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.
Paul (Bear) Bryant
Coached Alabama to six national football titles and has the
most wins (323) in Division I-A.
ST. FRANCIS COUNTY
Heavyweight champion for two years; won 50 of 54 pro bouts.
Caught 100 games or more in a record 13 straight seasons; played
in eight World Series; was the soul of Yankees 1930s and '40s
Point guard, shooting guard, power forward rolled into one; the
most talented understudy in NBA history; one of the league's 50
Made diving backhand grab an art as Orioles third baseman; won
16 Gold Gloves, 1964 MVP and '70 World Series MVP awards.
The Gas House Gang's ace and lead clown--133 wins and countless
colorful quotes in six giddy years with the Cardinals from 1932
One of the Triplets who led Arkansas to 1978 Final Four; one of
the most consistent and versatile NBA players ever.
Two-time MVP holds records for most seasons leading NFL in
receptions and yards.
Won three national titles at Oklahoma; then went 45-26 and won a
Super Bowl in four years with the Cowboys.
Eight-time All-Star with five teams; had a career average of
.306; won a batting title.
Winningest coach in Razorbacks history; in his 26 years as
athletic director Hogs have won 35 national titles in four
Winningest basketball coach in University of Arkansas history;
won NCAA title in 1994.
Set world record and won gold in the 400 meters and anchored the
gold-winning U.S. 4x400 team at 1932 Olympics.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK
Co-captain and guard for Arkansas's 1964 national football
champs; has won three Super Bowls since buying the Cowboys in
Has won 34 NCAA indoor and outdoor track and cross-country team
titles at Arkansas since '72.
All-America AAU basketball player from 1933 to '45; AP's female
athlete of the year in '40. Founded Arkansas Travelers in '49;
toured with them until '65.
Spahn, Sain and rain were Braves' ideal rotation in 1948 pennant
run; Sain led the NL with 24 wins that year.
Gripped and ripped his way to a win at the PGA Championship as
alternate in 1991 and won a playoff at the '95 British Open.
Set U.S. best in indoor 70-yard hurdles at Illinois in 1958; led
NFL in receiving yards in '62 and '63.
Thirteen-time AAU All-America led her team to 10 AAU national
titles in the 1950s and '60s.
Anchored defensive line during the Packers' glory days; never
missed a game in 12-year career; was All-Pro five times.
Led nation in punt returns for Arkansas in 1963 and '64 and
returned to coach Hogs in '84; went to six consecutive bowls.
Thirty-one races and more than $21.5 million won in 17 seasons on
NASCAR circuit; finished second in points in 1998.
Forward led Hogs in scoring (20.4 ppg) and rebounds (7.7 rpg)
during run to 1994 NCAA title; Kings' first pick in '95.
One of the best-fielding shortstops of the 1920s and '30s,
masterful bunter; hit over .300 six times for Giants.
Went 111-15-3 as football coach at Little Rock High in 1940s and
'50s; won 10 state titles.
Deadly outside shooting Triplet at Arkansas from 1975 to '78; led
'78 Final Four team in scoring; eight seasons in NBA.
After starring at Arkansas, was four-time Pro Bowl defensive
tackle with Bears in the 1950s; later played with the Redskins.
Razorbacks' first women's basketball star set a then Arkansas
scoring record--men's and women's--with 2,073 points from 1981 to
Clyde (Smackover) Scott
Multisport star at Arkansas in 1940s; All-America running back
and a '48 Olympic high hurdles silver medalist.
Reece (Goose) Tatum
Toured with Harlem Globetrotters as one of basketball's most
popular players in 1940s and '50s.
A six-time NL All-Star with Cubs, set a then record for
consecutive errorless games by a shortstop (54) in 1969.
Hard-hitting safety had 29 interceptions in 10 years with the
Cowboys; played in five Super Bowls and five Pro Bowls.
A short-game master, he won PGA Championships in 1934 and '38 and
finished in top four at Masters four times.
All-America defensive tackle at Arkansas in 1978 and anchor of
Bears' defense in '80s; four trips to Pro Bowl.
Set world long jump record at an AAU meet in 1928; later that
year won gold at the Olympics.
Paul (Daffy) Dean
Dizzy's more reserved brother won 19 of the 49 games the Deans
won in 1934 season and won two more in the Cardinals' World
Series win over the Tigers; career record: 50-34.
Played 14 seasons in the NBA and twice named first-team
Led NCAA in receptions at Arkansas in 1937; helped lead Cleveland
Rams to '45 NFL title.
Pole vaulter was first athlete to win a U.S. outdoor title in
three decades; set a world mark (18'7 1/4") in 1976 and got bronze
at the '84 Olympics.
Won 18 PGA tournaments, including Canadian, Western and Texas
Twice All-America at Oklahoma and played in five Pro Bowls; 10th
among NFL tight ends in career catches.
Went 155-18-12 in 185 pro fights; won world welterweight title in
Billy Ray Smith Sr.
Golden Gloves heavyweight regional champ as a teen, then stellar
defensive tackle and end for 14 years with Rams, Colts and
Big-play threat as an end on 1940s Bears' run-happy teams;
averaged 22.4 yards per catch; scored on 50 of 162 receptions.
First Arkansas All-America in any sport, as an end in 1929; also
starred in basketball, baseball, and track and field.
Played six seasons alongside Jim Taylor in Packers backfield and
on five championship teams in his 11-year career.
Third Triplet twice led the Hogs in scoring (1976 and '77).
Played more games (216) than anyone in Redskins history except
Darrell Green; anchored three Super Bowl-winning defenses at
Never missed a game at point guard for Arkansas from 1987 to
'92; set school records for consecutive starts (87) and assists