In case this generation of New York sports fans needed a reminder of the cruel passage of time, they received a few obvious ones over the last week.
Tuesday night saw Yankees legend Derek Jeter get the call to the Baseball Hall of Fame, coming one vote shy of unanimous selection.
Just hours after he received his Hall of Fame jersey at the St. Regis Hotel on 55th St, the Giants revealed that Eli Manning would announce his retirement on Friday.
He did just that with a heartfelt farewell at Giants facilities, putting the final brushstroke on a 16-year career that featured two Super Bowl titles and MVP awards.
While their respective Hall-of-Fame credentials might vary, as well as their star power, Jeter and Manning developed into beloved heroes on the New York sports landscape because of their similar demeanors.
They played the role of the quiet superhero, opting to let their play do the talking rather than their mouths.
Within North America’s largest sports market, that isn’t an easy thing to do considering the incessant inquiries from the pesky media.
As two of the most unforgettable and decorated athletes of the last generation in Big Apple sports move further into the rearview mirror, New York looks for its next transcendental star that can attain the same sort of success as Manning and Jeter.
Who might that be? AMNewYork picks one candidate from each local team to accept that torch:
Yankees: Aaron Judge
The slugger is expected to be the next great Yankee after his stellar rookie season in 2017. However, two injury-riddled campaigns have seen a noticeable dip in his production.
He has a similar demeanor to Jeter in that he can handle the New York media with ease. But he won’t enter that upper echelon of Yankees lore until they win a championship.
Mets: Pete Alonso
If his rookie season suggested anything, Pete Alonso is going to be one of the greatest Mets of all-time. His passion for the organization is something that is not seen often as he already accepted his role as the face of the franchise.
Giants: Saquon Barkley
One thing that could work against Barkley is the career-life-expectancy that comes with a running back. However, Barkley is one of the most explosive talents in the NFL when healthy. If Dave Gettleman can build the Giants correctly, he will be a major factor as to why the organization can return to winning ways.
Jets: Sam Darnold
The Jets’ golden boy has been tasked with being the man to deliver the Jets their first Super Bowl title in over 50 years.
If he can do that, he’s catapulted to Joe Namath’s status around these parts.
Knicks: RJ Barrett
The rookie and No. 3 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft has high expectations placed on his shoulders as the Knicks look to gain sustained for the first time this millennium.
He has the intangibles and demeanor to become a star in New York, but Knicks management has to get out of its way.
Nets: Kyrie Irving
While Kevin Durant might be the better basketball player of the two new Nets, Irving is younger and could help sustain the Nets’ culture-in-progress as they try to take over New York.
Islanders: Mathew Barzal
Two All-Star Game nods in his first three full seasons have helped Barzal become the marquee name of a defensive-minded Islanders team.
He’s one of the most skilled talents in the NHL and will play a large part in the Islanders returning to the Stanley-Cup-contending scene for the first time since the 1980s.
Rangers: Artemi Panarin
Panarin is off to a historic start in his first season with the Rangers that will surely have him in contention for the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP).
His acquisition this summer has accelerated the Rangers’ rebuilding efforts as playoff contention could be coming much sooner rather than later.