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
Won heavyweight gold medal at 1964 Olympics; in boxing's
greatest heavyweight rivalry, beat Muhammad Ali in '71, then
lost two other bouts.
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson
His .356 career average is third alltime but involvement in 1919
Black Sox scandal keeps him from Hall of Fame.
Averaged NCAA-record 44.2 points over four seasons at Louisiana
State (1966 to '70) and 24.2 in 10 years in the NBA.
Eight-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman (1973 to '79, '81);
two-sport star at Bonds-Wilson High.
Felix (Doc) Blanchard
Army fullback bulled his way to 1945 Heisman Trophy; led Army to
national titles in 1944 and '45.
Won 55 LPGA events, including eight majors, from 1951 to '75;
fifth on LPGA career win list and fifth in victories in majors.
Winner of 105 NASCAR races, three Winston Cup titles over 27-year
career (1960 to '86).
Eight-time NBA All-Star averaged 21.5 points in 15-year NBA
career; had career-high 29.8 ppg in 1985-86 as forward for
Seven-time All-Star for Red Sox and 1978 AL MVP led league in
home runs three times; retired in '89 with 382 homers.
Two-time MEAC MVP at South Carolina State; starred as linebacker
for Giants' Super Bowl XXI champions.
The Octopus, six-time All-Star, won 1944 NL MVP award; led
league shortstops in fielding percentage three times.
Winner of 32 LPGA events, including 1990 LPGA Championship; won
two U.S. Women's Amateurs.
All-Star third baseman four times; 1953 AL MVP with
league-leading 43 homers, 145 RBIs.
All-state fullback at Timmonsville High in 1957 won 83 NASCAR
races and three Winston Cup titles.
Jumped straight from high school to NBA's Timberwolves in 1995;
has averaged 16.5 points in first four-plus seasons; named to two
Batted .423 with Negro leagues' New York Lincoln Giants (1924 to
'31); also hit .423 in exhibition games against big leaguers.
Defeated Beau Jack in 1943 to win world lightweight championship;
career record of 75-19-3, with 37 knockouts.
Won inaugural NBA Slam Dunk contest in 1984 as forward for
Phoenix; two-time All-Star had his number retired by Cavaliers.
Seven-time All-Star second baseman collected 1,432 career hits
(1955 to '66); batted .305 in 36 World Series games.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist with U.S. women's basketball team
helped Georgia to a 116-15 record from 1984 to '87.
Two-position star at North Augusta High spent 11 seasons as
Cowboys safety (1970 to '81); three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Mets outfielder had 1,397 hits and 327 stolen bases over 12
seasons (1980 to '92).
Twenty-year major league pitcher went 211-222 with 3.98 ERA; was
21-5 with 2.83 ERA for Tigers in 1920.
Led nation in scoring and rebounding at Wichita State in 1984-85;
had career year with Seattle in '86-87, averaging 23.0 points and
Star running back, receiver and wingback at Tennessee (1973 to
'76); played in four Pro Bowls with Patriots.
Led AL in home runs in 1979 with Brewers and tied for lead in
'82; hit 268 homers over 13 seasons.
Signed by Steelers as undrafted free agent out of South Carolina
State in 1974; five-time Pro Bowl safety; member of Alltime
Black College Football Team.
Two-way star at Bonds-Wilson/North Charleston High; played in two
Super Bowls, with Giants (XXV) and Pats (XXXI).
Two-time (1990, '91) All-America linebacker at Clemson; played
in two Pro Bowls as a Steeler.
Righthander won 1983 Cy Young Award with 24-10 record, 3.66 ERA.
All-America defensive lineman at Clemson; member of Bears' Super
Bowl XX winners.
Defensive end had 15 sacks as senior at South Carolina State;
first MEAC player picked in first round of NFL draft, by Lions
Clemson QB was 1978 Gator Bowl MVP; Jim McMahon's understudy on
'85 Bears team that won Super Bowl.
Reds first baseman had 1,464 hits, 153 home runs over 15
seasons (1973 to '87).
Won a Super Bowl ring and appeared in two Pro Bowls as member of
Redskins in mid-1980s; led team with 78 catches in '83.
Set University of South Carolina mark with 19 TD catches; caught
102 balls with Packers in 1995.
In 1982 Clemson safety became only Tiger ever voted unanimous
All-America and AP first-team All-America twice; made '89 Pro
Bowl with Giants.
University of Tampa QB played in two Super Bowls as a receiver
with 49ers from 1979 to '85.
Ranks third in South Carolina history with 3,005 yards rushing;
ran for 4,250 yards in seven NFL seasons from 1990 to '96.
Clemson punter; hit .320 with Astros in 1997; has played every
position except catcher and pitcher.
Woodruff High quarterback led Notre Dame to 12-0 record and 1988
Three-time Southern Conference Player of Year (1981 to '83) at
Furman; returned kickoff 93 yards for Bengals in Super Bowl
Willie Mays Aikens
First baseman hit four home runs for Royals in 1980 World Series.
Starting pitcher at South Carolina from 1988 to '90 led team at
least once in doubles, triples and steals as well as in wins,
innings and strikeouts.
Star running back at Booker T. Washington High; played 10 seasons
with Bears; appeared in 1957 Pro Bowl.
Clemson standout defensive lineman was first-round draft pick of
49ers in 1980; won two Super Bowls with San Francisco.
Ran anchor leg in gold- medal-winning 4X400 relay at 1996
Two-time All-America roverback at Michigan State; 1967 AFL Rookie
of the Year with Oilers; three-time All-Pro.
Holds Clemson mark for ERA (1.51) and strikeouts in a game (21);
two-time major league All-Star (1958, '59) went 105-100 over 13
Van Lingle Mungo
Pitcher for Dodgers and Giants had 120-115 record over 14
seasons in 1930s and '40s.
B/W PHOTO: AP #5 Doc Blanchard