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View Full Version : A Fun Discussion for August - Greatest Athlete from WA



BobZag
08-08-2010, 09:55 AM
I'm going with...

Nate Robinson.

Consider: at 5'7", he is making tens of millions in the NBA, but could have starred in football at UW and in the NFL as a CB. (He snuffed out any hope of a WSU win as a frosh CB) In track, he still holds the Washington state high school record for the 110 meter high hurdles!

Your choice?

bartruff1
08-08-2010, 10:10 AM
Elgin Baylor...

Zerogame
08-08-2010, 10:14 AM
John Elway

In 1979, Elway was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals to play baseball in MLB. George Brett, the future Hall of Fame third baseman for the Royals, is said to have remarked, "I hope this guy plays football."[citation needed]
In the 1981 MLB Draft, Elway was selected by the New York Yankees in the second round.[10] The following year, he played outfield in 42 games for the Oneonta Yankees of the Class A New York - Penn League.[11] He had a .318 batting average, with four home runs, 13 stolen bases[12], and a team-high 25 RBI.[11][13]
In the 1983 NFL Draft, Elway was selected as the first overall pick by the Baltimore Colts, and on May 2, was traded to the Denver Broncos.

As a ninth-grader, Elway caught the eye of Cougars coach George Raveling at Washington State's basketball camp. George said if John was going into football, he was going into the wrong sport.

tightface
08-08-2010, 10:35 AM
BZ, you hit the nail on the head.

Nate Robinson as a pure athlete is probably the best I've ever seen from this state. I was in the infield at the SW Athletic Complex when he set that hurdles record. It was unbelievable.

As a football player, I thought he could have made the NFL easily. I played against him in HS and he had an incredible Reggie Bush-like 90yd punt return. Despite his size he was head and shoulders above everybody else on the field.

Obviously his basketball career speaks for itself. It's hard to consider any other person from a pure athlete standpoint alone.

MDABE80
08-08-2010, 11:04 AM
Ryne Sandberg...All American HS QB.Signed a two sport LOI with WSU. 10 time All Star. 9 Gold gloves. MVP NL.
Superior BB player with 40 in vert. Inducted into the Hall of Fame.

All around nice guy....well most of the time. PLUS (this is the best part) he grew up next to Abe's house in Hillyard and his first throw with a hardball hit Abe right in the nads. A Spokane kid. Named by Libby (Mom) and Sandy(Dad) after Ryne Duren....killer reliever for the Yanks.

So He gets my vote. :)

stevet75
08-08-2010, 11:19 AM
Too many to choose from, but I would think Gene Conley would have to be in the mix. I believe he won a World Series and an NBA championship. State champion in high jump. I would also think Mark Hendrickson and John Stockton would have to be considered.

tyra
08-08-2010, 06:29 PM
And "athleticism" is about a WHOLE lot more than vertical leap. There is no one from Washington State whose records are as remarkable and will endure as long as those of . . . John Stockton!!

Martin Centre Mad Man
08-08-2010, 06:40 PM
Nate Robinson's athleticism is pretty amazing, but his actual accomplishments as a sportsman have been a lot more limited. There is a reason that Sports Illustrated picked John Stockton at the top of their list of greatest athletes from the state.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/washington/greatest/

I will admit, I really enjoyed two highlights from Nate Robinson. One was that chest to chest dunk over Ronny Turiaf in the UW/GU series. I'm sorry, but I couldn't find footage to post.

My other favorite Nate highlight was this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7XjcbZlmPI

stevet75
08-08-2010, 07:39 PM
There's a big difference between "most athletic" and "best athlete". The question was who is the best athlete.

MDABE80
08-08-2010, 08:19 PM
Achievement as an athlete....Stocks or Ryne.....same vintage...must have been a scary city league.

Radbooks
08-08-2010, 08:30 PM
Don't forget Mark Rypien was in that same era too... it was an incredible couple of years in Spokane high school sports!

titopoet
08-09-2010, 05:53 AM
There are a lot of them but
John Elway is my pick for the greatest athlete from Washington.

gozagswoohoo
08-09-2010, 06:06 AM
During the time period of February 9th, 2010 and February 13th 2010, the greatest athlete in the state of Washington.....would have been me.



But after I left, I'm not really sure, that one is up for grabs.

FlyZag
08-09-2010, 06:55 AM
Think outside the box people!!!

Gerry Lindgren

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Lindgren

Gerry set the HS record for 5,000m that stood for over 40 years. He was one of two people to beat Steve Prefontain in an NCAA Championship. Oh, speaking of NCAA Championships... Mr. Lindgren won 11 Championships while at Washington State. How many Championships did Mr. Elway have?

When you talk "athlete". Nothing is more athletic than running. Running is a part of almost every "athletic" sport (Football, Basketball, Baseball, etc. etc.)

In 1964 he was the favorite to win the Gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, but just prior to competition he had a high ankle sprain while training. Unfortuntate.

Zerogame
08-09-2010, 08:25 AM
Football, baseball, basketball, and GOLF

The best my handicap has been is plus-1. It's about scratch now. I just got a new left knee a year-and-a-half ago.

I hear he is undefeated in 4-square!

kitzbuel
08-09-2010, 08:42 AM
So, you can throw Indy 500 Champ and Hall of Famer Tom Sneva in there, too.


Anybody that walks away from this has to be a heck of an athlete.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4TO3NatTmY

TacomaZAG
08-09-2010, 09:02 AM
and say Sandberg, he could do it all. Plus, his work ethic and overall demeanor add to the list of qualifications. We went to HS together, I played second base when he played SS, and he really stood out, even then. A little known fact is just how fast he was (is), faster than anyone on the HS track team and (I recall) one of the fastest guys to first base from the right side in the majors, in his prime.

Hard to argue against Stocks, though.............

As was said in an earlier post, those were a great couple of years in Spokane HS sports.

Go ZAGS

siliconzag
08-09-2010, 09:46 AM
Nailed it. Elgin Baylor. He had more moves that a can of worms. Bill Russell said there was only one way to stop him: foul him. That way he only had an 80% chance of scoring 2 points. The greatest by far. Nate Robinson: good for a little guy, but by far inferior to EB.

Robzagnut
08-09-2010, 09:52 AM
Ryne Sandberg...All American HS QB.Signed a two sport LOI with WSU. 10 time All Star. 9 Gold gloves. MVP NL.
Superior BB player with 40 in vert. Inducted into the Hall of Fame.

All around nice guy....well most of the time. PLUS (this is the best part) he grew up next to Abe's house in Hillyard and his first throw with a hardball hit Abe right in the nads. A Spokane kid. Named by Libby (Mom) and Sandy(Dad) after Ryne Duren....killer reliever for the Yanks.

So He gets my vote. :)

Soon as I saw the topic I thought of Sandberg. I went to Ferris and played against him when he was a QB for NC (also played against Rypien when he was a soph QB for Shadle).

Sandberg could do it all. Incredible skills and smarts. The whole package.

BobZag
08-09-2010, 10:15 AM
Some good calls here.

It's very debatable.

UberZagFan
08-09-2010, 10:36 AM
Tough to argue with Stockton or Sandberg, but Lawyer Milloy should enter the discussion for the honorable mention's list. Milloy arguably was the best running back [U]and[U] the best safety in the state his senior year. He excelled at all three sports in high school, played three years of baseball at UW, was drafted twice in baseball, and obviously has had a very good NFL career (4 pro bowls, one super bowl, 15 years as a safety).

FWIW, Uber's not sure Elway fits the criteria as "from WA" as he played his last two years of high school in CA. And the same for Baylor--his only connection to WA was 2 years at SU.

titopoet
08-09-2010, 11:36 AM
On no, no one
mentioned
Apolo Ohno
and his 8 Olympic medals.

77Zag
08-09-2010, 11:46 AM
Hugh McElhenney --
The original $1million man!
Go Niners!

CB4
08-09-2010, 11:52 AM
Stockton, Sandberg, Lincecum.

kitzbuel
08-09-2010, 12:03 PM
FWIW, Uber's not sure Elway fits the criteria as "from WA" as he played his last two years of high school in CA. And the same for Baylor--his only connection to WA was 2 years at SU.

:agreed:

I would say Elgin Baylor is from Washington DC. I think a nominee has to have some familial relations to the state.

pbriz
08-09-2010, 12:07 PM
Drew Bledsoe is worth a mention as is Brandon Roy.

dawgfather11
08-09-2010, 01:27 PM
Fred Couples!

229SintoZag
08-09-2010, 01:43 PM
Ron Cey
Ahmad Rashad
Earl Anthony

Do we consider mountain climbers athletes? How about the first American to summit Mt. Everest--the legendary Jim Whitakker? Better yet, how about the only guy to summit the seven summits (and many others) without oxygen, Ed Viesturs? I'd put that accomplistment up against anything Nate Robinson has done.

MickMick
08-09-2010, 02:44 PM
This link (http://www.washingtonsportshof.com/index2.htm) is a good reference point for this discussion.



In my high school days, Rayford Guice, from Pasco High was the best overall local high school athlete I had ever seen.

Mike Neil, from Richland High (http://richlandbombers.1975.tripod.com/bball.html), was the best local hoopster I had ever seen. In fact, I will call him the best high school hoopster I have ever seen live at a game. Averaged 26.1 and 28.2 ppg his junior and senior years. Scored 2000 points in his high school career. Best pure shooter I have ever seen at the high school level.

sittingon50
08-09-2010, 03:43 PM
Wiltjer & Pangos?

JLGutrocks
08-09-2010, 03:57 PM
Jason Hanson (Mead, WSU) has been kicking for the Detroit Lions for about 20 years and still going.

SunDevilGolfZag
08-09-2010, 04:18 PM
Ryne Sandberg is my choice because he had multi-sport talent. Stockton is the best single sport "athlete" from Washington that I am aware of (lots of guys were "more athletic" -- Robinson, Roy, Doug Christie, etc)

northsidezagfan
08-09-2010, 04:58 PM
For pure athletic ability Taylor Mays has to be pretty far up there. I competed against him at a track meet in Pasco a few years back and he was a freak. Not a lot of guys can run a 4.3 at 235# and be a starting safety for USC as a true freshman. He and Jonathan Stewart are both incredible athletes from more recent times.

Spokanicoug
08-09-2010, 05:24 PM
Too many to choose from, but I would think Gene Conley would have to be in the mix. I believe he won a World Series and an NBA championship. State champion in high jump. I would also think Mark Hendrickson and John Stockton would have to be considered.

+1

bartruff1
08-09-2010, 07:01 PM
Ron Cey
Ahmad Rashad
Earl Anthony

Do we consider mountain climbers athletes? How about the first American to summit Mt. Everest--the legendary Jim Whitakker? Better yet, how about the only guy to summit the seven summits (and many others) without oxygen, Ed Viesturs? I'd put that accomplistment up against anything Nate Robinson has done. The legendary Fred Beckey...:)

willandi
08-09-2010, 07:10 PM
who was valedictorian of Deer Park HS in the late 1930's, 1938 I think. He was 6'7" and played basketball and football. Professional sports were non-existent then, and a war broke out. He entered the Army Air Corps, and became a navigator, and an officer.
He was sent to Okinawa after the war, and was required to shoot clay pigeons for 'gunnery' practice. After 750 staight hits, they excused him from further practice.
He took up golf, in 1946, and was a scratch golfer for the next 30 years. He knew, and played against, January, Venturi and the other pros of his generation, but as an officer in the Air Force, he had a guaranteed income, so didn't go pro. He told me that the only man he couldn't beat consistently was Sam Snead.
He bowled in the winter and carried a 200+ average for 25 years, but again, the neophyte pro bowling tour didn't pay enough to raise a family, so he stayed in the Air Force.
When he retired in 1966, he got his BA, MA and PHD in 4 years and taught at Montana for the next 25 years. He became a sportsman in the tradition of Ted Williams, a consumate hunter, and fisherman that shared his knowledge and talents with all that asked.
He has passed away now, but is like many other 'athletes', largely unknown, but that doesn't take away from their accomplishments. He was Harold "Bock" Bockemuehl, my father.

asoc
08-09-2010, 08:18 PM
I'm going with...

Nate Robinson.

Consider: at 5'7", he is making tens of millions in the NBA, but could have starred in football at UW and in the NFL as a CB. (He snuffed out any hope of a WSU win as a frosh CB) In track, he still holds the Washington state high school record for the 110 meter high hurdles!

Your choice?

Nate was first to come to mind for me.

This also depends on how you view the question. If its pure athleticism, which is how I thought of it, then I think Nate is the hands down winner. I bet he would have excelled at any sport he set his mind on. And the fact he has shown well in sports where size does indeed matter, just shows how great of an athlete he is.

GeorgiaZagFan
08-10-2010, 07:39 PM
Throughout her career Kim Jones has been one of the most dominant distance runners in the world. She has more high level placings in world class marathons than any other US female marathoner in history with 17 performances under 2:33. She and Joan Samuelson are the only two Americans to run 2:30 or faster
5 times.

GoZags
08-10-2010, 09:41 PM
who was valedictorian of Deer Park HS in the late 1930's, 1938 I think. He was 6'7" and played basketball and football. Professional sports were non-existent then, and a war broke out. He entered the Army Air Corps, and became a navigator, and an officer.
He was sent to Okinawa after the war, and was required to shoot clay pigeons for 'gunnery' practice. After 750 staight hits, they excused him from further practice.
He took up golf, in 1946, and was a scratch golfer for the next 30 years. He knew, and played against, January, Venturi and the other pros of his generation, but as an officer in the Air Force, he had a guaranteed income, so didn't go pro. He told me that the only man he couldn't beat consistently was Sam Snead.
He bowled in the winter and carried a 200+ average for 25 years, but again, the neophyte pro bowling tour didn't pay enough to raise a family, so he stayed in the Air Force.
When he retired in 1966, he got his BA, MA and PHD in 4 years and taught at Montana for the next 25 years. He became a sportsman in the tradition of Ted Williams, a consumate hunter, and fisherman that shared his knowledge and talents with all that asked.
He has passed away now, but is like many other 'athletes', largely unknown, but that doesn't take away from their accomplishments. He was Harold "Bock" Bockemuehl, my father.

Great post (and fitting legacy) (http://www.fastweb.com/scholarships-directory/h-l/harold-w-bockemuehl-scholarship-142191/)

Birddog
08-11-2010, 07:54 AM
Hey Willandi,did you or do you have relatives in the beer business?
Nice post BTW

UberZagFan
08-11-2010, 10:37 AM
Ron Cey
Ahmad Rashad
Earl Anthony

Do we consider mountain climbers athletes? How about the first American to summit Mt. Everest--the legendary Jim Whitakker? Better yet, how about the only guy to summit the seven summits (and many others) without oxygen, Ed Viesturs? I'd put that accomplistment up against anything Nate Robinson has done.

Did you really just list a bowler in the discussion as best athlete??? Well then, it's no surprise that you follow that with mountain climbers....jeesh.

But as for Rashad and Cey, Uber and a sports writer friend were just discussing best "pro" athletes from Tacoma and those two along with Lawyer were the top three finalists. But when Uber's dad got into the discussion there was no denying that Bobby Moore was the best because Uber's dad along with 229Sinto's dad played pop warner with him (as he likes to remind everyone all the time).

Larrylegend
08-11-2010, 11:47 AM
Jake Locker. A freak athlete with 4.3 speed, linebacker's strength and a rare class act. Heisman trophy contender who has also signed a pro baseball contract. In the days of me first athletes, he turned down $millions at the end of his junior year to return as the Husky's QB.

Zerogame
08-11-2010, 11:59 AM
Did you really just list a bowler in the discussion as best athlete??? Well then, it's no surprise that you follow that with mountain climbers....jeesh.

But as for Rashad and Cey, Uber and a sports writer friend were just discussing best "pro" athletes from Tacoma and those two along with Lawyer were the top three finalists. But when Uber's dad got into the discussion there was no denying that Bobby Moore was the best because Uber's dad along with 229Sinto's dad played pop warner with him (as he likes to remind everyone all the time).

Bobby Moore/ Ahmad Rashad was a first class athlete, football, basketball, and track. I was always surprised how well he did in college and the pros as a half-back and wide receiver considering he had pedestrian speed. In track there were two other guys on his team that were faster and I never considered him a threat when competing against him. He was a pretty good high-jumper though.
Hard to believe he is 60+ man time flies.

229SintoZag
08-11-2010, 01:44 PM
Did you really just list a bowler in the discussion as best athlete??? Well then, it's no surprise that you follow that with mountain climbers....jeesh.

But as for Rashad and Cey, Uber and a sports writer friend were just discussing best "pro" athletes from Tacoma and those two along with Lawyer were the top three finalists. But when Uber's dad got into the discussion there was no denying that Bobby Moore was the best because Uber's dad along with 229Sinto's dad played pop warner with him (as he likes to remind everyone all the time).

Yes I did, and I stand by it. And I am apparently not alone:


In a Sports Illustrated Magazine national vote he was named the 2nd Greatest Athlete in the history of the state of Washington (behind only former NBA star John Stockton).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Anthony

I am not one to claim that bowlers have the physical strength, stamina, or simple raw athleticism of a guy like Nate Robinson. Or the gumption, knack, skill, and most importantly the lungs and heart of a guy like Viesturs. But Bowling certainly does involve athletic skill. And if this post is about being more skilled than anyone else in your sport, and accomplishing more with that skill, than Anthony should be in the conversation. He was the Michael Jordan of Bowling in his era.

willandi
08-11-2010, 05:40 PM
Hey Willandi,did you or do you have relatives in the beer business?
Nice post BTW

My Grandfathers uncle, Bernard, started the Fort Spokane Brewery in the 1880's. His brother, Maximillion (my great grandfather) moved from Illinois to Washington to grow grain for the brewery. My Grandfather, and namesake, Will walked by a covered wagon, passing through Missoula in 1888. That was significant because when he went to visit my Father in the 1970's, he commented on some of the buildings that were missing in downtown Missoula. They burned down in 1891, as it turns out. My cousin Jim was instrumental in the brief revival of the Fort Spokane Brewery in downtown Spokane.

My father had a great sense of humor, and despite degenerative disc disease, he kept his humor to the very end. When he was 76 years old, he called me to tell me that he had shot his age at the MSLA country club. He was particularily proud that it only took 14 holes.

Thanks for the link to the scholarship info. I knew that it existed, but wasn't up on all the details.:) :) :)