The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From New Jersey

December 27, 1999

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.

#1
Carl Lewis
WILLINGBORO
Won four gold medals at 1984 Olympics, three medals (two golds
and a silver) at the '88 Olympics, two golds at the '92 Olympics
and a gold in the long jump in '96.

#2
Rick Barry
ROSELLE PARK
All-State at Roselle Park High; NBA Rookie of the Year with
Warriors; 23.2 ppg for career.

#3
Franco Harris
MOUNT HOLLY
Ran for more than 1,000 yards eight times in 13 seasons with
Steelers; member of four Super Bowl-championship teams.

#4
Amos Alonzo Stagg
WEST ORANGE
University of Chicago football coach (from 1892 to '32) was
first to use center snap, onside kick, lateral and man in motion.

#5
Marty Liquori
CEDAR GROVE
Last high schooler to break four-minute mile; ranked No. 1 in
1500 meters in 1969 and '71.

#6
Goose Goslin
SALEM
Hall of Fame outfielder batted .316 over career (1921 to '38);
led AL in triples twice.

#7
Joe Medwick
CARTERET
Football star at Carteret High; National League MVP in 1937;
played in nine All-Star games.

#8
Anne Donovan
RIDGEWOOD
Three-time basketball All-America at Old Dominion; 1983 National
Player of the Year; three-time Olympic team member.

#9
Renaldo Nehemiah
NEWARK
Set high school records in 120-yard and 110-meter high hurdles;
held world record in 110-meter high hurdles from 1979 to '89.

#10
Mickey Walker
ELIZABETH
In 1920s, "Toy Bulldog" held world welterweight and middleweight
titles.

#11
Dick Button
ENGLEWOOD
Five-time world figure skating champion and two-time Olympic
gold medalist (1948, '52); at '52 Games became first to do a
triple jump in competition.

#12
Monte Irvin
ORANGE
All-state in four sports at East Orange High; Negro leagues
All-Star four times; drove in major league-leading 121 runs for
1951 Giants.

#13
(Jersey) Joe Walcott
CAMDEN
Won heavyweight title at age 37 in 1951 by knocking out Ezzard
Charles.

#14
Larry Doby
PATERSON
American League's first black player, with Indians (1947);
seven-time All-Star.

#15
Bill Parcells
ORADELL
Coached Giants to Super Bowl victories in 1987 and '91,
and Patriots to '96 AFC crown.

#16
Lou Creekmur
WOODBRIDGE
Set school shot put record at William and Mary; eight-time Pro
Bowl offensive lineman helped Lions win three NFL titles in
1950s.

#17
Drew Pearson
SOUTH RIVER
From 1973 to '83, Cowboys receiver caught then team-record 489
passes for 7,822 yards and 46 touchdowns.

#18
Carol Blazejowski
CRANFORD
Three-time All-America in basketball at Montclair State; twice
led the nation in scoring.

#19
Paul Robeson
SOMERVILLE
Two-time All-America end was third black to enter Rutgers
(1915-19); earned 12 letters in football, baseball, basketball,
and track and field.

#20
Jim Ringo
PHILLIPSBURG
NFL center from 1953 to '67 made All-Pro eight times; played in
182 straight games.

#21
Charlie Berry
PHILLIPSBURG
NFL All-Pro in 1925 and '26; 11 seasons as major league catcher;
24 years as NFL official; 21 years as AL ump.

#22
John Van Ryn
EAST ORANGE
One of best doubles players in U.S. history, winning 14 of 16
Davis Cup matches (with Wilmer Allison) and six Grand Slam
championships.

#23
Henry Wittenberg
JERSEY CITY
As light heavyweight won wrestling gold medal at 1948 Olympics
and silver at '52 Games.

#24
Gene Wettstone
WEST NEW YORK
Founded and coached Penn State gymnastics team for 38 years; won
nine NCAA titles and coached nine Olympians.

#25
Cathy Rush
WEST ATLANTIC CITY
Coached Immaculata College women's basketball team to three
straight AIAW titles (1971-72 to '73-74).

#26
Joe Theismann
SOUTH RIVER
Quarterback set Notre Dame season record with 2,820 total yards
in 1970; led Redskins to '83 Super Bowl victory.

#27
Mel Sheppard
ALMENESSON
Track star won gold in 1908 Olympics in 800 meters, 1,500
and medley relay, and at 1912 Games in 4X400 relay.

#28
Alex Wojciechowicz
SOUTH RIVER
Hall of Famer played center and defensive back for Lions (from
1938 to '46) and Eagles ('46-50); was mainstay of two Philly
title teams.

#29
Debbie Meyer
HADDONFIELD
Swimmer won Olympic gold in 1968 in 200-, 400- and 800-meter
freestyle.

#30
George Mehnert
NEWARK
Won flyweight wrestling title at 1904 Olympics and bantanweight
competition at '08 Games.

#31
Irving Fryar
MOUNT HOLLY
Nebraska All-America was only player with 1,000-yard receiving
seasons for three NFL teams.

#32
Gus Lesnevich
CLIFFSIDE PARK
Light heavyweight champion won belt in 1941; set record
for quickest knockout in light heavyweight history (1:58
of the first round) with '48 win over Billy Fox.

#33
Frank Cumiskey
WEST NEW YORK
Won five national AAU all-around gymnastic titles (1934-'47) and
17 individual titles.

#34
Deron Cherry
PALMYRA
Chiefs free safety from 1981 to '91 had 50 career interceptions
and played in six Pro Bowls.

#35
Doc Cramer
BEACH HAVEN
Twenty-year major league outfielder made five All-Star teams and
led AL with 200 hits for Red Sox in 1940.

#36
Ron Dayne
BERLIN
Overbrook High All-America won Heisman Trophy and set NCAA Div. I
alltime rushing record with 6,397 yards at Wisconsin from 1996 to
'99.

#37
Milt Campbell
PLAINFIELD
As a high school senior, finished second in 1952 Olympic
decathlon; won event in '56.

#38
Rosey Grier
ROSELLE
1954 All-America tackle at Penn State played in NFL from '55 to
'66; helped Giants win four Eastern Conference titles.

#39
Don Newcombe
MADISON
In 1956 former Negro leagues pitcher won the first Cy Young
Award with 27-7 record and 3.06 ERA for Dodgers.

#40
Bill Larned
SUMMIT
Tennis star won five straight U.S. singles titles from 1907 to
'11.

#41
Lydell Mitchell
SALEM
Salem High football and basketball star; was All-America and led
the nation with 174 points and 29 TDs at Penn State in 1971.

#42
Orel Hershiser
CHERRY HILL
Cy Young winner with Dodgers in 1988, when he pitched major
league record 59 consecutive scoreless innings.

#43
Tom Heinsohn
UNION CITY
Starred at Holy Cross; played on eight Celtics NBA champion teams
in 1950s and '60s; coached Boston to two titles.

#44
Dick Savitt
BAYONNE
One of four U.S. men to win Wimbledon and Australian titles in
same year (1951); four times ranked in world's Top 10.

#45
Ernest Blood
PASSAIC
From 1915 to '24, coached Passaic High basketball team to 200-1
record and 159-game winning streak; won seven state titles.

#46
Mike Rozier
CAMDEN
Nebraska running back won 1983 Heisman Trophy with 2,148 rushing
yards (179 per game) and 29 touchdowns.

#47
Charlie Jamieson
PATERSON
In 1928 slick-fielding Cleveland Indian became only outfielder
to initiate two triple plays in one season; batted .303 from
1915 to '32.

#48
Tom Courtney
NEWARK
NCAA 880-yard champion for Fordham in 1955; won track gold medals
at '56 Olympics in 800 meters and 4X400 relay.

#49
Joseph Burk
BEVERLY
World's top sculler from 1937 to '41; developed shorter stroke
that became standard.

#50
Claudio Reyna
SPRINGFIELD
Midfielder for U.S. Olympic soccer team in 1992 and '96;
three-time All-America at Virginia.

COLOR PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. #1 Carl Lewis

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