Rushin Index: Top Tims of all-time

Wednesday July 17th, 2013

San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum has won two World Series, two Cy Youngs and last Saturday threw a no-hitter.
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He threw a no-hitter on Saturday after inventing the Internet and perfecting the crossover dribble. He won four NBA titles and dominates the sports jibber-jabber on ESPN's manifold platforms even when -- especially when -- he's not playing.

He's one of the most famous characters in Dickens, inspired The Replacements' first album and has recorded -- so far -- 25 number one country singles. In his spare time, he's the CEO of the world's most valuable company and, until recently, was Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is, of course, Tim. Or rather: They are Tims, every one of them.

So why do people think of Tims as timid and timorous? The English novelist Will Self thought his countryman Tim Henman, who made six Grand Slam tennis semifinals, would have been more successful as a non-Tim. "There's a prejudice against people called Tim," Self wrote. "True, it's not on a par with racism, sexism or homophobia but there's little doubt that your life chances will be constrained should your otherwise risk-averse parents have had the temerity to Tim you."

But this is baloney. (Or rather, Salami, the name of Tim Van Patten's character on The White Shadow.) Tims are high achievers. They put the "tim" in intimidation, to judge by the following roster: It's our All-Time, All-Tim Team, listed in reverse order of greatness.

14. (Tie) Tim Thomas, Tim Thomas

If you're like me, you frequently mistake Tim Thomas for Tim Thomas, and vice versa, though the pair has nothing in common (except occasional goaltending). One is 6-foot-10 and played 13 seasons as an NBA forward, the other is a foot shorter and has played seven seasons as an NHL goalie, winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and promptly declining to visit the White House on political grounds.

12. Tim Tebow

Of this current Patriot and ubiquitous NFL jack-of-all-trades there is little left to say, a fact that prevents no one from continuing to say it, almost without pause.

11. Tim Horton

His name was engraved on four Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and is now emblazoned on the boards of NHL arenas, advertising his eponymous and wildly successful chain of donut shops called "Tim Hortons" (inexplicably bereft of a possessive apostrophe). The donut holes there are called Timbits. Horton died in 1974 in a high-speed, single-car accident while driving a De Tomaso Pantera home from a Leafs-Sabres game, at age 44, in his 24th season in the league, and was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame three years later.

10. Tim Wakefield

Often unhittable, occasionally unmissable, Wakefield won two World Series with the Red Sox while throwing a knuckleball that floated like a butterfly and, let's not forget, stung like a bee: He twice led the league in hit batsmen.

9. Tim Howard

In making the leap from MLS to Manchester United -- and onward to Everton and the U.S. national team -- Howard raised the profile of American soccer while also two-Timming the Toffees with former teammate (and current New York Red Bull) Tim Cahill.

8. Tim McGraw

Son of Tug McGraw, husband of Faith Hill and subject of the first single of the first album by Taylor Swift, McGraw's baseball connection gives him the slight edge over Timbaland for the list's single music slot, and a narrow lead over Tims Conway, Allen and Burton among showbiz Tims.

7. Tim McCarver

He called his 22nd and final All-Star Game on Tuesday, and will work his 24th and final World Series this fall, his time on TV obscuring the 21 seasons he played in the big leagues. But many of those were at a very high level, not least in 1967, when his Cardinals won the World Series and McCarver was runner-up as league MVP.

6. Tim Hardaway

His killer crossover, also known as the UTEP two-step, broke ankles and new ground among NBA point guards, a job title now held by his son Tim Jr., drafted in June by the Knicks. In 2007, Tim Sr. issued a homophobic rant on the radio, for which he has apologized repeatedly and, by all accounts, sincerely.

5. Tim Lincecum

In six-and-a-half seasons in the big leagues, he's won two World Series, two Cy Youngs, led the National League in strikeouts three times, led the league in losses once, was banished to (and unbanished from) the bullpen, earned $64 million in salary and -- last Saturday -- threw a no-hitter on 148 pitches. We'd understand if he went by his middle name -- LeRoy Lincecum sounds like a baseball player—and so he gets extra credit for sticking with Tim.

4. Tim Raines

The best Tim on baseball's most Tim-intensive franchise, Raines surpassed ex-Expos Tim Wallach and Tim Foli in 23 big-league seasons, and he may yet join Smiling Tim Keefe -- a 19th century pitcher -- as the second Tim honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

3. Tiny Tim

Not the ukulele-playing singer of "Tiptoe Through The Tulips", but young Tim Cratchit, who made Scrooge see the error of his ways in A Christmas Carol and was saying "God bless us, every one!" long before Tim Tebow.

2. Tim Duncan

Yes, he's won four NBA titles (and just narrowly missed a fifth), was twice named the league's MVP and may be the best player ever to play his position, but what really sets Duncan apart is his utter indifference to the obligations of show business, shuffling off the stage at the end of each performance like a film actor before appearing again at his next scheduled showtime. Which is, of course, more than enough.

1. Tim Berners-Lee

All he did was invent the very medium on which you're reading this, the World Wide Web, without which -- true -- there would be no cat videos, Viagra spam or Sunday afternoon e-mails from your boss. But neither could you watch the Major League Baseball game of your choosing in a hammock, buy a 35-year-old Reggie! bar on eBay or see, at the stroke of a finger, a comprehensive taxonomy of the world's most famous Tims. Reason enough to make him the top Tim of all-time.

Rushin Index: Top Robinsons
Rushin Index: Top Super Bowl Joes
Rushin Index: Top Bobs
Rushin Index: Top Johans
Rushin Index: Top Georges

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