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The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Wisconsin

Dec. 27, 1999
Dec. 27, 1999

Table of Contents
Dec. 27, 1999

20th Century
Inside The NFL

The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Wisconsin

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
Eric Heiden
MADISON
Took speed skating record five gold medals at 1980 Olympics; won
total of 10 world championships in '77, '78, '79.

#2
Ernie Nevers
SUPERIOR
All-Pro in each of his five NFL seasons; scored league-record 40
points in Cardinals' 40-6 win over Bears in 1929; pitched for
Browns from 1926 to '28.

#3
Al Simmons
MILWAUKEE
Outfielder drove in 100 runs 12 times and had 200 hits six times
(including 253 in 1925) in 20-year major league career.

#4
Curley Lambeau
GREEN BAY
Founded Packers in 1919 and coached them to six NFL titles; first
coach to hold daily practice.

#5
Dan Jansen
WEST ALLIS
Set world record in 1,000-meter speed skating in 1994 Olympics
after having fallen in 500 and 1,000 at '88 Games.

#6
Bud Grant
SUPERIOR
Nine-letter winner at Minnesota was guard on 1949-50 NBA
champion Lakers; coached Vikings to four Super Bowls in 1970s.

#7
Addie Joss
WOODLAND
Threw one-hitter in major league debut with Indians in 1902; had
career 1.89 ERA, second lowest of all time.

#8
Mike Webster
TOMAHAWK
Nine-time Pro Bowl center won four Super Bowls with Steelers in
1970s; didn't miss a game from '74 to '85.

#9
Dave Casper
CHILTON
Tight end for Super Bowl XI and XV champion Raiders made five
straight Pro Bowls (1976 to '80).

#10
Helene Kapphahu
MADISON
Set world swimming records in 20 events and Olympic records in
100-meter free, 400 free and 4X100 free relay at 1932 Games.

#11
Jim Otto
WAUSAU
Started 210 straight games at center for Raiders from 1961 to
'75; went to 12 Pro Bowls.

#12
D. Wayne Lukas
ANTIGO
Has trained 15 Breeders' Cup winners; won six straight Triple
Crown races from 1994 to '96.

#13
Alan Ameche
KENOSHA
All-state fullback at Bradford High won 1954 Heisman at
Wisconsin; ran for 4,045 yards in 10 seasons with Colts.

#14
Jim Montgomery
MADISON
First person to swim 100-meter freestyle in less than 50
seconds; won gold medals in 100 free and two relays at 1976
Olympics.

#15
Alvin Kraenzlein
MILWAUKEE
Won gold medals in the 60-meter dash, 110-meter high hurdles,
200-meter low hurdles and long jump at 1900 Olympics.

#16
Elroy (Crazy Legs) Hirsch
WAUSAU
University of Michigan's first four-sport letterman had 387
catches and 66 TDs for Chicago Rockets and Rams from 1946 to '57.

#17
Harvey Kuenn
WEST ALLIS
Led AL in hits four times; batted .303 with 2,092 hits and 356
doubles for career (1952-66); eight-time All-Star.

#18
Dave Krieg
SCHOFIELD
Illini-Badger Conference player of the year in 1979 at Milton
College; spent 19 years in NFL, passing for 38,147 yards (eighth
alltime) and 261 TDs (seventh).

#19
Frank Parker
MILWAUKEE
Won U.S. tennis singles championship in 1944 and '45, French in
'48 and '49.

#20
Tony Kubek
MILWAUKEE
Three-time All-Star; 1957 Rookie of the Year; played in six World
Series with Yankees.

#21
Terry Porter
MILWAUKEE
Two-time NAIA All-America at Wisconsin-Stevens Point; appeared in
two NBA finals with Blazers; hit 1,000th three-pointer last year
with Heat.

#22
Mark Johnson
MADISON
All-America at Wisconsin in 1978 and '79; leading scorer on
gold-medal-winning '80 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

#23
Arnold Herber
GREEN BAY
Strong-armed Packers quarterback teamed with Don Hutson in 1930s
to form NFL's first great pass-catching duo.

#24
Archie Hahn
DODGEVILLE
Won 60-, 100- and 200-meter dashes at 1904 Olympics.

#25
Tuffy Leemans
SUPERIOR
Led NFL in rushing as rookie with Giants in 1936; had 3,132
rushing yards, 2,318 passing yards and 422 receiving yards over
eight seasons.

#26
Chris Steinmetz
MILWAUKEE
Led South Division High to 1902 state basketball title; at
Wisconsin became first college player to score 1,000 points.

#27
David Greenwood
PARK FALLS
In 1978 became first state high schooler to high-jump seven feet;
All-USFL safety in '83 and '84.

#28
Ken Keltner
MILWAUKEE
Seven-time All-Star third baseman with Indians and Red Sox
helped end Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941 with
two dazzling catches.

#29
Eddie Cochems
STURGEON BAY
Father of the Forward Pass coached Saint Louis University to 22-0
win over Carroll College on Sept. 5, 1906, the first time the
pass was extensively used.

#30
LaVern Dilweg
MILWAUKEE
Two-time All-America end at Marquette was one of NFL's first
dominant receivers with Packers in 1920s.

#31
Suzy Favor-Hamilton
STEVENS POINT
Won 23 Big Ten and nine NCAA distance running titles at Wisconsin
from 1987 to '90.

#32
Burleigh Grimes
EMERALD
Spitball artist was 270-212 with six teams from 1916 to '34;
twice led NL in wins.

#33
Bob Peterson
COMSTOCK
Three-time NCAA wrestling All-America at Iowa State won gold in
1972 Olympics and silver in '76.

#34
Mickey Crowe
ST. NAZIANZ
JFK Prep basketball star led nation's high schoolers with
41 ppg as a senior in 1974-75.

#35
Rocky Bleier
APPLETON
Halfback was key member of Steelers' four Super Bowl-champion
teams; rushed for 3,865 yards and 23 TDs over 11-year career.

#36
Latrell Sprewell
MILWAUKEE
Coach-choking guard is three-time All-Star who has averaged 19.8
points over eight-year career with Warriors and Knicks.

#37
Connie Carpenter
MADISON
First U.S. woman to compete in Winter and Summer Olympics; placed
seventh in 15,000-meter speed skating at 1972 Games, won gold in
cycling in '84.

#38
Andy North
MONONA
Three-time All-America golfer at Florida won 1978 and '85 U.S.
Opens.

#39
Jim Chones
RACINE
Excelled in basketball, football and track at St. Catherine's
High; averaged 8.3 rebounds with three NBA teams from 1974 to
'82.

#40
Ginger Beaumont
ROCHESTER
Pirates outfielder batted .311 over 12 seasons, including
NL-best .357 in 1902; led league in hits four times.

#41
Ed Konetchy
LA CROSSE
Had 2,150 hits in 15-year major league career (1907 to '21);
led NL first basemen in fielding percentage eight times.

#42
John Peterson
COMSTOCK
Wisconsin-Stout All-America wrestler won silver medal in 1972
Olympics and gold in '76 Games.

#43
Johnny Blood
NEW RICHMOND
Caught then NFL-record 11 TDs with Packers in 1931.

#44
Pat Harder
MILWAUKEE
Star running back on Cardinals' 1947 NFL title team; led league
in scoring in '47, '48, '49.

#45
Pat Richter
MADISON
Three-sport star at Wisconsin; football All-America in 1961-62;
caught then record 11 passes in Badgers '63 Rose Bowl loss to
USC; now Wisconsin athletic director.

#46
Bob Johnson
MADISON
Coached Wisconsin to NCAA hockey championships in 1973, '77 and
'81; won Stanley Cup with Penguins in '91.

#47
Pat Matzdorf
SHEBOYGAN
Set world high jump record with 7'61/4" leap as a Wisconsin
junior in 1971.

#48
Wayne Zahn
MILWAUKEE
Won more than 20 major bowling championships from 1960 to '81;
rolled nine 300 games and eight 299 games.

#49
Beth Heiden
MADISON
Sister of Eric (#1) was bronze medalist in 3,000-meter speed
skating at 1980 Olympics; won '80 U.S. cycling and '83 NCAA
cross-country skiing titles.

#50
Jim Gantner
EDEN
Five-sport star at Campbellsport High; had 1,696 hits as steady
Brewers infielder from 1976 to '92.

COLOR PHOTO: HEINZ KLUETMEIER #1 Eric Heiden