As Tom Brady is set to play in his tenth Super Bowl on Sunday, it’s pretty clear that he’s the best quarterback of all time. And he puts a lot of respect on the “Tom” name. As he continues to dominate, it has me thinking. Which other Tom’s have had great careers?
Continue reading, as I get into some of the “other” great Tom’s in: The Best Tom in Sports History: Some of the Greatest Tom’s to Ever Suit Up.
Let’s Start with Tom Chambers
From the time he first entered the NBA as the #8 pick by the San Diego Clippers in 1981, Tom Chambers was a terrific scorer. He averaged 17 points per game as a rookie, shooting nearly 53% from the floor. It was during his days in Phoenix and Seattle where he truly took off, serving as one of the more dynamic scorers not only for his team, but throughout the entire league.
Chambers had five seasons in which he averaged better than 20 points per game, including a career-best 27.2 during the 1989-90 season. He was selected to four All-Star games, winning the MVP of the midseason battle in 1987. Chambers was an All-NBA selection twice, and was the sixth man for the Suns team that lost to MJ’s Bulls in the 1993 NBA Finals.
Tom Chambers was one of just 46 NBA players to score over 20,000 points. He’s #45 on the all-time scoring list. Quite the career.
Moving on to Tom Jackson
From 1973-1986, linebacker Tom Jackson was part of the Denver Broncos organization. He played in an era where tackles weren’t counted, and sacks didn’t become an official stat until the later stages of his career. So, the only statistics to base his career off of would be touchdowns and fumble recoveries.
Jackson was selected to three Pro Bowls, from 1977-1979. He was a fixture on a pretty stout defensive unit. Jackson recorded 20 interceptions, running three back for scores. He recorded 5.5 sacks in 1983, the second year of the stat’s existence, and another six in 1984.
Denver reached two Super Bowls with Jackson on the roster, in 1977 and 1986. Unfortunately, they lost both of them. But it was a stellar career for Tom.
Can’t Mention Greatness Without Mentioning Tom Seaver
One of the best pitchers to ever grace the diamond, Tom Seaver had quite the career. He was a 12X All-Star, 3X Cy Young winner, and played an integral role in the 1969 miracle Mets winning the World Series. He had a career ERA under 3.00 (2.86) in 4783 innings of work, and won 311 games.
One of the most impressive Seaver stats is that he kept his ERA under 3.00 in each of his first seven seasons in the majors. And in his ninth year, he posted a 2.38 ERA. The Mets version of Seaver was a dominant as they come, and for 10.5 years, he was lights out. He had a few very good seasons with the Reds, but was a little more unreliable.
Seaver returned to the Mets in 1983, though he went just 9-14, with a surprising 3.55 ERA. His career stretched 20 seasons, and he was always among the best in the league. Nobody made the number 41 look as Seaver. It was his jersey for his full career, and he also retired at that age. RIP, legend.
What’s a Tom list without Mr. Heinsohn?
While he went by Tommy in his years as a broadcaster, the name he went by during his playing days was Tom. And Tom Heinsohn was a larger than life human being. He also won eight NBA championships during what was only a nine-year playing career. He made six All-Star games, and of course, is a Hall-of-Famer. Injuries kept it from going longer.
From 1969 to 1978, Heinsohn was the head coach of the Celtics. He guided them a 427-263 mark in those years, and they would add two more championships to the trophy case. Most notable was their 68-14 finish in 1972-73, even though they didn’t finish that one with a championship.
Tom Heinsohn spent over 60 years in the Celtics organization as a player, coach and broadcaster. And there are few to ever be as legendary as he in the booth. His uncensored rants on officiating, and clearly pro-Boston style was polarizing. He rewarded “Tommy Points” during each broadcast to those players who had a significant defensive impact, or series of plays.
He sadly passed away in November, but not without giving us a lifetime of memories. RIP Tommy Heinsohn. We’ll remember him as the best NBA Tommy, and from his days as a player, one of the best Tom’s.
Finishing with Tommy G
The entirety of Tom Glavine’s 22-year career was spent within the NL East. 16 years in Atlanta, five with the Mets, and then one more with the Braves for good measure. 10 All-Star games. Two Cy Youngs. And a World Series title in 1995, in which he was also the MVP. Glavine even won a Silver Slugger award.
Glavine was a five-time 20-game winner during his years with the Braves, with a career-best 22 in 1993. Many folks say that wins are an arbitrary stat, but when you reach the 20+ mark, they become relevant. Glavine had 305 for his career, proving to be a reliable arm for an awfully long time.
In eight career World Series starts, he went 4-3 with a 2.16 ERA, striking out 38 and walking 20 in 58 innings of work. He had a 3.35 career postseason ERA in 218 1/3 innings of work. It’s just shocking that he only won a single World Series title with the Braves. That team should certainly have won more.
As a batter, Glavine racked up 246 hits, including 28 for extra bases. And he recorded his only stolen base during his first Cy Young campaign in 1991.
Not a bad career for the 6’0 southpaw huh?
–Thank you for Reading!
The Best Tom in Sports History: THE Tom
You just read about several all-time sports Toms. And there are plenty of others if you add Thomas and Tommy to the list. If you look past the playing surface and into the broadcasting booth, the list would grow exponentially.
Thank you to Tom Brady for being great for so long, that you could inspire an article like this.