Search

The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Oregon

Dec. 27, 1999
Dec. 27, 1999

Table of Contents
Dec. 27, 1999

20th Century
Inside The NFL

The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Oregon

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
Danny Ainge
EUGENE
All-America in baseball, basketball and football at North Eugene
High; spent 14 seasons in NBA, parts of three with Blue Jays;
scratch golfer.

#2
Steve Prefontaine
COOS BAY
Three-time NCAA cross-country champion at Oregon; at time of his
death, at 24, held every U.S. record from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.

#3
Don Schollander
LAKE OSWEGO
Won 100-meter freestyle, 400 freestyle, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay
at 1964 Olympics.

#4
Terry Baker
PORTLAND
Won state titles in baseball, basketball and football at
Jefferson High; 1962 Heisman Trophy winner at Oregon State.

#5
Bob Lilly
PENDLETON
Defensive lineman went to 11 Pro Bowls with Cowboys from 1961 to
'74; played in two Super Bowls.

#6
Mel Renfro
PORTLAND
Ten-time Pro Bowl player had 52 interceptions and 2,246
kickoff-return yards from 1964 to '77.

#7
Larry Mahan
SALEM
Six-time all-around world rodeo champion; in 1967 won all-around
and bull-riding titles, placed third in saddle broncs and fourth
in bareback.

#8
Dale Murphy
PORTLAND
Braves' two-time NL MVP averaged 162 games, 174 hits, 36 homers,
110 RBIs, 28 stolen bases with a .291 BA from 1982 through '84.

#9
Dick Fosbury
PORTLAND
Revolutionized high jump at Medford High by developing back-first
Fosbury Flop; won gold medal at 1968 Olympics with world record
of 7'4 1/2".

#10
Dan O'Brien
KLAMATH FALLS
Set world record in decathlon in 1992; won Olympic gold in '96.

#11
Dave Wilcox
VALE
Two-way lineman at Oregon; five-time All-Pro linebacker with
49ers.

#12
Phil Knight
PORTLAND
Three-time track letterman at Oregon; Nike founder and CEO
revolutionized athletic-apparel industry.

#13
Terrell Brandon
PORTLAND
Grant High star led Pac-10 in scoring and steals as junior at
Oregon in 1990-91; two-time NBA All-Star.

#14
Mickey Lolich
PORTLAND
Former batboy for minor league Portland Beavers threw three
complete-game wins for Tigers in 1968 World Series; 217-191
over 16 years in majors.

#15
Bill Johnson
SANDY
1984 Olympic gold medalist in downhill was first American to win
a World Cup race.

#16
George Shaw
PORTLAND
At Oregon, led nation in interceptions as a freshman and in total
offense as a senior; No. 1 pick in 1955 NFL draft.

#17
A.C. Green
PORTLAND
State basketball player of the year at Benson Polytechnic
(1980-81); holds NBA mark for consecutive games played.

#18
Joe Gordon
PORTLAND
Nine-time All-Star second baseman played in six World Series,
five with Yankees; batted career-high .322 and was AL MVP in
1942.

#19
Neil Lomax
LAKE OSWEGO
Portland State QB set 90 Division I-AA records; All-Pro with
Cardinals in 1984 and '87.

#20
Marshall Holman
MEDFORD
Has 22 PBA tour wins, including two U.S. Opens and two
Tournaments of Champions.

#21
Les Gutches
MEDFORD
Two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Oregon State; won 1999 Pan Am
Games, World Cup and Yasar Dogu at 187 pounds.

#22
Tonya Harding
MILWAUKIE
1991 and '94 U.S. figure skating champion.

#23
Todd Christensen
EUGENE
All-league centerfielder and All-America point guard at Eugene
High; five-time Pro Bowl tight end with Raiders.

#24
Arnie Weinmeister
PORTLAND
Giants defensive end was a four-time All-NFL pick from 1950 to
'53; played in league's first four Pro Bowls.

#25
Damon Stoudamire
PORTLAND
Two-time All-America guard at Arizona, second in career assists;
1995-96 NBA Rookie of the Year with Toronto.

#26
Dave Husted
MILWAUKIE
Has won 13 PBA events and three U.S. Opens; only bowler to have
won consecutive Opens (1995 and '96).

#27
Bill Bowerman
PORTLAND
Oregon track coach (1948-72) had 117-20 record in dual meets;
developed waffle-soled running shoes; Nike cofounder.

#28
Carol Menken-Schaudt
JEFFERSON
First Oregon State women's basketball All-America; member of
gold-medal-winning 1984 Olympic basketball team.

#29
Joni Huntley
SHERIDAN
Set U.S. indoor (6'4 3/4") and outdoor (6'5 1/2") high jump
records; won bronze medal at 1984 Olympics.

#30
Steve Jones
FRANKLIN
Averaged 22.1 points, 3.6 rebounds per game for Memphis Pros of
ABA in 1970-71; three-time ABA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Star.

#31
Mel Counts
COOS BAY
Oregon State's two-time All-America was member of 1964 Olympic
team and two NBA title teams, the '64 and '66 Celtics.

#32
Chris Miller
EUGENE
Broke 13 school passing records at Oregon; now playing for
Broncos.

#33
Peter Jacobsen
PORTLAND
Has six PGA Tour victories; won twice and earned more than $1
million in 1995; member of '85 and '95 U.S. Ryder Cup teams.

#34
Jean Saubert
LAKEVIEW
Won two medals at 1964 Olympics: tied for a silver medal in
giant slalom and won bronze in slalom.

#35
Howard (Hobby) Hobson
PORTLAND
Captain of Oregon basketball and baseball teams; coached Ducks to
1939 NCAA hoops title, PCC crowns in '37, '38, '39.

#36
Mac Wilkins
EUGENE
Won state discus championship in 1969 at Beaverton High;
won gold medal with Olympic record in the discus in '76.

#37
Vic Sears
ASHWOOD
All-America tackle at Oregon State in 1940 averaged 50 minutes
per game as two-way player in NFL from 1941 to '49.

#38
Laddie Gale
OAKRIDGE
Basketball star at Oregon from 1936 to '39; twice led conference
in scoring; All-America in 1939.

#39
Amory Gill
SALEM
All-state in basketball at Salem High; as coach at Oregon State
(1929-64) led Beavers to five PCC championships.

#40
Johnny Pesky
PORTLAND
Red Sox shortstop was AL's top rookie in 1942, with .331 average
and league-high 205 hits.

#41
Bill Smith
PORTLAND
Two-time NCAA wrestling champion at 165 pounds for Northern Iowa;
won 1952 Olympic gold medal.

#42
Rick Sanders
LAKEVIEW
Won 1966 and '67 NCAA championships as 115-pound wrestler at
Portland State; two-time Olympic silver medalist.

#43
Ken Williams
GRANTS PASS
Fourteen-year major league outfielder had career year in 1922,
leading AL with 39 home runs and 155 RBIs.

#44
Margaret Dobson
PORTLAND
Second baseman competed in nine world softball tournaments,
setting record with .615 average in 1950 event.

#45
Scott Brosius
MCMINNVILLE
Linfield College grad and Yankees third baseman won 1998 World
Series MVP award after hitting .471 with six RBIs.

#46
Charlie Sitton
MCMINNVILLE
All-state basketball player three times at McMinnville High; led
Oregon State to three Pac-10 titles.

#47
Dorothy Teuber
PORTLAND
At age 12 won silver medal in three-meter springboard dive at
1928 Olympics; won gold in high platform diving at '32 and '36
Games.

#48
Larry Jansen
VERBOORT
Giants righthander twice won 20 games, including NL-high 23
in 1951.

#49
Harold Reynolds
EUGENE
In 1987 became first Mariners player to lead AL in an offensive
category by stealing 60 bases.

#50
Katy Steding
LAKE OSWEGO
Star forward for Stanford's 1990 NCAA championship women's
basketball team won gold medal at '96 Olympics.

COLOR PHOTO: SHEEDY & LONG #2 Steve Prefontaine