As a diehard Islander fan, the number 11 is a tough one to write about, so let me get it over with. Here are the nominees from each team:
Mark Messier (Rangers), Wayne Merrick (Islanders), Brett Gardner (Yankees), Phil Simms (Giants), Jim Turner (Jets), Wayne Garrett (Mets), Brook Lopez (Nets), Derek Harper (Knicks)
Mark Messier is the easy choice. After a long 54 years, during which Ranger fans saw their rivals in Long Island win 4 straight Stanley Cups, and 19 Straight Playoff Series, Messier brought the cup back to Broadway as the Captain of the 1994 Stanley Cup winning team. Messier guaranteed victory for the Rangers, and lived up to what he told reporters to expect, ending the chants of “1940” which were sung in every arena prior to their cup win. Over his 10 year Career with the Blueshirts, Messier scored 691 points in 698 games. His number 11 is hanging in the rafters of MSG.
Honorable Mention: Phil Simms
The two time Super Bowl winner (one Super Bowl MVP) played his entire 15 year career with the New York Football Giants, winning the 1986 MVP title. A two time pro-bowler and a First Team All-Pro in 1986, Simms could have been the best number 11 if the Rangers hadn’t gone without a Cup for 54 years until Messier won one with the Blueshirts. However, Simms is one of the best Giant QBs to ever play the game, and his number 11 will never be worn again by a Giant.