MN Greatest Athlete

MN’s Greatest Athlete

Henny G-Legs

Follow on twitter @HennyG_Legs

I would like start by saying this title can be given to any one human being that has ever played a sport for a MN team in High School, College, Pro, Semi-Pro, or Rec League Superstar. The man I have in mind actually played for three of the previous levels mentioned in this fine state. He grew up in St Paul on the Oxford playground and later went to play not only baseball but basketball for the Golden Gophers. Then went on to play professional baseball for a number of teams including the Twins in what was a Hall of Fame career. The man I speak of is David Mark Winfield.

Winfield not only is the greatest MN athlete of all time he’s gotta be in the running for greatest American athlete of all time. As a two sport athlete for the Gophers he was elite on two sports surfaces. It’s one thing to play two sports but to be extremely good at one, baseball, and start for a basketball team where he was known for being the teams best rebounder.  Might I add it was a Big Ten championship basketball team from the 1971-72 season. From the baseball side of things he brought the Gophers to the College World Series in 1973. While playing in the College World Series he decide to become the series MVP while playing for a team that went 2-2. Don’t they give that award to the best player on the winning team? The guy struck-out 29 batters in 17.1 IP and also hit 7 for 15 with a bomb and 2 RBI. I’m guessing I may not have you sold yet. Lots of athletes succeed at the collegiate level. Agreed, but what I got next might convince you. As you might have guessed he was drafted…Dave Winfield was drafted by four teams. You may wonder how that’s possible. Let me walk you through it; His Hall of Fame baseball career started when the San Diego Padres (MLB) selected him 4th overall as a pitcher. Next there was obviously a future for him in basketball when the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and the Utah Stars (ABA) selected him in their respective drafts. Let’s do the math: 1) MLB  2) NBA  3) ABA 4)???. Well lets see…baseball and basketball were the only two sports he ever played and we definitely have those drafts covered but lets add the Purple Pride MN Vikings to the list of teams to draft Dave Winfield. That’s some big time respect to draft a guy on pure athleticism and think he can help your football team. That’s like the USA Water Polo team asking me to join their squad because I received my swimmers diploma in the 3rd grade. Maybe not that extreme but the guy didn’t play college football and the Vikings felt he could fill a role for them.

Dave Winfield’s Hall of Fame baseball career speaks for it’s self. I’m not going to rant about his 3,110 hits or 465 bombs. Baseball recognized him for what he accomplished as a baseball player and I’m recognizing him for what kind of athlete he was…MN’s GREATEST!!

Just for Fun my TOP 5

1) Dave Winfield – reread top

2) KIrby Puckett – Changed the passion for Twins baseball after his very first MLB hit. HOF career. 2 x World Champ. 6 x Gold Glove.

3) Kevin Garnett – Made basketball in MN worth watching from ‘95 to ‘07. His work ethic is unmatched. Future HOF. 1 NBA title. Career stats 19.5 ppg 10.7 rbs 4.1 ast. NBA MVP.

NBA Def POY. 4 x All NBA Team

4) Kevin McHale – Put MN on the map as a legit basketball state. HOF career. 3 NBA titles. Career stats 17.9 ppg 7.3 rbs. 1 x All NBA Team.

3 x All NBA 1st Def. Team. NBA All Rookie Team. 9 x All NBA Def. Team. 4 x NBA Rebounding Champ.

5) Randy Moss – “Straight Cash Homie” Future HOF. Offensive ROY. 5 x All Pro. Record 23 TD’s in one season


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13 Responses to MN Greatest Athlete

  1. Ellis says:

    I can’t believe you leave off Joe Mauer. I realize the Twins are having a terrible year, and Mauer has been hurt nearly the whole year — however, take a look at his athletic career.

    He was a star at Cretin Derham Hall. He was high school player of the year in two sports, and also made all state in basketball.

    1st overall pick in the MLB draft.

    3 batting titles, 3 gold gloves, and 1 MVP award.

    And not in your top 5? C’mon man!

    • Henny G-Legs says:

      Thanks Ellis for the comment!!

      I left Mauer off the list because of his inability to play everyday. Whether it’s do to injury or just days off because how much playing catcher takes a toll on him. Also I would like to argue all 3 of his batting titles and even his MVP award if I may.

      Batting Titles:
      2006 At Bats Batting Avg
      Mauer 521 .347
      Jeter 623 .343

      Mauer 536 .328
      Pedroia 653 .326

      Mauer 523 .365
      Ichiro 639 .352

      Is there a common theme here. He’s getting to the plate over 100 times less then all these guys that were runner-ups. If Mauer plays everyday like all these guys do his average will drop a significant amount. He’s just not built for a long grueling season like most baseball players. You can argue all you want that catching is the hardest position to play in baseball and I will agree with you. What I would say to counter is that he plays in the American League and the designated hitter is in play in every game but inter-league.

      Let’s move on to his MVP award.
      At Bats Batting Avg Home Runs Runs Batted In Runs
      Mauer 523 .365 28 96 94
      Teixeira 609 .292 39 122 103

      Wow looking at this you tell me who should have won the MVP award. I didn’t even add the most important stat either (Teixeira 103 wins & Mauer 87). The surprising thing was that Teixeira didn’t get one first place vote. I realize that the poor pitiful MN Twins don’t have all the star power that the NY Yankees have and just making the playoffs is like winning the World Series for them. Stats just don’t lie and either does the win/loss columns. One more thing to add Teixeira won a Gold Glove award that year too.

      Mauer just hasn’t done enough for me to make the list. Get 1 just 1 clutch hit in your career that’s memorable or even just be apart of a World Series winning team. More just needs to be done here.

  2. Brien Geerdes says:

    Athlete? Kevin McHale?

    Low post technician? Yes. Dominant post player and rebounder despite his lack of athletic ability? Yes. Do I love him (as a player not as the destroyer of NBA franchises)? Yes. Top five athlete? Maybe top ten…

    • Henny G-Legs says:

      I think McHale did a great job helping the Celtics franchise get back to be title contenders again with the KG deal. Good Luck Houston!!!
      Remember he was a top 50 All Time guy when the list was made in 1996. That alone puts him in the MN Top 5 Athletes.

  3. Max Meyers says:

    Lets dig real deep here coach…how about James Laurinaitis? Minnesota born and bred (Wayzata), Laurinaitis was (like Winfield) unreal at 2 sports. He was expected to be drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round of the NHL draft out of high school, but his clear interest in football prevented that. After leading Wayzata to the state championship game as MN Defensive Mr. Football in 2004, he went on to one of the most illustrious college careers ever for a defensive player at OSU, winning the Nagurski Award (nations best defensive player) as a SOPHOMORE. He went on to be the only player to ever be Big Ten Defensive player of the year twice and also won the prestigious Butkus Award. I could keep going with the honors, including the Lowe’s senior CLASS Award, recognizing the nations top senior football student-athlete. Drafted to the NFL in the second round by the (beloved) St. Louis Rams, he has lead the team in tackles in both of his first two seasons, was named to the NFL All-Rookie team by Sportingnews, and continues to be the leader on the St. Louis Rams defense. The sky is the limit for this young man, and rest assured in about 15 years (when you’re sitting in a retirement home) Laurinaitis will be revered as one of the top Minnesota athletes of all time. Respectable?

    • Henny G-Legs says:

      Not enough accomplished yet. Pro Bowls-All Pros?? Excellent college career I will give you that Max.
      I don’t recognize hockey as a living breathing organism. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist it just doesn’t have a pulse.

  4. Starting Safety Guy says:

    Is this a list of the best athlete, in terms of pure athleticism? Or is it the Minnesotan who had the best athletic career? I think there is a difference there.

    Either way, while Laurinaitis is a cute story — although his name sounds more like a disease you might contract during your first week of college — he doesn’t belong on either list.

    11 Notable misses of the top of my head:

    — Bronco Nagurski
    — Paul Molitor
    — Joe Mauer
    — Tom Lehman
    — Jack Morris
    — Bruce Smith
    — John Gagliardi
    — Vern Gagne
    — Bernie Bierman
    — Terry Steinbach
    — Khalid El-Amin

    • Max Meyers says:

      at this point I would agree with you, but sometimes fully analyzing the situation means looking forward rather than backward. Obviously this list is focused on looking backwards, and right now Laurinaitis deserves no Top 10 mention, but about 15 years down the road, you’ll see a comment on this article, having not been commented on in 14 years, and it’ll say something along the lines of “I told you so.” Then again there is a chance that he turns out like fellow Minnesotans Laurence Maroney or Marion Barber, and fizzles after a few strong years in the league. We’ll see.

    • Henny G-Legs says:

      Bronco Nagurski should be on this list. I will concede that. 75th Anniversary Team-1930’s All Decade Team-And the college’s best defensive player receives the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
      Maybe Bruce Smith-won Heisman then became an actor. Keep in-mind Gino Torretta won the Heisman too.
      Tom Lehman come on! I saw a guy in a walker playing golf yesterday. He was better then me though.

  5. Melonhead says:

    You are on crack if you think Dave Winfield is in the running for the greatest American athelete of all time. MN… debatable. U.S. athlete of all-time??? That’s a little aggressive.

    I would also like to point out that my dad has been mistaken for Dave Winfield at least 3,500 times in my lifetime. For that reason alone Mr. Winfield will always hold a special place in my heart.

    • Henny G-Legs says:

      I would like to start by saying I am not or never have been on crack or any other substance. Say No To Drugs!!
      I’m excited to hear that your Dad has been mistaken for MN’s Greatest Athlete!! But with a name like Melonhead I’m not excited to see what you look like. Doorways must be difficult for you.

  6. bieberdueces says:

    Just would like to add Vern Gagne was my substitute teacher in junior high, was scary then couldn’t image him in his prime! Glad you didn’t have Jesse V on the list haha

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