First of all, I'd like to thank all the people who voted in this year's poll. We had a better response than last year, which is always good to see.
With that said, here's a breakdown of this year's Simply the Best poll results (opinionated comments purely mine):
1. What is the greatest individual achievement by a Capital District native?
1. Jeff Blatnick strikes gold " 47 percent
2. Pat Riley wins five NBA titles " 42 percent
3. Pink Gardner pro wrestler " 6 percent
4. Johnny Podres wins Game 7 " 3 percent
4. Shirley Muldowney drag racer " 3 percent
In the end, this turned out to be a two-horse race, and Funny Cide wasn't involved. It came down to Jeff Blatnick and Pat Riley, and after several lead changes, Blatnick pulled out a slim victory.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to many that this happened. Blatnick's Olympic gold medal in 1984 was one of the best stories to come out of the Los Angeles games, while Riley's five NBA titles (four with the L.A. Lakers, one with Miami) is one of the top coaching achievements in league history. Very hard to choose between the two of them, since both are deserving of this honor.
Three people got write-in votes: Johnny Podres for pitching the Brooklyn Dodgers past the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, Shirley Muldowney for her drag racing skills and Pink Gardner for his professional wrestling achievements.
2. What is the greatest moment in Siena men's basketball history?
1. Beating Stanford (1989) " 47 percent
1. Beating Ohio State (2009) " 47 percent
3. Beating Vanderbilt (2008) " 6 percent
Again, it came down to two events, and again, it ended in a tie. Siena's victory over Stanford in the 1989 NCAA Tournament and the Saints' double-overtime win against Ohio State in this year's March Madness each got the same percentage of votes, while their blowout win against Vanderbilt in 2008 pulled in a distant third.