|08-17-2002, 11:43 PM||#1|
Renounced Membership 8/20/02
Alabama Athletes in Professional Sports
Alabama is well known for a lot of things such as, our beautiful beaches, our pretty women, good manners, gardens, farms, antebellum homes, and ship building, but did you know what else Alabama is well known for? Producing great NFL, MLB and NBA athletes and much more. Can you name a lot of players from your state or those who played college sports in your state? See how many you come up with. Here's my list from Alabama.
Most but not all, played their college ball at the University of Alabama or the University of Auburn. Some came from smaller colleges such as, the University of South Alabama, Alabama A&M, Tuskegee, Alabama-Birmingham, Alabama State, and many others. The list is way too long to name all the players from Alabama that have played or are playing in professional sports today.
Allow me to name some of those players that have made a name for themselves in the NFL or MLB. I will also list some that are currently playing in the NFL and MLB.
Letís start off with some of the most famous or most popular players from Alabama that played in professional sports.
Bart Starr, the great quarterback of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960ís, played his college ball at the University of Alabama. Starr led the Packers to the first Super Bowl title in NFL history in 1967, by beating the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. Starr did it again in Super Bowl II, when Green Bay beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14. Way to go Bart.
In 1969, another great quarterback from the University of Alabama led the New York Jets to an upset of the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, by a score of 16-7. His name was Joe Namath. Namath predicted that the Jets would upset the Colts in the Super Bowl. Yes, he also admitted to wearing panty hose to keep his legs warm. Ugh!
Now everybody knows of Kenny ďthe snakeĒ Stabler, who had a great career at the University of Alabama. He played for the Oakland Raiders and the New Orleans Saints. He helped lead the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl title in the late 70ís. Presently, he is an announcer for the Alabama Crimson Tide football program.
Ray Perkins who was a standout wide receiver for Alabama in the 1960ís had a successful career with the Baltimore Colts. Later on, Perkins was a head coach in the NFL and at his old alma mater, Alabama. The quarterback for the Colts at the time was future Hall of Famer, Johnny Unitas. Dennis Homan was another receiver out of Alabama, who played in the NFL, with the Dallas Cowboys, and running back Johnny Musso, who was a premier back for Alabama under legendary coach Paul ďBearĒ Bryant in the 1970ís, played for the Chicago Bears and in the CFL.
Another great player that made a name for himself in the NFL on defense was Lee Roy Jordan. He played his college ball for the University of Alabama. Jordan is in the NFLís Hall of Fame.
One of the greatest offensive guards to ever play the game, John ďHogĒ Hannah played for the Crimson Tide, and had a very distinguished career in the NFL, with the New England Patriots. His name is enshrined in the NFLís Hall of Fame.
Okay let me give you an Auburn player as much as I hate to. How about Bo Jackson? He had a great career in the NFL and in MLB, but unfortunately it was cut short, due to an injury to his hip. He would have been a Hall of Famer for sure, if he had stayed healthy. Jackson played for the Oakland Raiders and played baseball, mainly for the Kansas City Royals.
Another good player from Auburn was Mike Fuller. I went to high school with him, and his brother, here in Mobile, in the 1970ís. Fuller had a great career as a defensive back with the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers. Man was he fast. His brother Terry was the only one that could outrun me in grade school.
Remember running back Joe Cribbs, who played for Auburn and went on to have a good career with the Buffalo Bills? How about offensive tackle Victor Riley? Heís been a good one in the NFL. He currently plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is in his fourth year in the NFL.
Another good player is Takeo Spikes, who plays linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals and running back Rudi Johnson, who is a rookie for the Bengals. Canít forget about Anthony Harris, who is a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns. Wide receiver Karsten Bailey plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Wide receiver Frank Sanders, who is becoming a premier receiver with the Arizona Cardinals, played for Auburn. Fourth year NFL player Fred Beasley plays fullback for the San Francisco 49ers.
Third-string quarterback Dameyune Craig, plays for the Carolina Panthers. He had a great college career at Auburn.
Getting back to Alabama for a moment. One of the greatest tight ends in NFL history played his college ball for the Crimson Tide. He is also a Hall of Famer. His name is Ozzie Newsome. What a class act he is. Currently he is employed as GM and Vice President for the Baltimore Ravens. He helped lead that team to its first Super Bowl title in 2001.
Seriously, Alabama has produced some great talent for such a small state. The population of Alabama is just a little over 4,000,000.
Another good player was running back Tony Nathan that played for the Miami Dolphins, and how about running back Wilbur Jackson, that played for the San Francisco 49ers? They were good players in the NFL, but not Hall of Famers. Quarterback Richard Todd of Alabama played his professional ball with the New York Jets. Quarterback Scott Hunter who played at Alabama before Richard Todd, played some pro ball with the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons.
One of the best defensive players from the University of Alabama was the late Derrick Thomas, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 90ís. He played linebacker better than anybody just about. Man what a loss. We miss you Derrick. Another great linebacker from Alabama is Cornelius Bennett. He really had a great career in the NFL, while playing for the Buffalo Bills. He later went to Atlanta and Indianapolis.
How about RB Shaun Alexander who plays for the Seattle Seahawks. He had a career day last week(article written in 2001), when he rushed for 266 yards against the Oakland Raiders. That is the fourth highest rushing total in a single game in NFL history. The only oneís ahead of him are Walter Payton, O.J. Simpson, and Corey Dillon. That was a great accomplishment on his part and what a future he has in the NFL.
Also, you have linebacker Dwayne Rudd, who plays for the Cleveland Browns. He was formerly with the Minnesota Vikings. Another is cornerback Fernando Bryant, who plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. You have 13- year NFL veteran Howard Cross, who plays tight end for the New York Giants. Second year offensive tackle Chris Samuels, who hopes to help the Washington Redskins return to glory.
Defensive back George Teague, who was instrumental in helping Alabama win a National Championship in 1993, plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Rookie defensive tackle Kenny Smith plays with the New Orleans Saints. He has great potential,
Is that enough names for you. We havenít even gotten to baseball yet.
The biggest name in major league baseball that was born and raised in Alabama, was Hank Aaron, the all-time homerun king that broke Babe Ruthís career homerun record in 1974. Aaron finished his career with 755. Aaron grew up in my hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He is presently an employee of the Atlanta Braves and works in the front office.
Another great one from Mobile and a member of baseballís HOF is Willie McCovey, he played first base for the San Francisco Giants in the 1960ís and 70ís. He played at the same time Willie Mays did, and on the same team, Mays another Hall of Famers is from Alabama. Man the list goes on and on.
Billy Williams is in the HOF and he played his professional ball with the Chicago Cubs. Williams was an outfielder and a very good one at that. He grew up in Mobile County. He is still in the Cubs organization to this day. Remember outfielder Amos Otis who had a stellar career with the Kansas City Royals and Tommie Agee who played for the 1969 World Champion New York Mets. Yes all from Alabama.
Now all the players Iím about to mention are not all from Alabama, but they played their college ball at the University of South Alabama, located in Mobile. One is Luis Gonzalez, who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. If you remember he knocked in the winning run in the World Series this year in game seven, against the New York Yankees. He played at South Alabama from 1986 through 1988. Pitcher Jon Lieber pitcher for the Chicago Cubs played at South.
One of the most famous Alabamian that participated in a sports related field, was the great Olympic runner Jesse Owens. He won a lot of events in the 1933 Olympics, which took place in Berlin. He embarrassed German leader Adolf Hilter, because he was a black man, and Hilter believed the German white race was superior to any other. Oh well, I hate it for him. Another great athlete that played his college ball in Alabama, and who had a great basketball career in the NBA, was Charles Barkley.
Remember Charles Finley that owned the Oakland Athletics years ago? He was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Heís the one that introduced orange baseball to MLB. Unfortunately, MLB didnít like the idea. He was an innovator for sure. Actually, he was a mess. We say that a lot in Alabama.
In closing, I am proud of each player that has contributed to the success of the NFL, MLB and the NBA. Like I stated earlier, the list goes on and on. Why donít you make a list of players from your state and see how many you come up with. Iím not saying the state of Alabama has produced the most, but according to the size of our state, we have produced more than our fair share.
Written by: Keith Thronson Mobile, Alabama
I wrote this originally in November of 2001.
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