Ranking The States

Dec. 27, 1999
Dec. 27, 1999

Table of Contents
Dec. 27, 1999

20th Century
Inside The NFL

Ranking The States

Having drawn up rosters of the top 50 sports figures from each
state, we couldn't resist ranking the states themselves.
Weighing the magnitude of talent at the top of each list and the
depth of talent throughout each list, here's how the states
stack up.

This is an article from the Dec. 27, 1999 issue Original Layout

1. California
You should see the list of athletes who didn't make its top 50.

2. Texas
The state where football is king--and Babe is queen--is a
formidable second.

3. New York
And it didn't even get credit for Brooklyn-born Michael Jordan.

4. Pennsylvania
Want a quarterback? Six of the greatest keyed the Keystone State.

5. Alabama
This football-crazy state bred plenty of baseball legends.

6. Louisiana
A rich source for the three biggest U.S. sports: baseball,
basketball and football.

7. North Carolina
Tobacco Road is the fertile crescent for basketball players and
stock car drivers.

8. Ohio
A powerful mix: It's home to greats in most every sport.

9. Illinois
Land of Halas is well represented by Butkus, Grange and Nitschke.

10. Florida
Speed rules here, from Bullet Bob Hayes to Big Daddy Garlits.

11. Maryland
Birthplace of baseball royalty: Ruth, Ripken, Grove, Foxx and

12. Mississippi
An awesome NFL offense could be assembled with its stars.

13. Oklahoma
Nothing unlucky about a state that produces both Jim Thorpe and
Mickey Mantle.

14. South Carolina
An all-around effort: Top 50 athletes hail from more than 30

15. Virginia
Need an NBA center? Malone, Robinson, Sampson and Mourning grew
up--way up--here.

16. Indiana
Not surprisingly, it's glory is basketball, from the Wizard of
Westwood to Larry Legend.

17. Arkansas
A curious collection of unhallowed heavy hitters: Sonny Liston,
Jerry Jones, John Daly.

18. Kansas
A winning environment: Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp had 1,755
coaching victories.

19. Missouri
Home to sports sages Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel and Bill Bradley.

20. Michigan
State's best include a President (Gerald Ford) and a General
(Pete Dawkins).

21. Georgia
Talk about diversity: from terrible-tempered Ty Cobb to the
gentlemanly Bobby Jones.

22. Kentucky
The greatest horses (Man o' War, Citation) run far behind the

23. West Virginia
Emerging stars like Randy Moss and Jason Williams could raise
its status in the next century.

24. New Jersey
The Garden State has cultivated a bumper crop of track and field

25. Connecticut
Surprisingly fertile state edges out its more populous neighbor
to the north.

26. Massachusetts
Bay State goes into battle with boxers, hockey stars and Leo the

27. Nebraska
A few superstars and a whole lot of Cornhuskers lead the way.

28. Oregon
Numerous notables who performed feats of the feet include Steve
Prefontaine and Dan O'Brien.

29. Minnesota
Many on this list stayed at home to play for the Golden Gophers.

30. Wisconsin
Fittingly, many gridiron greats populate Curley Lambeau's frozen

31. Tennessee
A liberated list: Women are ranked first, second and fourth.

32. Washington
Set 'em up (John Stockton, No. 1) and knock 'em down (Earl
Anthony, No. 2).

33. New Mexico
The auto racing Unsers (Al Sr., Bobby, Al Jr. and Robby) all
make the top 25.

34. Arizona
The desert delivers righthanded pitchers: Jim Palmer, Curt
Schilling, John Denny.

35. Iowa
The only state list topped by a wrestler, the fabled Dan Gable.

36. Nevada
A duo of unique doubles: two Madduxes and a pair of boxing

37. Idaho
Unpopulous state impressive at the top: Harmon Killebrew, Jerry
Kramer, Picabo Street.

38. New Hampshire
In a land of snow, the hottest stars are a baseball player and a

39. Colorado
Mecca for U.S. Olympic training has turned out pioneering

40. Utah
List gets a big boost from a pair of homegrown BYU quarterbacks.

41. Hawaii
More than just surfing and sumo: 12 NFL players are on the list,

42. North Dakota
From the far north came a home run king and a six-time NBA
champion coach.

43. South Dakota
Billy Mills and Frank Leahy aren't only the best in the state;
they're also among the best in history.

44. Rhode Island
A prized pair of second sackers head the smallest state's list
of biggies.

45. Montana
Big Sky's best includes a cowboy, a rifleman and a daredevil.

46. Vermont
A century of snow and ice has produced a blizzard of winter

47. Wyoming
The top 10 of this list is heavy with guys who threw their
weights around.

48. Maine
Leading the way Down East is marathoner supreme Joan Benoit

49. Alaska
Would clearly be No. 1 on list of century's alltime dog-sledding

50. Delaware
It's a constitutional thing: The first state has the last list.