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The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Virginia

Dec. 27, 1999
Dec. 27, 1999

Table of Contents
Dec. 27, 1999

20th Century
Inside The NFL

The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Virginia

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 Arthur Ashe
RICHMOND
Winner of 33 pro titles; won the U.S. Open in 1968 as an
amateur; winner of '70 Australian Open and Wimbledon in '75;
ranked in world's Top 10 for 12 years.

#2 Lawrence Taylor
WILLIAMSBURG
Baseball star at Lafayette High; All-America in football at
North Carolina; NFL's alltime leader in sacks by a linebacker,
with Giants.

#3 Secretariat
DOSWELL
Raised at Meadow Farm; capped 1973 Triple Crown with a 31-length
victory in Belmont Stakes.

#4 Bruce Smith
NORFOLK
Won 1985 Outland Trophy as a senior at Virginia Tech; second on
NFL's career sack list.

#5 Sam Snead
HOT SPRINGS
Most wins on PGA Tour (81), including seven majors.

#6 Moses Malone
PETERSBURG
Led Petersburg High to two undefeated state championship
seasons; went straight to ABA's Utah Stars in 1974; three-time
NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star.

#7 David Robinson
MANASSAS
Consensus college player of the year at Navy in 1987; 1994-95
NBA MVP; has been eight-time All-Star with Spurs.

#8 Ralph Sampson
HARRISONBURG
Three-time AP College Player of the Year at Virginia; Rookie of
the Year for Rockets in 1984; four-time NBA All-Star.

#9 Willie Lanier
RICHMOND
Six-time All-Pro middle linebacker played 11 AFL and NFL seasons
with Chiefs.

#10 Dwight Stephenson
HAMPTON
All-State center and defensive tackle for Hampton High state
champions. Hall of Fame center with Dolphins from 1980 to '87.

#11 Grant Hill
RESTON
Three-time All-America at Duke; NBA co-Rookie of the Year;
four-time All-Star.

#12 Benita Fitzgerald Mosley
DALE CITY
Three-time NCAA 100-meter hurdles champ at Tennessee; won gold
at 1983 Pan Am Games and '84 Olympics.

#13 Alonzo Mourning
CHESAPEAKE
Two-time Mr. Virginia averaged 9.6 blocks as senior at Indian
River High; 1998-99 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

#14 Kenny Easley
CHESAPEAKE
As a senior at Oscar Smith High, was first Virginian to pass and
rush for 1,000 yards in a season; NFL Defensive Player of the
Year with Seahawks in 1984.

#15 Allen Iverson
HAMPTON
Was state's player of the year in football and basketball at
Bethel High his junior year; led NBA in scoring in 1998-99 for
76ers.

#16 Clarence (Ace) Parker
PORTSMOUTH
Five-sport star at Woodrow Wilson High; in college and pro
football halls of fame; hit a home run in first big league at
bat for Philadelphia A's in 1937.

#17 Andre Cason
VIRGINIA BEACH
Set world indoor 60-meter-dash record in 1992; member of
world-record U.S. 4x100-meter relay team.

#18 Herman Moore
DANVILLE
Set school records for catches and receiving yards at Virginia;
had three straight 100-catch seasons with Lions (1995 to '97).

#19 Roosevelt (Rosey) Brown
CHARLOTTESVILLE
Black All-America tackle at Morgan State (1951, '52); All-Pro
eight seasons with Giants.

#20 Ray Dandridge
RICHMOND
Negro leagues star of 1930s and '40s; considered best third
baseman never to play in the majors.

#21 Pernell Whitaker
NORFOLK
Olympic lightweight boxing gold medalist in 1984; six-time champ
in four divisions from 1987 to '97.

#22 Leroy Keyes
NEWPORT NEWS
Set Virginia high school long jump record in 1964; two-time
All-America in football at Purdue; led nation in scoring in '67.

#23 Curtis Strange
NORFOLK
1974 NCAA champion and World Amateur Cup winner at Wake Forest;
U.S. Open champion in '88 and '89.

#24 Melissa Belote Ripley
SPRINGFIELD
Won three gold medals at the 1972 Olympics, setting world record
in 200-meter backstroke and Olympic record in 100 backstroke.

#25 Lanny Wadkins
RICHMOND
Has 21 PGA Tour victories, including 1977 PGA Championship.

#26 Barty Smith
RICHMOND
Baseball, football, basketball and track star had state record
toss of 59'1" in shot; led Packers in rushing and receiving in
1977.

#27 Beattie Feathers
BRISTOL
All-state at Bristol High four times; Tennessee All-America;
with 1934 Bears, the first NFL back to run for 1,000 yards.

#28 (Bullet) Bill Dudley
BLUEFIELD
Virginia halfback led nation in all-purpose yards in 1941; led
NFL in rushing for Steelers ('46).

#29 Eppa Rixey
CULPEPER
Baseball star at Virginia; his 266 wins (1912-33), with Phillies
and Reds, stood as NL lefty record for more than 40 years.

#30 Charles Haley
GLADYS
Pass-rush specialist; only man to play on five Super Bowl
champions, with 49ers and Cowboys.

#31 Jake Scott
ARLINGTON
Super Bowl VII MVP clinched Dolphins' perfect 1972 season with
two interceptions against Redskins; five-time All-Pro safety.

#32 Archie Harris
URBANNA
Two-time NCAA discus champion at Indiana; set world record with
174'9" throw in 1941.

#33 Gray Simons
NORFOLK
State wrestling champion at Granby High; four NAIA and three
NCAA titles at Lock Haven; set NCAA mark with 84 consecutive
wins; two-time Olympian.

#34 Spottswood (Spot) Poles
WINCHESTER
Hit .440 in 1911 and .398 in '12 for New York Lincoln Giants of
the Negro leagues.

#35 Sonny Randle
COHASSET
Track and football star at Virginia; had most NFL TD catches in
1960s (for Cards, Cowboys and 49ers); coach at Virginia and
Marshall.

#36 Bobby Dandridge
RICHMOND
Maggie Walker High and Norfolk State basketball star; four-time
NBA All-Star in career (1969 to '82) with Bucks and Bullets.

#37 Chris Warren
BURKE
Alltime leader at Ferrum with 4,583 all-purpose yards; four-time
1,000-yard rusher with Seahawks from 1992 to '95.

#38 Chandler Harper
PORTSMOUTH
Won 20 PGA Tour events, including the 1950 PGA Championship;
youngest (18) and oldest (56) Virginia state golf champion.

#39 D.J. Dozier
VIRGINIA BEACH
Led Penn State in rushing four times; played briefly for
Vikings; 25 games with Mets in 1992.

#40 Charles (Lefty) Driesell
NORFOLK
All-state in basketball at Granby High; set state coaching
record with 57 straight wins at Newport News High; coach at
Davidson, Maryland and James Madison.

#41 Billy Wagner
TANNERSVILLE
Holds NCAA strikeout records for career (327) and per nine
innings for a season (19.1) at Ferrum; now closer for Astros.

#42 Gene McEver
BRISTOL
Tennessee's first football All-America; scored 21 TDs in 1929.

#43 Norm Snead
NEWPORT NEWS
Threw for 30,797 yards and 196 touchdowns in 18-year NFL career
with Redskins, Eagles, Vikings, Giants and 49ers.

#44 Lawrence Johnson
CHESAPEAKE
Three-time NCAA champion set collegiate record in pole vault in
1996 at Tennessee; set U.S. mark of 19'7 1/2" later that year.

#45 Curtis Turner
ROANOKE
Had 17 NASCAR victories despite a four-year ban for trying to
unionize drivers.

#46 Carroll Dale
WISE
All-America at Virginia Tech; 14 NFL seasons; played for Packers
in first two Super Bowls.

#47 Deacon Phillippe
RURAL RETREAT
Pitched in majors from 1899 to 1911 for Louisville Colonels and
Pirates; 189 victories in 372 major league games.

#48 Jack Cloud
NORFOLK
Rushed for 2,056 yards as two-time All-America at William & Mary
from 1950 to '53; played for Packers and Redskins.

#49 Frank Havens
ARLINGTON
Olympic gold medalist in 1952 10,000-meter canoe singles;
seven-time national champion.

#50 Joe Smith
NORFOLK
College player of the year at Maryland in 1995; No. 1 pick in
'95 NBA draft with Warriors; now a forward with the Timberwolves.

B/W PHOTO: R.W. JOHNSON, M.D. #1 Arthur Ashe