Greatest Athlete in Connecticut Tournament: Jim O’Rourke vs. Michael Adams

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.

jim orourke1 Greatest Athlete in Connecticut Tournament: Jim ORourke vs. Michael Adams3. Jim O’Rourke

MLB Hall of Famer

Bridgeport

The Bridgeport native and Yale law grad is credited with getting the first hit in National League history back in 1876. (It was a single to left field). “Orator Jim,” as he was known, played 21 seasons in the major leagues, collecting over 2,600 hits and batting .311 for his career.

He played in the minors until he was in his 50s, and even appeared in a game with the New York Giants at age 54. But he wasn’t just there for show—he actually got a hit, becoming the oldest player ever to do so.

He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945, and there’s a statue of him in front of Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.

You can read more about “Orator Jim” here.

Michael Adams14. Michael Adams

NBA Guard

Hartford

The 5-10 waterbug guard averaged a whopping 26.5 points per game for the Denver Nuggets in 1991, even putting up 54 points in a March game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Adams was a terrific scorer with the Nuggets in the late 80s and early 90s. The Hartford Public and Boston College grad finished with a career scoring average of 14.7 points per game.

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