Derek Jeter Tops Babe Ruth as Favorite New York Athlete, Siena Poll Shows

Shortstop Derek Jeter was named the greatest New York athlete of all time, besting fellow Yankee Babe Ruth, according to a Siena College poll.

Two other Yankees, outfielders Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, and Jets quarterback Joe Namath filled out the top five in the polling of 801 New York state residents, followed by the Knicks’ Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony, the Siena Research Institute said in a statement.

Jeter, who needs 74 hits to become the only player to tally 3,000 career hits all while in a Yankees uniform, received 14 percent of the vote, including 17 percent of the female vote and 10 percent of the male vote. Ruth, the Hall of Fame home run hitter and one-time pitcher who retired in 1935, received 11 percent of the overall vote and topped Jeter among New York men with 14 percent. Major League Baseball’s DiMaggio and Mantle, and the National Football League’s Namath all garnered 4 percent.

Jeter, who has spent his entire career with the Yankees, and Anthony, who grew up in Brooklyn and joined the Knicks in a trade from the Denver Nuggets last month, had their strongest support in the 18-to-34 age range. Ruth, who died in 1948, was backed most by 50- to 64-year-olds.

The poll was conducted by the Loudonville, New York, college between Feb. 22 and March 1. It has a plus or minus 3.5 percent margin of error.

While football narrowly topped baseball as the favorite sport of New Yorkers by a margin of 23 percent to 22 percent, the Yankees were the favorite team with 30 percent of the vote. In second were the Mets and National Basketball Association’s Knicks, with 11 percent, followed by the Jets (9 percent), Giants (8 percent), Syracuse Orange (6 percent), Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres (5 percent), New York Rangers (3 percent) and New York Islanders (0 percent, with 1 percent male vote).

Current Issues

In sports questions relating to current events, voters sided with the NFL players 58 percent to 21 percent in their labor dispute with league owners; a majority supported opponents of the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York (41 percent to 39 percent); and 54 percent supported the expansion of instant replay in baseball, with 31 percent opposed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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