We’ve made it to the Final Four in the “Greatest Athlete in Connecticut History Tournament,” and the excitement in the Nutmeg state is palpable.
Everywhere you go here, people aren’t buzzing about this tournament, but that’s because they’re are so enthralled with the entire thing that they’re trying not to jinx its exciting greatness, like position players in the dugout while their pitcher is throwing a no-hitter.
FINAL FOUR VOTING ENDS MONDAY, 8/24, AT 3 P.M.
3. Jim O’Rourke
MLB Hall of Famer
First Round: Def. 14. Michael Adams (70% to 30%)
Second Round: Def. 6. Nykesha Sales (74% to 26%)
Sweet 16: Def. 2. Calvin Murphy (52% to 48%)
Elite Eight: Def. 13. Bobby Valentine (56% to 43%)
We know the only reason O’Rourke is here is because Syracuse fans wanted their boy Floyd Little to take home the title. But it’s OK–not enough people stood up for Stamford’s own Bobby Valentine, and that’s why the one-time favorite was suddenly dropped by this old-timer in the Elite Eight.
Will the ‘Cuse fans be able to vote O’Rourke, who collected the first hit in National League history, past Mike Katz’s veritable army of fans in southern Connecticut?
It’ll be interesting to see. If O’Rourke does win, it’s not like he won’t deserve it. “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 was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
First Round: Def. 7. Vin Baker (76% to 24%)
Second Round: Def. 2. Jeff Bagwell (65% to 35%)
Sweet 16: Def. 3. Joan Joyce (59% to 41%)
Elite Eight: Def. 4 Chris Drury (80% to 20%)
It’s been a tremendous run for Katz, whom we profiled on SportzEdge Tonight back in May, and whom has a ton of fans in southern Connecticut. He’s an inspiring story, an underrated athlete in this state, and though rated as a 10-seed and considered an underdog in his first-round matchup against Vin Baker, he’s now a contender to take home the title.
This will be Katz’s biggest challenge yet, as it’s likely ‘Cuse fans will vote heavily for O’Rourke so that they’ll be unchallenged in the championship round.
Can Arnold Schwarzenegger’s old friend stir up enough support to reach Connecticut sports immortality?
Let’s find out.