Ten greatest athletes in Toronto sports history

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Joe Carter among Toronto's greatest
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Joe Carter will forever be remembered for his game-ending HR in the 1993 World Series. (Getty)

Editor's note: YCN contributor Ryan McNeill has compiled his list of the 10 greatest athletes for Toronto. Readers will determine by poll (upper right side of the page) who's No. 1. Results will be revealed Saturday, Aug. 3.

Narrowing the list down to the 10 best professional athletes to ever play for a team in Toronto isn't an easy task.

The city, by and large, loves the Maple Leafs, but that team hasn't put a winner on the ice in decades. The Raptors have been around for nearly 20 years, but their best player to ever lace up his kicks was run out of town and deemed a traitor. The Blue Jays won the hearts of this country in the early-'90s, but they have struggled to regain any sense of relevance since then. The only team to have success recently is the Argonauts -- and they play in a league cared about by few people south of the border.

Ultimately, here's my list of the 10 best athletes in Toronto professional sports history:

Roberto Alomar (Blue Jays, 1991-95)

He was a huge part of the teams that won back-to-back World Series in the early-1990s, and he is the first and only Toronto player to enter the Hall of Fame wearing the team colors.

Joe Carter (Blue Jays, 1991-97)

He ranks third all-time on the Blue Jays in home runs (203), and he hit the biggest home run in the history of the franchise, a walkoff home run against Mitch Williams in Game 6 to secure the World Series in 1993.

Vince Carter (Raptors, 1998-2004)

Yes, I realize he pouted his way out of town. I also realize the fans haven't gotten over him and spit venom at him through their boos each time he returns to play a game here. But he also put Toronto on the map when he won dunk contests, and it can be argued he saved professional basketball here in Toronto. His impact on basketball here in Toronto is unquestioned.

Mike "Pinball" Clemons (Argonauts, 1989-2000)

I can't think of any other athlete in Toronto that has been more beloved. He won three Grey Cups with the Argos as a player and one as a coach. The running joke is that if he were to run for mayor, he'd win in a landslip. Which, considering the Rob Ford right scandal, might not be a bad idea.

Carlos Delgado (Blue Jays, 1993-2004)

Let's just say, in Delgado's 12 years in Toronto, there was never a power outage at SkyDome. Delgado's 336 career home runs with the Blue Jays is tops in club history, and the two-time All-Star hit 30 or more long balls eight times in Toronto. In team history, he also ranks first in RBIs (1,058), runs (889), slugging (.556), OPS (.949) and doubles (343).

Doug Flutie (Argonauts, 1996-97)

Flutie enjoyed most of his notoriety in Calgary and in the NFL, but he did lead the Argos to two Grey Cups. I'll admit that his presence here is in part due to his success in Calgary and in Buffalo, but after being voted the greatest player in the history of the CFL and winning two Grey Cups here, I think I get a little wiggle room.

Dave Keon (Maple Leafs, 1960-75)

He has his number hanging in the rafters of the Air Canada Centre for good reason. He ranks fourth in games played (1,062), third in goals scored (365), third in points (858) and fourth in assists (493).

Frank Mahovlich (Leafs, 1956-68)

The Big M isn't even in the top 10 in games played by a Maple Leaf, but he ranks sixth in goals scored, seventh in points and seventh in goals created (248.4). His four Stanley Cups here in Toronto adds to his luster.

Dave Stieb (Blue Jays, 1979-92)

He ranks first all-time in wins (175) and games started (408) in Blue Jays history.

Mats Sundin (Maple Leafs, 1994-2008)

Sundin is in the top 10 all-time in games played (989), goals (420), points (987) and assists (577). The only knock is that his teams never enjoyed a lot of success in the playoffs.

Did I leave someone off this list? Have a problem with someone on this list? Leave a comment below to have your opinion heard.

Ryan McNeill lives in Toronto and has been covering the Toronto Raptors with media passes since the 2007-08 season. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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