Numerology nuts are buzzing about the date being 11/11/11. The newly renamed Miami Marlins are getting in on the act by opening the team store at their new stadium at 11 p.m. on 11/11/11. So here's our contribution to a day that is "one" of a kind (at least for the next 100 years) with the 11 greatest athletes to wear No. 11 in the four major sports.
11. Yao Ming
There's a legit case to have Bob McAdoo on this list ahead of Yao. But Yao's impact exceeded pure on-the-court achievement. His influence on the game globally is seismic.
10. Carl Hubbell
The king of the screwball, Hubbell once had a 24-game winning streak that bridged two seasons and in the 1934 All-Star Game struck out consecutively Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.
9. Gilbert Perreault
The center of the legendary French Connection line, flanked by Rick Martin and Rene Robert, Perreault remains the Sabres all-time leading scorer. He retired in 1987 and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1990.
8. Phil Simms
Simms' performance in Super Bowl XXI against the Broncos remains one of the most efficient games in championship history: 22 of 25 passing for 268 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
7. Elvin Hayes
Hayes led the NBA in scoring as a rookie and in rebounding in his second season. He took the Bullets to the NBA Finals three times, winning in 1978 against the SuperSonics.
6. Luis Aparicio
The first Venezuelan inducted into the Hall of Fame, Aparicio won nine Gold Gloves at shortstop and led the American League in steals in nine consecutive seasons. He allowed the White Sox to unretire his No. 11 in 2010 to accommodate Omar Vizquel, also a Venezuelan shortstop.
5. Mike Gartner
Gartner holds the NHL record for most 30-goal seasons with 17. That included 15 in a row at one point, which ties him with Jaromir Jagr for another NHL record. He is sixth on the all-time goals list with 708 -- ahead of Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux.
4. Paul Waner
The longtime Pirates rightfielder had 3,152 hits and a .333 career batting average. Waner's name was back in the news in 2006 when Chipper Jones tied his MLB record, set in 1927, with a 14-game extra-base hitting streak.
3. Isiah Thomas
Thomas led the Pistons to back-to-back NBA championships and Indiana to the 1981 NCAA title. But two of his most memorable individual performances might have come in losses. He scored 16 points in the final 94 seconds of regulation of a playoff game against the Knicks before losing in overtime. In Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals, Thomas, playing on a bad ankle, scored 25 points in the third quarter in Los Angeles but the Pistons lost by one.
2. Norm Van Brocklin
More than 60 years later, Van Brocklin still holds the NFL record for most passing yards in a game with 554. He won NFL championships with two different teams, Rams (1951) and Eagles (1960), and was also a regular punter, leading the league in average once.
1. Mark Messier
Six Stanley Cups, two as the captain, one that ended the Rangers' 54-year drought. Second on the NHL's all-time points list. But numbers can't begin to capture the force and power behind the Messier Glare.
The Next Eleven (alphabetically): Daniel Alfredsson, Paul Arizin, George Bell, Drew Bledsoe, Bob Davies, Larry Fitzgerald, Edgar Martinez, Barry Larkin, Bob McAdoo, Jimmy Rollins, Brian Sutter.
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