Here's how dumb I am: A while ago, I decided that I would make all my lists match up to the best number in sports. That, in and of itself, is not a terrible idea. Rather than Top 10 lists, which are boring, I would make my lists a different number, one that has some sort of magical connection to sports.
Obviously, the number could have been ANYTHING. I could have said that I was going to do Top 7 lists in honor of Mickey Mantle and George Castanza. I could have done Top 9 lists in honor of Ted Williams, Roy Hobbs and Mia Hamm. I could have done Top 12 lists to celebrate Brady, Namath, Bradshaw and the 12th man. I could have done pretty much anything.
And what did I do? I decided instead that the best number in sports is THIRTY-TWO.
It is true, I think. Thirty-two is Jim Brown. It is Sandy Koufax. It is Magic and Halladay, Carlton and Malone, it is THE number. Thirty-two is also A VERY LONG list. I mean, doing the 32 best sports calls of all time or the 32 best NFL running backs or the 32 best baseball players ... at some point, hours into those lists, it might have occurred to me that my life would be a whole lot easier if I decided that Bill Russell and Stan Musial shared the best number in sports (No. 6). If I had gone with Tommy Lasorda and Derek Jeter (2) I could have been out golfing.* I'm just not particularly savvy.
*This seems as good a time as any to announce that, beginning with the August issue, I will be writing the back page column for Golf Magazine. The point, generally, will be for me to learn how to play golf. You might know that I have not played even most of a round since playing 16 holes at Augusta National in 1992. The potential for destruction and injury is pretty high. There are some plans in the works -- will keep you updated.
In any case, I'm bringing back the lists ... but we're going to try a more sensible list number so that I can actually live a life. I'm going to go with No. 14 -- that's the number of the guy on the cover of my last book Pete Rose. It's also Otto Graham's number, A.J. Foyt's number, Johann Cruyff's number and Bob Cousy's number. That's a pretty cool collection of athletes. And 14, for list purposes, is significantly less than 32.