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.
Averaged 30.1 points and NBA career-record 22.9 rebounds per
game, including 50.4 ppg and 25.7 boards for Warriors in 1961-62.
Most popular golfer of all time has 60 Tour wins, including four
Masters, two British Opens and one U.S. Open title.
Passed for 3,137 yards and 27 touchdowns at Louisville; became a
legend with Colts, whom he led to two NFL titles.
Hit some 800 home runs in 17 Negro leagues seasons, including a
purported 75 for the Homestead Grays in 1931.
Led 49ers to four Super Bowl wins from 1982 to '90; NFL's
top-ranked passer five times.
First American to win Wimbledon singles crown; world's
top-ranked player from 1920 to '25.
Hit .338 as a Louisville Colonels rookie in 1897; had 17
consecutive seasons hitting .300 or better; led NL in batting
Set NFL career records for completions, attempts, passing yards
and passing TDs.
Won three MVPs and appeared in 24 All-Star Games for the
Cardinals; had a .331 career average.
Four-time 30-game winner, nine-time 20-game winner; went 373-188
over 17-year career that began in 1900.
Guaranteed Jets win in Super Bowl III, precipitating merger of
AFL and NFL.
World heavyweight champ from 1978 to '85; defended title 20
times; career record of 67-6.
Won Heisman Trophy and led Pitt to national title in 1976;
in 12 NFL seasons had 12,739 rushing yards, fourth alltime.
Lefthander won 20 or more games eight times; went 26-6 for the
Athletics in 1912; had a 326-194 career record.
Mr. October was a 12-time All-Star who hit 563 home runs; played
in five World Series; led American League in homers three times,
Placekicker and quarterback for 26 NFL seasons retired at age
48; threw for 26,920 yards and 236 touchdowns; kicked for 2,006
Twelve-time All-Star led AL second basemen in fielding
percentage six times.
NBA Rookie of the Year with Bullets in 1968; won league
championship five years later with Knicks.
Negro leagues star followed Jackie Robinson to Dodgers in 1948;
three-time National League MVP.
Has won 31 golf tournaments, including two U.S. Opens. First on
the alltime LPGA money list.
World light heavyweight champ from 1939 to '41; nearly upset
heavyweight Joe Louis in 1941.
Had 3,506 yards and 23 TDs rushing, 2,547 yards and 16 TDs
passing, and 1,321 receiving yards on 130 catches for Cardinals
from 1947 to '55.
Four-time USAC-CART national champion; only driver to win
Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Formula One world title.
All-city in football, baseball and basketball at Tech Memorial;
set Raiders marks for receptions and yards.
Guided Yankees to six World Series titles from 1936 to '43;
first manager to win four Series in a row (1936-39).
Broke Bob Beamon's 23-year-old long jump world record at the
1991 world championships; won long jump silver medals in 1988
and '92 Olympics.
In 12 seasons with Colts, Moore had more than 12,000 yards of
total offense and 113 touchdowns; five-time All-Pro.
Star running back at Syracuse; in 1961, became the first black
to win the Heisman Trophy.
Major league record of 195-126; last pitcher to win 40 games in a
year (40-15 for White Sox in 1908).
Two-time All-America at Penn and a seven-time All-Pro with
Eagles at center and linebacker; in 1960 led Philly to NFL title
as two-way player.
Seven-time All-Star catcher hit 40 homers and had 124 RBIs for
Mets in 1999, tying career highs in those categories.
In the 1950s and '60s he rode five Kentucky Derby winners,
three Preakness winners and one Belmont victor.
First rower to win gold medals in one event in three consecutive
Olympics (double sculls: 1920, '24 and '28).
From 1909 to '24 won every major sculling event, including
Olympic gold and the world championships.
Went 27-10 for 1905 Athletics, the last of four straight 20-win
seasons; won 193 career games.
AAU middleweight and welterweight champ in 1920s; in '33 founded
Steelers, who won four Super Bowls under his ownership.
Won World Pocket Billiards title 15 times between 1940 and '57;
holds unbroken exhibition run of 526 balls.
All-America tight end at Pitt was four-time All-Pro with the
Bears; coached Chicago to Super Bowl XX win.
Wimbledon champion in 1953, French and U.S. titlist in '54; won
13 Grand Slam doubles titles.
Light heavyweight champ in 1922, middleweight champ in '23; had
299 fights (264-23-12), the last 90 despite being blind in one
With Giants from 1948 to '58 he set club career marks for
interceptions and punt returns.
Playing at Notre Dame in 1949, he became first lineman to win
Heisman Trophy; two-time All-Pro with Lions.
Browns running back from 1964 to '73, ran for 7,274 yards and 90
touchdowns; led NFL in punt-return yards in '65.
National semifinalist in Punt, Pass and Kick at 10; holds Bills
career records for passing yards (35,467) and TDs (237).
All-America at Duke in baseball and basketball in 1950s; earned
fame as 1960 National League MVP with Pirates.
Ken Griffey Sr.
All-Star MVP in 1980 had 2,143 career hits and a .296 average
but may be best known as Junior's dad.
Packers, Cowboys defensive back played in four Super Bowls and
five Pro Bowls; had 48 career interceptions.
Won two gold (200 meter and the 400 hurdles), two silver (60 and
100) and a bronze (200 low hurdles) at the 1900 Olympic Games.
Went 241-162 in 22 major league seasons, including 21-9 for 1924
Suzie McConnell Serio
Cleveland Rockers guard is two-time Olympian and '98 All-WNBA
first team; set NCAA alltime assist mark at Penn State.
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: COVER ILLUSTRATION BY DANIEL PELAVIN COVER [Pennsylvania edition] SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE THE 50 GREATEST SPORTS FIGURES FROM PENNSYLVANIA AND EVERY OTHER STATE 1900 2000
B/W PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. #3 Johnny Unitas