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
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Won five events at 1932 AAU track and field championships, and
two weeks later took two Olympic gold medals; '47 British
Amateur champ won 31 pro golf tournaments.
Four-time PGA Player of Year; one of four men to win all four
majors, including four U.S. Opens.
Starred at SMU from 1947 to '49 as all-purpose player; won two
NFL scoring titles in six years with Lions.
Second baseman won seven batting titles; .358 average from 1915
All-America quarterback at TCU; with Redskins from 1937 to '52,
threw for 21,886 yards and 187 TDs; intercepted 31 passes.
Major league strikeout king (5,714) won 324 games and had record
seven no-hitters in 27 seasons.
Two-time Masters and PGA champion also won 1939 U.S. Open; won
11 straight tournaments in '45.
First black to hold heavyweight championship, from 1908 to '15;
lost title in controversial 26-round bout to Jess Willard.
Four-sport star at Booker T. Washington High before hitting 512
home runs in 19 seasons with Cubs.
Set world record in 200 meters, Olympic record in 400 at 1996
Games; four-time world 400-meter champ.
1977 Heisman winner at Texas; led NFL in rushing in first three
seasons, with Oilers; two-time NFL MVP.
Force behind formation of AFL in 1959; founded Dallas Texans
(now the K.C. Chiefs); coined the name Super Bowl.
Olympic gold medalist in 1968; beat Joe Frazier in '73 to win
heavyweight title; regained belt 21 years later, at age 45.
"Mean" Joe Greene
North Texas State star; All-Pro defensive tackle with Steelers
(1969 to '81); played in 10 Pro Bowls; won four Super Bowls.
Co-captain as a fullback and defensive back at Texas; coached
Cowboys from 1960 to '88; won two Super Bowls.
Batted .345 over 22 seasons (1907 to '28); led AL in doubles
eight times, hits twice.
Dick (Night Train) Lane
Intercepted league-record 14 passes as rookie cornerback with
L.A. Rams in 1952; had 68 pickoffs in 14 NFL seasons.
Nine-time Pro Bowl tackle played in 188 straight games with
Packers; won five NFL titles.
Was 25-7 in two years at Texas; five-time Cy Young Award winner;
won AL MVP and Cy Young with Red Sox in 1986.
Four-time Indy 500 winner and seven-time USAC-CART champ; only
driver to win Indy, Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Founded the Negro National League in 1920; in '10 managed
Chicago Leland Giants to 128-6 record.
All-America at SMU; led NFL in rushing four times; ran for
league-record 2,105 yards with L.A. Rams in 1984.
Negro leagues shortstop from late 1920s through early '40s; twice
led league in batting.
Four-time All-SWC quarterback at Texas; in 15 NFL seasons (1948
to '62) threw for 26,768 yards and 196 touchdowns.
Three-time All-America at Baylor; Bears middle linebacker played
in 10 Pro Bowls from 1984 to '93.
All-SEC quarterback at LSU guided Tigers to 1947 Cotton Bowl;
led Giants to three NFL Eastern Conference titles; twice named
Two-time winner of three golf majors: U.S. Open, British Open
1993 NCAA player of year scored 47 points in Texas Tech's 84-82
title-game win over Ohio State; played on '96 Olympic gold medal
Bobby Joe Morrow
Won gold in 100- and 200-meter dash and 400 relay at 1956
Olympics; tied 100 and 200 world records three times.
Starred at SMU; in 13 years with Colts caught 631 passes for
9,275 yards and 68 TDs.
Ten-time NBA All-Star; one of only three players to have 20,000
points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists.
Negro leagues pitcher had 20-7 mark against white competition,
including 20-strikeout no-hitter against 1917 New York Giants.
New York Giants outfielder had .322 lifetime batting average
from 1917 to '26.
At Cooper High in 1967 passed for 2,076 yards and 20 TDs,
ran for 787 yards and 24 scores; led Oklahoma to two bowls.
Threw nine no-hitters and two perfect games at Westchester High
(1970 to '73); pitched in majors at age 18.
Alltime leading scorer in international soccer play; helped U.S.
win two World Cups and 1996 Olympic gold.
NAIA All-America offensive lineman at Texas A&I; Raiders stalwart
from 1967 to '82; NFL Players Association president.
At Sugar Land High from 1950 to '53, ran for national-record
11,232 yards; played at Texas A&M and for three NFL teams.
Raiders receiver was All-America running back at Woodrow Wilson
High; won 1987 Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame.
Led Cole High to 68-1 record; two-time All-America at LSU;
averaged 27.1 points a game in first seven NBA seasons.
Four-time All-Star had 377 home runs and 1,103 RBIs during
17-year career (1958 to '74) with White Sox and Tigers.
Coached Wayland Baptist women's basketball from 1955
to '73, winning first 76 games and six AAU national titles.
All-State in football, basketball and track at Dalworth High; in
13 seasons with Redskins had 649 catches, 79 for TDs.
All-SWC first baseman at Texas A&M; starred as punter-defensive
back for Lions from 1952 to '64; had 50 career interceptions.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 champ won five of 12 races in 1980
for CART title.
In 1966 SMU flanker became first black to get an athletic
scholarship in Southwest Conference; set then school records for
receptions in a season (80) and career (155).
Set NCAA discus and shot put records as senior at Texas A&M in
1967; won gold medal in shot at '68 Olympics.
Two-time Masters champ; 19 PGA Tour victories; captained 1999
U.S. Ryder Cup team to memorable comeback.
Won 1978 Heisman at Oklahoma after running for 1,762 yards and 20
touchdowns; rushed for 5,106 yards in five years with Lions.
Overcame testicular cancer to win 1999 Tour de France.
B/W PHOTO: AP #3 Doak Walker