I recently wrote a piece for Yahoo Sports naming my choices for the “10 Greatest Athletes In St. Louis Sports History“. As with any list of that nature, it can seem incomplete and open to a lot of debate among fans.
It is also safe to note that the editorial process on an article of that nature is long and many concessions are made. The list starts off very large and various athletes are cast aside for various reasons. Some the writer agrees with, some the editor asks for, but ultimately a list is published that both can settle on.
The beauty for me, as a writer, is that I can expand that list by bringing some of the names from the cutting room floor to i70baseball. Be sure to click the link above and check out the initial list, as well as voting for the person you determine to be the best, and then come back here to read about a few more. The selections below are listed in alphabetical order.
Isaac Bruce/Tory Holt
The “Greatest Show On Turf” doesn’t happen just because of a good quarterback and a running back that redefines the game. It took two special wide receivers that were capable of changing the game in multiple ways. Holt and Bruce, two receivers that were sure-handed and down-field threats at the same time. St. Louis learned what Yards After Catch meant thanks to the dynamic duo of the St. Louis Rams.
You cannot talk about St. Louis soccer without talking about Daryl Doran. Doran has played for every professional soccer team to ever be formed in the St. Louis area and has been instrumental in a few of those franchises coming to St. Louis in the first place. He is a two time All Star as well as a winner of Defender of the Year and All Star Game MVP. He was also honored as the coach of the year one time.
The Hall of Fame second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals boasts a lifetime batting average of .358 and three times hit over .400 in a single season. He remains the last National League player to achieve a batting average over .400 in a single season. He won the batting title for his league seven times, was named the league Most Valuable Player twice, in runs batted in four times, and in home runs twice.
While the list was mutually agreed upon, this was the one omission that I hated to let go. Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one of the greatest athletes, male or female, to ever grace the field of competition anywhere. Honored by Sports Illustrated as “The Greatest Female Athlete Of The 20th Century”, Kersee set and holds many Olympic records. She brought a new level of excitement to USA Track & Field and continues to be an active member of the community in the St. Louis area.
In 1954, Bob Pettit took the floor as a member of the Milwaukee Hawks of the National Basketball Association and ended the season as the Rookie of the Year. The following season, the Hawks moved to St. Louis and Pettit continued to develop into one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was the first ever Most Valuable Player award winner and a four-time winner of the same award for the All Star Game. Pettit’s career led him to induction in the basketball Hall of Fame.
Not sure who Harley Race is? That’s because he is a professional wrestler from the St. Louis area that has helped numerous promotions continue to provide quality wrestling events to the St. Louis area for many years. Many consider him the greatest wrestler of all time and he was successful in capturing the world heavyweight championship on eight separate occasions. Pro wrestling is certainly fake and Harley helped expose just that with a 1999 NBC Special called “Exposed: Pro Wrestling’s Greatest Secrets”.