The “Slate” tool to find out the connections between Athletes is WRONG!

You’ve probably seen this page pop up on your Twitter feed today. It’s a cool thing from Slate in which you can find how sports players are connected. For example, they use the example that Tom Brady and Kevin Garnett are within six degrees of each other, due to playing with people who had played with multi-sport athletes.

However, it is far from perfect. For example, it treats Jim Thorpe as two people (a baseball player and a football player), a grave error considering that he is one of the greatest athletes of all time. For another, there is an outright false statement that is seemingly also built into the tool. And I quote:

Hockey is the opposite, as there has never been a pro hockey player who also played top-level basketball, football, or baseball. As a result, hockey is a closed system. But once you get off the ice, it’s possible to link every pro baseball, basketball, and football star.

This is, of course, completely wrong, as there has actually been one player who played both baseball and hockey on the highest level. In fact, I wrote about him at one point: his name was Jim Riley.

Sadly, as of this writing, author Ben Blatt and Slate have yet to fix this. But, I can’t blame them, can I? I mean, Jim Riley is very obscure, and if not for the fact that he is the one person to play in both MLB and NHL, he would have been completely forgotten.

Still, I hope that they fix it. After all, I want to see how all of the ProStars connect together.

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