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Murph: On the three Bay Area athletes who stand alone

© Kelley L Cox | 2021 Dec 6

Jerry, Barry and Steph.

That’s it. Those are the three.

Jerry, Barry and Steph.

Yes, we have our other first-name only icons in the Bay Area — Buster, Joe, Klay, Ronnie all come to mind — but when it comes to the Bay dudes who take a sledgehammer to the record books, only three stand alone.

Jerry Rice, demolishing everything in sight in the NFL.

Barry Bonds, rewriting offensive baseball standards forever.

And now, Steph Curry, about to pass Ray Allen on the all-time three point shooting list either in Philadelphia Saturday, Indiana on Monday or New York on Tuesday — and then running away and hiding by the end of his career.

So, consider this Jock Blog an Ode to Steph, for entering Jerry-Barry territory. You’re living in the penthouse, 30. Then again, we all knew that. It’s just sometimes valuable to sit back and marvel. But in doing the marveling, you come across the other athletes in our midst who made us marvel and — whooo, baby — when it comes to Jerry and Barry, marvel away. They, like, Steph, ran away and hid from the rest.

Kids, put down your fantasy football teams with Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp and Tyreek Hill and let me tell you a story about a man named Jerry. When I tell you his 20 NFL seasons at receiver alone are a record, sit back and gape at the rest, particularly the *gap* between Jerry and the rest:

—- Career TDs: 1. Jerry, 208; 2. Emmitt Smith, 175. Closest active player: Adrian Peterson, 126.

— Career receiving yards: 1. Jerry, 22,895, 2. Larry Fitzgerald, 17,492. Closest active player other than Fitzgerald: Julio Jones, 13,232

— Most 1,000-yard receiving seasons, all time: 1. Jerry Rice, 14. 2. Randy Moss, 10. Closest active player: Fitzgerald, 9.

I could go on and on and on, and not even touch Jerry’s Super Bowl records — receptions, yards and TDs; or postseason — his 2,245 postseason yards 800 clear of Julian Edelman in second.

Heck, the more I dig, the more I realize we should spend every day writing Jock Blogs about Jerry Rice.

Next up in Steph’s roommates of history — No. 25. Cue up the Dr. Dre. Barry Bonds is due up, and he’s probably going to get walked: he holds the top three single-season walk totals of all time, and his 232 walks in 2004 are a tidy 62 ahead of Babe Ruth’s 1923 record. Sorry, Bambino. They’d rather pitch to you than Barry Lamar.

Of course we know about his career home run total (762 to Hank Aaron’s 755), with the closest active players being Albert Pujols (679) and then Miguel Cabrera (502); and the single-season mark of 73, edging out Mark McGwire’s seemingly unstoppable 70. Spare me your PED outrage. He was allowed to play. He played. It happened. The games counted in the standings. Deal with it.

Oh, and seven MVPs is a pretty firm mark. Next closest: a slew of legends with three, including Mike Trout, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle and Roy Campanella. To repeat: the Mick and Joe D — three each. Barry — seven.

And that leads us to Steph. 

He will do a Jerry/Barry number on the three-point total. He already has done a Jerry/Barry on the single-season mark, holding four of the top five. His record 402 treys in 2015-16 should fall by his own hand this year, too. He’s 455 ahead of James Harden on the career list, and though Harden is just 32 and may hang around a little too long for our liking, the safe money is that Steph will exponentially scurry up that ladder.

Point is, you are all witnesses, as I was just saying to my good friend, LeBron. Jerry and Barry are ready to send an E-vite to Steph to join them in the penthouse. Probably one of those sweeping Bay views penthouses down near the Bay Bridge.

The three of them can raise a glass to Bay Area sports history. Cheers, dudes.


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