The Mightiest Mestizo
April 29, 2012, 01:07 AM
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It's universally assumed that as the Mexican-American population increases, integration and assimilation will ensue. Yet, I keep recalling great Mexican-American athletes of the past, such as Pancho Gonzales, Lee Trevino, and Nancy Lopez, who lack contemporary counterparts.

Recently, an ESPN article "NFL Draft Lacks Latinos" predicted that few Hispanics would be drafted. Indeed, through the first three rounds or 96 picks, there was only one Spanish surname called, and Kendall Reyes is definitely not Mexican.

And this reminded me of a Mexican-American guy of my age from Ontario, California (Inland Empire) who ranks right at the top of offensive linemen in the history of the NFL, Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz. I'm not a football expert, but I typed into Google "greatest offensive linemen" and one article from 2010 concluded its top ten list with:

#1 Greatest NFL Offensive Lineman of All Time: Anthony Muñoz 
Anthony Muñoz is the greatest offensive lineman of all time. At left tackle, Muñoz was the total package of size, strength, athleticism, and technique. In the passing game, Muñoz routinely shut down the game's best defensive ends and outside linebackers. In the running game, Muñoz could wall off his man for two counts, throw him onto the ground, and rumble downfield to wreak havoc on pesky linebackers and defensive backs. As a receiver, Muñoz also hauled in four touchdowns on tackle-eligible plays during his 13-year career as a Cincinnati Bengal. Anthony Muñoz mastered, perfected, and dominated his position as well as any man that has ever played any sport. Anthony Muñoz—the Gold Standard franchise left tackle.
A lot of top ten lists on the Internet are content farm produce. There aren't many statistics on offensive linemen, so there's no way to conclude the argument over who was the greatest ever. But Muñoz is definitely in the argument, and might well be the favorite.

This is kind of weird when you stop and think about it. Because of the huge increase in population, there ought to be more famous Mexican-Americans today in more different fields than there were in the past, but it doesn't really look like that, does it?