Greatest Athlete in Connecticut History Tournament: Mo Vaughn vs. Jimmy Piersall

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!!

Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national phenomenon along the lines of a presidential election, Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech, or DeAndre Jordan changing his mind about where he wants to play basketball.

This year, we decided to take on a question scholars have been debating since the 1800’s, maybe.

Who is the greatest athlete in Connecticut history?

There are plenty of outstanding candidates, from Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, to four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, to all-time great featherweight boxer Willie Pep.

The athletes we considered must have grown up in Connecticut, and we counted only their prowess on the playing field, so coaches, executives and contributors like Walter Camp were not considered.

WALTER CAMP REGION

6. Mo Vaughn

MLB first baseman: 1991-2003

Norwalk

In his heyday, Mo Vaughn was one of the most feared hitters in the game. The 1995 American League MVP was the face of the Red Sox in the mid-nineties, putting up five straight 30-plus home run seasons.

In 12 years with the Red Sox, Angels, and Mets, Mo hit .293 with 328 homers and 1,064 RBI. Vaughn’s career fizzled after he signed a 6-year $80 million free agent contract with the Angels in 1999.

(AP Photo/ Harry Harris)
(AP Photo/ Harry Harris)

11. Jimmy Piersall

MLB outfielder: 1950-1967

Waterbury

The colorful Piersall won two Gold Gloves in his 17-year major league career, most of which was spent with the Boston Red Sox. In 1956, Piersall led the American League with 40 doubles.

He also hit .291 that year, and was named an A.L. All-Star twice (’54 and ’56). In all, the outfielder finished with a .271 career average, 104 home runs and 594 RBI.

Piersall also famously suffered from manic depression, once ran the bases backwards and “talked” to Babe Ruth’s monument in center field at Yankee Stadium. His story is chronicled in the classic movie “Fear Strikes Out.”

A battle of former Red sox players. Who do you got?

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