Sports Illustrated is supposed to announce their 2008 Sportsman Of The Year on Tuesday. Obviously I think Joe Maddon should win, but I’ve gone back and looked at every recipient since the award’s inception in 1954 and tried to determine the odds for the 34 nominees that have appeared on SI.com so far.
Past winners have almost always won championships and/or broken major records. Michael Phelps seems like he’d fit the bill best, but he hasn’t been nominated by any SI writers yet (not sure if that’s a prerequisite). Here’s my best shot at the odds for those who have been nominated, with more analysis after:
- 9 to 1 — Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
- 14 to 1 — Bill Russell & Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtic
- 17 to 1 — Rafael Nadal
- 18 to 1 — The New York Giants
- 20 to 1 — The Ryder Cup rookies
- 20 to 1 — The Boston Celtics
- 24 to 1 — Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
- 25 to 1 — Jimmie Johnson, Nascar
- 30 to 1 — Tiger Woods
- 30 to 1 — Padraig Harrington, golfer
- 80 to 1 — The U.S. men’s Olympic volleyball team
- 130 to 1 — Candace Parker, women’s basketball
- 140 to 1 — Dara Torres, Olympic silver medalist (swimming)
- 300 to 1 — CC Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewers
- 364 to 1 — Stephen Curry, Davidson basketball
- 375 to 1 — Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
- 400 to 1 — Central Washington Softball
- 420 to 1 — Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
- 444 to 1 — Barrack Obama
- 450 to 1 — Hope Solo, U.S. women’s soccer national team
- 450 to 1 — Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals
- 480 to 1 — Fresno State Baseball
- 500 to 1 — Bernard Hopkins, boxer
- 500 to 1 — Nick Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
- 500 to 1 — Anderson Silva, UFC
- 700 to 1 — Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Columbus Crew
- 750 to 1 — Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders
- 750 to 1 — Brian McBride, Chicago Fire
- 750 to 1 — Mike Leach, Texas Tech football
- 1000 to 1 — The Anderson Monarchs (girls youth soccer team)
- 1000 to 1 — Joey Cheek, speed skater/activist
- 1000 to 1 — Abhinav Bindra, Air Rifle Gold Medalist
- 1908 to 1 — John Elway, Denver Broncos
- 1908 to 1 — Sportsmen who put aside their careers to serve in the military
Maddon — 13 baseball players and one team have won; no manager has ever won, but 4 coaches from other sports have won.
Nadal — Three tennis players have won, but Arthur Ashe was the only male. Seems hard to give it to him without having ever given it to Federer or Sampras.
Giants, Celtics, US Men’s Volleyball, Fresno State Baseball — Only three teams have won the award collectively, two in the past decade (The 2004 Red Sox, US Women’s Soccer National Team, and the 1980 US Hockey team). What the Celtics or Giants did doesn’t come anywhere close to the ’04 Sox. The Giants certainly won an upset, but it hardly seems to have the Do You Believe In Miracles quality of 1980.
Tiger, Paddy Harrington, the Ryder Cup rookies — Golfers have won seven times. Tiger is already the only athlete to win twice (1996 and 2000), and I don’t see what he did this year as special enough for a third.
Kobe, Bill Russell & KG — Seven NBA players have won; Dwayne Wade did it in 2006, and Tim Duncan and David Robinson shared the award in 2003.
Jimmie Johnson — Only one driver has ever won, (F1’s Jackie Stewart in 1973), but multiple titles might factor in if whoever makes the final call actually believe NASCAR’s a sport and/or will sell enough magazines.
Candace Parker — A woman’s basketball player has never won, but maybe the combination of NCAA, Olympics and WNBA might factor in. I could only see her sharing the award with someone else.
Sabathia and Josh Hamilton — Virtually every baseball player to win broke a major record, won a major award, and/or won a championship. That doesn’t apply to either of these guys.
John Elway (the idea was to asteriskize the selection of Sosa and McGwire in 1998) or athletes serving in the military — Maybe if McCain had won.
The rest — I could only see them splitting the award if they decide to do a weird charity theme, which they only did once (1987)