family.
Just two sportspeople made the top 25: Muhammad Ali and Lance Armstrong. (Other sporting figures in the top 100 were Brett Favre, Michael Jordan, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth and Tiger Woods. Yes that Brett Favre.) Neither Ali nor Armstrong could make it to the Top 5.
Surely Bart had the credentials to top them all. Consider some of his achievements:
- In a first-class career spanning nineteen years (1893-1912) he took 413 wickets at 15.65 and scored 2134 runs at 20.51 - achievements no other American has matched;
- He topped the bowling averages in the 1908 English season whilst on tour with the Philadelphia side, taking 87 wickets at 11.01;
- He took 10-53 in the first innings of Philadelphia's crushing innings victory over Ireland in September 1909;
- He scored 98 and 113 not out for Philadelphia against Surrey at The Oval in August 1903 (as well as taking six wickets for the match);
- He was a member of the last team to beat Australia in a first-class match on American soil, taking nine wickets in the match for Philadelphia in September 1912;
- He played in Philadelphia teams which defeated Australia on three separate occasions. Not even Bangladesh has done that.
Surely a great American who could stand alongside the likes of the official final five nominees, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and George Washington.
Well, certainly alongside Ronald Reagan.