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.
VOTING FOR SECOND ROUND ENDS MONDAY AT 3 P.M.
GENO AURIEMMA REGION
2. Calvin Murphy
1st Round: Defeated 15. Rico Brogna 52.76% to 47.24%
Growing up in Norwalk, Murphy was (amazingly) a world-class baton twirler. He said he was “bullied into it,” according to Wikipedia, as his mother and sister were twirlers too. As an eighth grader, Calvin won the national championship in baton twirling, and was invited to perform at the 1964 World’s Fair.
But it’s not baton twirling that he’s known for. At 5-9, the diminutive Murphy is known as one of the best NBA players of all-time under six feet tall. He owns the NBA’s all-time free throw percentage record, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
10. Walt Dropo
UConn men’s basketball, MLB
1st Round: Defeated 10. Julius Boros 53.27% to 46.73%
Perhaps the greatest athlete in UConn history, Dropo, also known as the “Moose,” from Moosup, was a three-sport star in basketball, baseball and football at Connecticut. He averaged 20.7 points per game, which ranks second all-time in Huskies history, behind Wes Bialosuknia.
Dropo was drafted by the Chicago Bears of the NFL and the Providence Steamrollers of a pre-NBA professional basketball league. But he made his greatest mark in baseball, where he won the 1950 American League Rookie of the Year award and spent four seasons with the Red Sox.