Perfect 5-year model

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

Love or hate him, Tom Brady retired last week as the most focused, driven athlete I have ever seen over the past half-century.

The former Patriots and Buccaneers QB played passionately and joyfully, left on his terms at age 44, and defined football the past 22 years with seven Super Bowl rings.

The quintessential Golden Boy from California retired perfectly and will be in the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.

Below is my Top 10 list of Boston’s greatest all-time pro athletes:

■ 10. Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox (1961-83) — 3-time AL batting champion finished with more than 3,400 hits and was the Triple Crown and MVP winner in 1967.

■ 9. Bob Cousy, Celtics (1950-63) — Point guard deluxe was a 13-time All-Star and 10-time All-NBA First Teamer who won six championships.

■ 8. Ray Bourque, Bruins (1979-2000) — 12-time All-NHL First Teamer won five Norris Trophies as the league’s best defenseman.

■ 7. John Havlicek, Celtics (1962-78) — His stamina was amazing and was team’s sixth man in the early years. 13-time All-Star and 4-time All-NBA First Teamer won eight titles.

■ 6. Bobby Orr, Bruins (1966-76) — Smooth skating defenseman was an 8-time All-NHL First Team and a 3-time MVP. Magnificent career cut short by debilitating knee injuries.

■ 5. Ted Williams, Red Sox (1939-42, ’46-60) — Was last batter to hit .400 in a season. 19-time All-Star was a 6-time batting champ and 2-time Triple Crown winner.

■ 4. David Ortiz, Red Sox (2003-16) — “Big Papi” helped Boston break dreaded 86-year World Series curse in 2004, earning one of his three rings. 10-time All-Star was a 7-time Silver Slugger Award winner.

■ 3. Larry Bird, Celtics (1979-92) — Blonde-haired bomber entered NBA as league adopted 3-point arc. 12-time All-Star won three titles and three regular-season MVP awards. Back injuries forced early retirement at 35.

■ 2. Bill Russell, Celtics (1956-69) — “Mr. Rebounder” racked up prolific amount of boards annually. 5-time MVP and 12-time All-Star led Boston to eight straight championships and 11 overall.

■ 1. Tom Brady, Patriots (2000-19) — 15-time Pro Bowler and 3-time MVP holds numerous all-time passing records, and garnered six Super Bowls rings with Pats and one with the Bucs.

■ The Next 10 in no particular order — Sam Jones (Celtics); Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin (Red Sox); John Hannah, Ty Law (Patriots); Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, Phil Esposito, John Bucyk, Cam Neely (Bruins).

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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