Oregon Doesn't Boast of a lot of Professional Athletes But There is a lot of State Pride in These 10
Growing up and living in Oregon, we don’t have as many athletes join the professional ranks as other, more populated states. Therefore, we seem to take a greater interest and watch with certain level of pride as players from our state reach the highest level of competition. It is often a unique experience as many of us may have had the good fortune of actually watching these athletes compete as amateurs as opposed to athletes from larger states in which there are just too many to keep tabs on. Oregon has had its share of great professional athletes and right now some of the best are playing like Jacoby Ellsbury, Dante Rosario, and Kevin Boss. Look at Kevin Boss, he came from Corvallis, Oregon and went to Western Oregon University and he made on of the most amazing catches that helped the New York Giants win a super bowl. It’s a great feeling to watch these athletes and know that they grew up in the same state and area that you’re growing up in. I’m going to give you a top ten list of the best past professional athletes from Oregon.
To start off my top ten professional athletes from Oregon I’m going to go with Danny Ainge. Danny Ainge was born in Eugene, Oregon and attended North Eugene high school. He is known as one of the most outstanding high school athletes in all of America. He was an all-America selection in three sports in high school including basketball, baseball, and football. His great accomplishments in baseball led to him getting drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. There he played 3 major league baseball seasons then got drafted by the Boston Celtics in the 2nd round of the 1981 draft. He was a big contributor to the success of the NBA champion Celtics in 1984 and 1986. This is why I chose Danny Ainge as number one of the top ten professional athletes from Oregon.
My second choice was tough, because he had such a short professional running career but if he had the chance I believe he could have become an even greater runner than he was. For the second choice I chose Steve Prefontaine. Prefontaine was born in Coos Bay, Oregon and went to Marshfield high school. He ran track for the University of Oregon and began his amazing and sadly short running career. “Pre” as he was known as ran long and medium distance events in track and set more than a dozen American distance records. Sadly Prefontaine died shortly after one of his races in a car accident at the age 24.
Although my third choice wasn’t actually born in Oregon but Don Schollander grew up and went to high school in Lake Oswego for his freshman and sophomore years. He wasn’t big enough to play football so he joined Lake Oswego’s swim team and helped them win a state championship his freshman year. Schollander’s success in swimming led to him competing in the Olympics twice and winning gold 5 times. Along with that he set 3 world records at the Olympics and this helped him make number 3 on my list of top athletes from Oregon.
On to number four on my list I have chosen Mel Renfro. He attended Jefferson High School and later went to the University of Oregon. Renfro excelled in football and track in high school but went on to be drafted by the Cowboys in the second round. He went on to being selected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was selected into the Pro-Bowl in his first ten seasons.
My fifth athlete on the list is Dale Murphy. He was born in Portland, Oregon and went to Wilson high school. Dale Murphy’s success on the baseball field led him to being selected two times the National League Most Valuable Player. At the time of his accomplishment of being selected consecutively the MVP made him one in four outfielders to ever do this. Not only has he achieved this, but also he was selected to the all-star team seven times and had his number retired by the Atlanta Braves.
The next athlete who is number six is Dick Fosbury. He grew up in Medford and was a highly talented high jumper who invented a new way of jumping over the bar. It is now known as the Fosbury Flop, a back first technique he started using when he was 16 years old. His technique led him to becoming Olympic world record holder of the high jump in 1968 from a jump of 7 ft. 4.25 in. With this jump he also became the Olympic gold medalist of the event.
Number seven on my list is Mickey Lolich. He was born in Portland, Oregon and he led the Detroit Tigers in baseball to a World Series in 1968. Not only did he help his team win, but he was named the MVP of the World Series. With an amazing performance by throwing three complete games in the series he is the last guy to win 3 games in a world series since Randy Johnson did it in 2001.
Now on to number eight on my list and I am going to go with A.C. Green. The iron man of the basketball court played in 1278 of his 1281 professional basketball games. He was born in Portland and went to Benson High School. He also went to Oregon State University, where he got drafted from by the Los Angeles Lakers. His NBA career ended with him winning 3 championships and being voted an all-star once.
The ninth top professional athlete I chose is Neil Lomax. He attended Lake Oswego and also went to Portland State University where he set 90, yes 90 division 1 AA football records throughout his college career. This led to him being selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Cardinals. He is 12th on the list for passing yards in a season by NFL quarterbacks and was selected to the pro bowl twice in his short NFL career of 8 years.
Last but not least on my top ten list is Johnny Pesky. Born in Portland, Oregon and played baseball for the Boston Red Sox. He was a life time 307 hitter and is honored by the right foul pole name at Fenway Park being called the “Pesky Pole”. He played with some of the greatest baseball players around including Ted Williams and has contributed a lot to his beloved team the Red Sox. His number six has been retired by Boston and he still continues to join the team once in a while to help out.
A tough top ten professional athletes from Oregon, but I believe they are the best who have come out of the state and aren’t active right now. I really enjoy hearing about all these players from Oregon and will continue to because the state is producing more and more top athletes year after year. So there you have it my top ten athletes from the good old state of Oregon.