There's a difference between loyalty to the home team--athletes
imported to play for our local colleges and pro franchises--and
the deep emotional bond we share with hometown heroes, the local
legends we knew back when. They are the boys and girls from next
door, or the next town. We watched them grow up, watched them
play when it was still play. Unfortunately, these luminaries are
almost inevitably dispersed because of sport's mercenary nature,
lured away by scholarships or contracts. Well, we're bringing
'em all back home for the millennium--not necessarily to where
they were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the
greatness to come. Thus, Broadway Joe is in Pennsylvania, not
Alabama or New York; and the Mailman is in Louisiana, not Utah.
The result: the top 50 from your state and, on the following
pages, a list of those from all 50 states. In short, the
ultimate home teams.
Larger-than-life ballplayer slugged 714 homers; 94-46 with 2.28
ERA as pitcher; won seven World Series rings with Red Sox and
Yankees from 1914 to '35.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Played in record 2,632 consecutive games for Orioles; AL MVP in
1983 and '91; needs only nine hits for 3,000.
Nine-time AL ERA champ had 300 wins and .680 winning percentage;
1931 AL MVP with A's.
Three-time AL MVP was first righty to hit 500 homers; 58 came in
1932 with Red Sox.
Became youngest major league batting champ when he hit .340 for
Tigers in 1955, at age 20; 16-time All-Star; 11 Gold Gloves.
Entered 1999-2000 basketball season--his 44th at DeMatha
High--with 1,185 wins, 31 conference crowns, and five mythical
Sugar Ray Leonard
Took light welterweight gold medal at 1976 Olympics; was 36-3-1
as a pro; won belts in five weight classes.
All-America at DeMatha and Notre Dame in 1970s; twice led NBA in
Became youngest women's singles finalist in U.S. Open history in
1978, at age 16; won 20 Grand Slam doubles titles with Martina
All-America forward at Maryland; five-time NBA All-Star; coached
Bullets to 1971 NBA Finals.
Set Maryland single-season scoring record in 1991-92; has
averaged more than 13 points in eight NBA seasons.
Turn-of-century pugilist is considered alltime best lightweight;
had 120 wins, 55 by knockout.
Hall of Fame Negro leagues pitcher, infielder and outfielder in
1930s and '40s; once struck out 19 batters in a game.
Vikings' running back rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 1975,
'76, '77; also had 73 receptions and 22 TDs in '75.
Hard-hitting Colts middle linebacker went to four Pro Bowls
between 1969 and '75; got Super Bowl ring in '71.
In 1999 had 25 homers and 103 RBIs with Orioles and Indians, at
age 40; 373 homers and 2,783 hits for career.
Joe and Vince Dundee
Boxing brothers each won championship: Joe took welterweight belt
in 1927, Vince NYAC middleweight title in '33.
Knuckleballer won 171 games for A's, including 27 in 1922; AL
umpire for 22 seasons.
Two-time ACC player of the year at Maryland; taken with second
overall pick by Celtics in 1986, but died of drug overdose 40
Coached Maryland football to three unbeaten regular seasons
(1951, '53, '55) in nine seasons at the helm.
Hero of first two modern Olympics won two gold medals, two silver
in track and field at 1896 Games; two bronze in 1900.
Helped Dunbar High to two state titles; twice averaged more than
20 points for Celtics before death in 1993 at age 27.
Frank (Home Run) Baker
Dead Ball era slugger led AL in homers four times but never hit
more than 12 in a season.
Louis (Bosey) Berger
Maryland's first basketball All-America (1931 and '32); hit .236
in six major league seasons with three teams.
William Kelso Morrill Sr.
Led Johns Hopkins to two national lacrosse titles as player (1926
and '27) and five more as coach.
Hauled in more than 80 passes in two of his first four seasons
with Packers; led NFL with 1,424 receiving yards in 1998.
Quarterbacked Maryland to 24-4-1 record, including a perfect 1951
season; runner-up in '52 Heisman voting.
Won 11 letters at Johns Hopkins; helped lead lacrosse team to
national titles in 1932, '33 and '34.
Won 1930 Triple Crown, the Dwyer Stakes and the Wood; only
Triple Crown winner to sire another Triple Crown winner (Omaha
Charlie (King Kong) Keller
Four-time All-Star for Yankees; hit 30 homers in a season three
times (1941, '43, '46).
Picked off five passes in three years with Falcons; has two
100-RBI seasons in majors, including 115 for Braves in 1999.
Won U.S. Amateur in 1960, '63; dynamic PGA Tour commissioner for
20 years is considered the Pete Rozelle of his sport.
Cal Ripken Sr.
Mainstay in Orioles' third base coach's box spent 36 years in
Baltimore organization; managed sons Cal (#2) and Bill in 1987.
Standout offensive lineman at Maryland has spent 15 years with
two NFL teams; has made three Pro Bowl appearances.
First college basketball player to score 2,000 points in career
(2,154 at Loyola in 1940s).
First Maryland women's basketball player to score 1,000 points;
member of 1980 Olympic team.
Danish-born, Baltimore-bred 5'1" bantamweight held world title
from 1914 to '17.
Lacrosse great played at Johns Hopkins at turn of century; served
as Blue Jays' athletic director for nearly 40 years.
First two-sport All-America at Virginia (football and lacrosse);
Eagles end played in 1958 and '59 Pro Bowls.
Held world bantamweight belt from 1937 to '38; won featherweight
championship in '40.
Maryland safety spent nine years with Bills; picked off nine
passes in 1974, again in '77.
Crafty lefthander was 20-5 with 2.97 ERA for Braves in 1997; has
been named to two NL All-Star teams.
Wrote first instructional basketball book, How to Play
Basketball, in 1904; longtime referee helped codify rules.
Won NBA titles with Rockets in 1994 and '95; averaged career-best
19.6 points and 8.0 assists for Nets in 1997-98 season.
Ed and Phil Lotz
Brother duo anchored defense for 1931 St. John's College lacrosse
team that outscored opponents 150-6.
Three-time lacrosse All-America at Johns Hopkins in 1930s; won
1934 American Soccer League scoring title with Baltimore.
Played on Georgetown's 1984 NCAA basketball champions; 23.6 ppg
as senior; averaged 12.5 points in 10 NBA seasons.
Tossed eight shutouts for Orioles in 1961; won 20 games for
Baltimore in '63.
Reached finals of 1976 French Open and semis at '77 U.S. Open;
coached Jim Courier and Jennifer Capriati.
Elizabeth (Toots) Barger
Before Johnny Unitas, 13-time world champion duckpin bowler was
biggest athlete in kegling-mad Baltimore; shoes and ball sent to
B/W PHOTO: NATIONAL BASEBALL LIBRARY #1 Babe Ruth