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What if these athletes had played as long as Gordie Howe?

Can you picture these athletes if they had played as long as Howe to age 51? What would their last playing days card look like? Imagine who they may have faced as an opponent that just doesn't seem possible since they retired so long before that theoretical future matchup.

So what if these athletes had played as long as Gordie Howe?

Mickey Mantle would have been playing in 1982

Sandy Koufax would have been playing in 1987

Thurman Munson would have been playing in 1998

Bobby Orr would have been playing in the year 2000!

Magic Johnson would have been playing in 2010

Mario Lemieux would have laced them up in 2017

Troy Aikman would have been playing in 2017

Barry Sanders would have been playing in 2019!

.............Kobe Bryant would still be playing in 2029.

Comments

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

    Can you picture a 1982 Topps Mickey Mantle card on the Seattle Mariners?

    1987 Fleer Koufax with a baby blue border instead of Dodger Blue and being in a Texas Rangers uniform?

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 22, 2023 6:16PM

    Rudimentary I know...but something like this would have been a cool card...

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,456 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wrapping my thoughts around those dates associated with the players and its insane to actually think that's what it would have been lol

    For some reason the Bobby Orr is the one that shocks me the most

  • RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 792 ✭✭✭✭

    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

  • SoxPatsFanSoxPatsFan Posts: 195 ✭✭✭✭

    I'd imagine that Red Wings fans in the 1960's wouldn't believe Howe would be playing for the Hartford Whalers in 1980.
    Amazingly, just like Nolan Ryan, Howe was still playing very well in his final season.

  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    Howe played in beer leagues in his 60’s, boasting about how he was leading the league in penalty minutes.

    Always wanted to ask Gretzky and Orr if Gordie would hook and slash them with his driver when playing 18.

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  • dontippetdontippet Posts: 2,583 ✭✭✭✭

    And Bo Jackson would have retired in 2015, and would have been a first ballot hall of famer in football and baseball during COVID.

    And, correct me if I'm wrong, but Kareem retired at 52, he would have retired 2 years earlier than he did.

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  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

    @dontippet said:
    And Bo Jackson would have retired in 2015, and would have been a first ballot hall of famer in football and baseball during COVID.

    And, correct me if I'm wrong, but Kareem retired at 52, he would have retired 2 years earlier than he did.

    Bo Jackson is another good one :)

    Jabbar retired at age 41. He would have made it to 98/99. Could have been teammates with Kobe :)

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

    @SoxPatsFan said:
    I'd imagine that Red Wings fans in the 1960's wouldn't believe Howe would be playing for the Hartford Whalers in 1980.
    Amazingly, just like Nolan Ryan, Howe was still playing very well in his final season.

    Yes. Crazy.

    My friend asked me, what about Ryan and Brady? I told them, the exercise loses its luster with them because they played nearly as long as it is lol.

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

    Bob Feller would have pitched in MLB in 1970

    Clemente would have been teammates with Barry Bonds in 1986

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

    April, 2006, 51 year old Mark Fidrych gets the nod for Tampa Bay for his last 'Monday Night' start as they head to a raucous standing room only crowd in Detroit.

    The venerable righty testified in the Senate Steroid hearings this past August, Fidrych quipped, "I'm just a regular guy. I'm on a heavy dose of Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Puffs," drawing laughter from several Senators.

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    Just going by his age in his last season and what year it would be for other players had they played a full season at age 51. Played 80 games in the NHL at age 51. Some of the guys I'm listing could be stretched by a year or so depending on month born etc. If you find an interesting one, shout it out.

    Howe played in the WHA six years prior that 'don't count' in the totals up above. Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭
    edited August 24, 2023 2:01AM

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    . Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

    Speaks more about the league then his age. Look at his 1957-1967 point production in a tougher NHL when he was in his 30’s. When he was in his 30’s he couldn’t match his ppg to when he was 49 years old.

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  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭

    @4for4 said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    . Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

    Speaks more about the league then his age. Look at his 1957-1967 point production in a tougher NHL when he was in his 30’s. When he was in his 30’s he couldn’t match his ppg to when he was 49 years old.

    Still physically 'kicking arse' and taking names to still be skating as a pro at age 49. Gretzky was 'held' to 110 in the WHL and then he put up 137 in his next year that was in the NHL...so it wasn't a rec league :)

    I agree it was a more talented league just 12 years prior when there were only six teams.

  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @4for4 said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    . Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

    Speaks more about the league then his age. Look at his 1957-1967 point production in a tougher NHL when he was in his 30’s. When he was in his 30’s he couldn’t match his ppg to when he was 49 years old.

    Still physically 'kicking arse' and taking names to still be skating as a pro at age 49. Gretzky was 'held' to 110 in the WHL and then he put up 137 in his next year that was in the NHL...so it wasn't a rec league :)

    I agree it was a more talented league just 12 years prior when there were only six teams.

    Absolutely agree.

    The NHL was twice as tough in the original 6.
    1968 expansion weakened it a bit more.

    The 1972-73 WHA draft weakened the NHL a bit more, as did the 1974 new teams.

    The 1979 WHA 4 teams weakened it even further.

    I’d say the Original Six was twice as tough as 1980.
    Gordie still did play well in 80.

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    daltex

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    Just going by his age in his last season and what year it would be for other players had they played a full season at age 51. Played 80 games in the NHL at age 51. Some of the guys I'm listing could be stretched by a year or so depending on month born etc. If you find an interesting one, shout it out.

    Howe played in the WHA six years prior that 'don't count' in the totals up above. Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

    Howe was the best hockey player ever.

    Not the best scorer, not the most dominating, just the best at all aspects of the game for an incredibly long time.

    It's really a shame Orr's injuries curtailed his career, he was amazing.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • waxman2745waxman2745 Posts: 721 ✭✭✭

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:
    Can you picture these athletes if they had played as long as Howe to age 51? What would their last playing days card look like? Imagine who they may have faced as an opponent that just doesn't seem possible since they retired so long before that theoretical future matchup.

    So what if these athletes had played as long as Gordie Howe?

    Mickey Mantle would have been playing in 1982

    Sandy Koufax would have been playing in 1987

    Thurman Munson would have been playing in 1998

    Bobby Orr would have been playing in the year 2000!

    Magic Johnson would have been playing in 2010

    Mario Lemieux would have laced them up in 2017

    Troy Aikman would have been playing in 2017

    Barry Sanders would have been playing in 2019!

    .............Kobe Bryant would still be playing in 2029.

    Think of the matchups that could have been:
    -Koufax pitching to Mattingly, Strawberry, Puckett in the mid 80s, then phenom rookie Gregg Jefferies in his final season in 87
    -rookie Mark Fidrych pitching to Mantle in 1976
    -Munson traded to the Mets in 84 and catching for rookie Dwight Gooden

    Adam
    buying O-Pee-Chee (OPC) baseball
  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    Just going by his age in his last season and what year it would be for other players had they played a full season at age 51. Played 80 games in the NHL at age 51. Some of the guys I'm listing could be stretched by a year or so depending on month born etc. If you find an interesting one, shout it out.

    Howe played in the WHA six years prior that 'don't count' in the totals up above. Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

    Howe was the best hockey player ever.

    Not the best scorer, not the most dominating, just the best at all aspects of the game for an incredibly long time.

    It's really a shame Orr's injuries curtailed his career, he was amazing.

    I had a chance to listen to some of the all time greats on this subject, and those two names always came up, with one name more then the other.

    Here’s what I heard.

    The best ever hockey power play would be Gretzky, Howe, and Lemieux down low, with Orr and Harvey at the point.
    The two most important guys on that power play are 9 and 4.

    Most say 4 would be the most important just because he can outskate everyone else, but Howe would do the most damage in the O zone.

    9&4
    Like you said

    4 once said 66 is the most talented player he ever saw.
    That’s good enough for me.

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  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    If you’re a numbers guy then here are some facts.

    There’s no separation between Howe and Hull in their era.

    There’s no separation between Gretzky and Lemieux in their era.

    McDavid is beginning to get some decent separation in his era, but no one comes close to Orr and other defensemen in Orr’s era.

    Lemieux and Orr just got hurt too much. Shame.

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    daltex

  • daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 24, 2023 11:49PM

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @4for4 said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    . Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

    Speaks more about the league then his age. Look at his 1957-1967 point production in a tougher NHL when he was in his 30’s. When he was in his 30’s he couldn’t match his ppg to when he was 49 years old.

    Still physically 'kicking arse' and taking names to still be skating as a pro at age 49. Gretzky was 'held' to 110 in the WHL and then he put up 137 in his next year that was in the NHL...so it wasn't a rec league :)

    I agree it was a more talented league just 12 years prior when there were only six teams.

    Well, it is always possible that there was SOME growth between ages 18 and 19.

  • daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @4for4 said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @4for4 said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Gordie Howe played 25 seasons, retiring at age 52.
    Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons, retiring at age 46.
    If Ryan plays until age 52, that would be 33 seasons.

    . Keep in mind, at age 49 in the WHA Howe produced 96 points. The following year a kid named Gretzky scored 110 in that same league.

    Speaks more about the league then his age. Look at his 1957-1967 point production in a tougher NHL when he was in his 30’s. When he was in his 30’s he couldn’t match his ppg to when he was 49 years old.

    Still physically 'kicking arse' and taking names to still be skating as a pro at age 49. Gretzky was 'held' to 110 in the WHL and then he put up 137 in his next year that was in the NHL...so it wasn't a rec league :)

    I agree it was a more talented league just 12 years prior when there were only six teams.

    Absolutely agree.

    The NHL was twice as tough in the original 6.
    1968 expansion weakened it a bit more.

    The 1972-73 WHA draft weakened the NHL a bit more, as did the 1974 new teams.

    The 1979 WHA 4 teams weakened it even further.

    I’d say the Original Six was twice as tough as 1980.
    Gordie still did play well in 80.

    There is an argument that once the population gets above a certain size, increasing the number of teams matters much less. There are more than 1,000,000 times as many people in hockey playing countries than NHL jobs. So already an NHL player is one in a million. If we add forty more NHL jobs are we really reducing the quality that much?

    Was there a profusion of third line forwards in 1967 playing on first lines in 1969? Were the top players in 1967 routinely doubling their scoring in 1969?

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