Playing Tall: Ben Bishop Spurs Thoughts of Towering Stars

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tmp_28342-EP-140409307-1149579123CHICAGO, IL – He stands six-feet-seven and gets paid to stop pucks from entering the back of the net but Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning has some sort of left leg injury that has kept him from action in these Stanley Cup Finals. Bishop is the tallest goaltender in NHL history and got me thinking of some other athletes who challenged the tape measure.

The term “Twin Towers” was used often to describe a pair of very tall NBA teammates. For a brief moment the Washington Bullets employed a tandem combining to measure an astounding 15′ 2″ – a whole lot of skinny.tmp_28342-RSH9512-1941093653 One hailed from the Sudan and looked like a stick figure of a voodoo doll with bright red lips, and lacked normal athletic grace. He was Manute Bol. The other “tower” was Romanian national Gheorghe Muresan, who stood at the same seven-foot-seven as Bol, and shared the distinction of being the tallest to ever play in the NBA. Muresan, built for contact with a wider body than Bol, had a shorter but more productive career than his Bullets counterpart for one season. There wasn’t an uglier pair than these dudes… outside of the WWF tag team Moondogs.

tmp_28342-Moondogs-horizontal2027105325Only New York Mets historians will remember journeyman reliever Jon Rauch. The 6′ 11″ mountain of the mound is the tallest player in MLB history and earned the distinction with his home run off of roid rager Roger Clemens as the tallest player ever to hit a dinger.

tmp_28342-2003_06_23_DUNCAN_ROBINSON_LARGE.JPG-1158901277Ed “Too Tall” Jones was an old Dallas Cowboys favorite of mine but nowhere near the status Harvey Martin held in my fandom. I’m not sure where Jones falls in regard to tallest NFL players but he wasn’t tall enough to bat down the football thrown by Joe Montana on that fateful January day in Candlestick Park. “Too Tall” even gave boxing a try and won all six of his bouts and even refereed a Battle Royale at Wrestlemania II which I attended at the Nassau Coliseum.

A Norris Trophy and Stanley Cup-winning captain of my beloved Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara is also the tallest player in NHL history at 6′ 9″. One of Mike Milbury’s greatest gaffes when trading Big Zee for flash-in-the-pan Alexei Yashin, Chara owns the fastest slapshot and routinely runs Montreal Canadiens players into all parts of the arena. What’s not to love about that?

Michael Jordon Chicago White Sox Baseball March 14, 1994 X 45811 credit:  John Iacono - staff

Included in this tall list of sports stars are all of those baseball players telling tall tales of steroid use.  Accountability is always in short supply when the likes of Barry Bonds, Raphael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, and Ryan Braun throw other people under the bus in order to hide responsibility for doping.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Let me know what sports stars you think of in terms of height that I may have missed.

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A man amongst men. Cheesy Bruin kicked cancer to the curb - twice. The Cheese Man's a big, tough teddy-bear who survived the Bronx despite being an unabashed Boston Bruins fan and Sargent-At-Arms for Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse. Nuff said. Doctors have taken most of this throat and had to make him a new tongue from thigh-meat (his own) and still he won't shut up about the Bruins, Cowboys, Pirates and Cleveland Cavaliers. And yes, his kids do love him.

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