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The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Indiana

Dec. 27, 1999
Dec. 27, 1999

Table of Contents
Dec. 27, 1999

20th Century
Inside The NFL

The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Indiana

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.

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

#1
John Wooden
MARTINSVILLE
Before coaching UCLA to 10 NCAA basketball titles, he was
three-time All-America guard at Purdue; led Boilermakers to
mythical national title in 1932.

#2
Larry Bird
FRENCH LICK
Scored 28.6 ppg to lead Indiana State to 1979 NCAA title
game; won three straight MVPs ('84 '85, '86) with Celtics.

#3
Oscar Robertson
INDIANAPOLIS
Led Crispus Attucks High to two state championships; only NBA
player to average triple double, with Royals in 1961-62.

#4
Bob Griese
EVANSVILLE
Two-time All-America at Purdue led Dolphins to Super Bowl wins in
1973 and '74.

#5
Chuck Klein
INDIANAPOLIS
NL MVP with Phillies in 1932; won '33 Triple Crown; record 44
outfield assists in '30.

#6
Ray Ewry
LAFAYETTE
Overcame polio as youngster to win 10 gold medals in Olympic
standing jump events from 1900 to '08.

#7
Rod Woodson
FORT WAYNE
Broke 13 football records and was two-time track All-America at
Purdue; named a cornerback on NFL's 75th-anniversary team.

#8
Jeff Gordon
PITTSBORO
Only driver in NASCAR's modern era to win 10 races three years
in a row; Winston Cup champion in 1995, '97, '98.

#9
Tony Hulman
TERRE HAUTE
Won seven letters at Yale; bought dilapidated Brickyard in 1945
and helped turn Indy 500 into premier event.

#10
"Three Finger" Brown
NYESVILLE
Ace of last Cubs' squad to win World Series, in 1908; won 20 or
more games each year from '06 to '11, 239 games for career.

#11
Bobby Plump
MILAN
Immortalized in Hoosiers for hitting last-second jumper to win
1954 state high school basketball title for tiny Milan High.

#12
Gil Hodges
PRINCETON
Hit 370 homers, made eight All-Star teams with Dodgers; managed
1969 Miracle Mets.

#13
Oscar Charleston
INDIANAPOLIS
"The Black Ruth" led Negro leagues with 20 homers and .445
average in 1925.

#14
George McGinnis
INDIANAPOLIS
Broke Oscar Robertson's state high school scoring records;
averaged 29.9 points at Indiana in 1971, 20-plus points in seven
straight seasons as pro.

#15
James (Doc) Counsilman
BLOOMINGTON
Coached Indiana swim team to NCAA title each year from 1968 to
'73; among his 48 Olympians was Mark Spitz.

#16
Glenn (Big Dog) Robinson
GARY
Carried Roosevelt High to 1991 state title; won '94 Wooden Award
at Purdue; averaged 20-plus points in each of first four NBA
seasons with Bucks.

#17
Alex Karras
GARY
Undersized defensive lineman won Outland Trophy at Iowa
in 1957; All-Pro with Lions in 1960, '61, '62, '65.

#18
Clyde Lovellette
TERRE HAUTE
Left Kansas as NCAA's career scoring leader (24.5 ppg); led U.S.
to Olympic gold in 1952; three-time NBA All-Star.

#19
Edd Roush
OAKLAND CITY
NL batting champion in 1917 and '19; had .323 average in 18 major
league seasons.

#20
Kent Benson
NEW CASTLE
Three-time basketball All-America at Indiana helped lead Hoosiers
to unbeaten mark and NCAA championship in 1976.

#21
Billy Herman
NEW ALBANY
Hit .433 in 10 All-Star Games; played on four NL pennant winners,
with Cubs in 1932, '35, '38, and Dodgers in '41.

#22
Steve Alford
NEW CASTLE
Two-time basketball All-America made seven threes in Indiana's
1987 NCAA title-game win.

#23
Weeb Ewbank
RICHMOND
Victorious coach in two of pro football's most significant games:
Colts' 1958 title win and Jets' Super Bowl III upset.

#24
Branch McCracken
MONROVIA
Began hoops career using peach basket and an inflated pig bladder
for a ball; ended it as Indiana coach who won national titles in
1940 and '53.

#25
Stephanie White-McCarty
WEST LEBANON
Holds state women's high school basketball scoring mark (2,869
points); All-America at Purdue in 1998 and '99.

#26
Fuzzy Zoeller
NEW ALBANY
Ten PGA Tour victories include 1979 Masters and '84 U.S. Open.

#27
Don Mattingly
EVANSVILLE
The 15th Yankee to have his number retired; AL MVP in 1985;
nine-time Gold Glove winner at first base.

#28
Rick Mount
LEBANON
State's Mr. Basketball in 1966; had 27.6 ppg in high school and
set Big Ten career scoring record with 32.3 ppg at Purdue.

#29
Muriel Davis Grossfeld
INDIANAPOLIS
Won 18 national gymnastics titles; at 1964 Olympic trials, became
first American woman to score a perfect 10.

#30
Don Lash
AUBURN
Won seven straight U.S. cross-country championships and 1938
Sullivan Award; competed in 1936 Olympics.

#31
Bob Kuechenberg
HOBART
Six-time Pro Bowl guard opened holes for Dolphins' potent ground
attack of 1970s.

#32
Tommy John
TERRE HAUTE
Had 288 wins in majors, 164 after undergoing 1974
ligament-replacement surgery that now bears his name.

#33
Tom Harmon
GARY
Versatile back won Heisman Trophy at Michigan in 1940, but pro
career was cut short by debilitated legs after his planes were
downed twice during World War II.

#34
Shawn Kemp
ELKHART
Six-time NBA All-Star; averaged at least 15 points and 10
rebounds six straight years, 1992 to '97.

#35
Dick Weber
INDIANAPOLIS
Three-time Bowler of the Year; became charter member of PBA Hall
of Fame, in 1975.

#36
Fred Wilt
PENDLETON
Distance runner won eight national titles and 1950 Sullivan
Award; coached 17 All-Americas in 12 years as Purdue track coach.

#37
Kenny Lofton
EAST CHICAGO
Baseball's most dangerous leadoff hitter in 1990s; has led AL
in steals five times.

#38
Charles O. Finley
GARY
Eccentric owner's mustachioed, feuding A's were always colorful
and often great--they won World Series crowns in 1972, '73, '74.

#39
Tony Zale
GARY
Won two of three epic bouts with Rocky Graziano to establish
himself as premier middleweight of 1940s.

#40
Tony Hinkle
LOGANSPORT
Coached basketball, baseball and football at Butler from 1921 to
'70; won 557 basketball games.

#41
Fuzzy Vandivier
FRANKLIN
Captained the Franklin Wonder Five, unprecedented winners of
three consecutive state hoops titles from 1920 to '22.

#42
Major Taylor
INDIANAPOLIS
Turn-of-the-century cyclist was first widely recognized U.S.
black athlete; 1899 world champion and American sprint champ in
1899 and 1900.

#43
Damon Bailey
HELTONVILLE
State's alltime leading high school scorer (3,134 points);
averaged 13.2 points at Indiana from 1991 to '94.

#44
Mark Clayton
INDIANAPOLIS
In 1980s and early '90s, he and Dan Marino formed most-prolific
scoring duo in NFL history, hooking up on 79 TD passes with
Dolphins.

#45
LaTaunya Pollard
EAST CHICAGO
State's 1979 Miss Basketball was three-time All-America at Long
Beach State and '83 national player of the year.

#46
Max Carey
FORT WAYNE
When 10-time NL stolen base champion hung up his spikes in 1929,
he had league-record 738 swipes.

#47
Lamar Lundy
RICHMOND
Purdue football and basketball star was rock-steady member of
Rams' Fearsome Foursome front line in 1960s.

#48
Charles (Stretch) Murphy
MARION
At 6'6"--big for his time--he led Marion High to 1926 state
basketball title; two-time All-America at Purdue.

#49
Maicel Malone-Wallace
INDIANAPOLIS
Female sprinter won 11 high school state titles, five NCAA
titles, gold medal in 4x400-meter relay at 1996 Olympics.

#50
Scott Rolen
JASPER
NL Rookie of the Year in 1997; won Gold Glove and hit 31 homers
in second full season.

COLOR PHOTO: LANE STEWART 2 Larry Bird