By SoE Staff
As we scan the worldwide sports arena during this, MLB's midsummer break to fete its biggest stars, it comes as little surprise that baseball players dominate the conversation for this week's Greatest Athlete on Earth.
On the mound, Clayton Kershaw -- a NL All-Star for the seventh straight season -- wrapped up the first half by becoming the first ace in MLB history to strike out at least 13 batters on fewer than 100 pitches in a complete-game effort against the Royals. As a result of his start on Sunday, Kershaw won't appear in the Midsummer Classic, despite boasting an MLB-leading 14 wins and ranking among the top three pitchers in ERA and strikeouts at the break.
Following in Kershaw's footsteps, Minor League ace Brett Honeywell got the start for Team USA in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and ultimately took home the game's MVP honors after whiffing four of the six batters he faced.
And now for our Top 5 …
5. Joey Chestnut
In what has become a staple of the July 4 festivities, Chestnut earned his 10th Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest title by scarfing down a record 72 frankfurters and buns in 10 minutes. Less than a week later, he used the food to fuel his performance in MLB's All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game.
4. Byron Buxton
Buxton's sprint onto this list made Chestnut's performance look like a marathon in comparison. The speedy Twins center fielder -- who already set a career high for stolen bases with 16 before the break -- scored from first on a Brian Dozier single that barely got through the infield, covering three bases in fewer than 10 seconds.
3. Kyle Freeland
In just his 18th career MLB start on Sunday, Rockies rookie Freeland flashed some brilliance, holding the White Sox hitless at the notorious hitters' haven that is Coors Field for 8.1 frames. Melky Cabrera broke up the no-hit bid with one out in the ninth, but Freeland finished with nine K's and a W for his effort.
2. Gilles Muller
Monday's Wimbledon draw brought with it likely the upset of the tournament, as 34-year-old Muller upset reigning French Open, Madrid Open and Barcelona Open champion Rafael Nadal to advance to just the second Grand Slam quarterfinals of his career. The epic match lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes before Muller finally triumphed, 15-13, in the final set.
1. Aaron Judge
We'll skip the puns (mostly) and deliver the verdict: Although Judge claimed the top spot on this list just about a month ago, there was no contest that he again deserved No. 1 billing. After breaking the franchise record for rookie home runs with his 30th blast of the season on July 7, Judge launched a full season's worth and then some during the Home Run Derby. He sprayed baseballs all over the Marlins Park field -- and even into the roof -- to claim the trophy with 47 long balls, 11 of which came in the final round.