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The 50 Greatest Maine Sports Figures

Sports Illustrated This list of the top 50 greatest 20th-century athletes originally appeared in the Dec. 27, 1999 issue of Sports Illustrated. Have someone to add to SI's list? Click here to submit your choices.

20th Century Top 50
Rank Profile
1 Joan Benoit Samuelson, Cape Elizabeth
Won first women's marathon, at 1984 Games; her 2:24:52 time is still an Olympic record.
2
Cindy Blodgett, Clinton
State's leading high school basketball scorer -- boys and girls; All-America at Maine (1997-98); fifth-leading scorer in NCAA history.
3 Jack Coombs, Waterville
Set AL record by pitching 24-inning game in 1906; won 31 games in '10 and holds AL record with 13 shutouts.
4
Edmund (Rip) Black, Bailey Island
All-state in football at Portland High; won hammer throw bronze at 1928 Olympics; also pitched no-hitter for Maine that year.
5 Dick MacPherson, Old Town
National football coach of the year at Syracuse in 1987; had 66-46-4 record at Syracuse; coached Patriots for two seasons.
6
Billy Swift, South Portland
Three-time All-America at Maine; led NL in ERA (2.08) with Giants in 1992, won 21 games in '93.
7 Mike Bordick, Winterport
Played in two College World Series at Maine; took over for Cal Ripken as Orioles shortstop in 1997; has twice led AL in assists.
8
Joey Gamache, Lewiston
Won WBA junior lightweight title in 1991; briefly held WBA lightweight title in '92.
9 Mark Plummer, Augusta
Has won 10 Maine and two New England Amateur golf championships; lost to Tiger Woods on 18th hole in U.S. Amateur semifinals in 1995.
10
Bill (Rough) Carrigan, Lewiston
Red Sox catcher-manager led Boston to World Series wins in 1915 and '16 with lefty ace Babe Ruth in his rotation.
11 Chet Bulger, Rumford
Two-way tackle with Cardinals and Lions from 1942 to '50; played for Cardinals' last NFL title team, in '47.
12
Walter Case, Lisbon Falls
Set world harness season record with 1,077 wins in 1998; set record with 10 wins on a single program in '99.
13 Bob Legendre, Lewiston
Two-time Olympian won bronze in 1924 pentathlon; set world record in long jump phase of that event.
14
Abby Spector, Waterville
Won fourth straight Maine Women's Amateur golf championship, in 1999; now playing for North Carolina.
15 Al McCoy, Waterville
Only Maine heavyweight to fight for world title -- lost to Joe Louis in 1940; beat four onetime light heavyweight champions.
16
John Winkin, Orono
Baseball coach at Colby from 1954 to '72; had 642-430-3 record at Maine ('75 to '96) and got into College World Series six times.
17 Eric Weinrich, Gardiner
All-America defenseman at Maine in 1987; played on '88 Olympic team; now in NHL.
18
Freddy Parent, Sanford
Shortstop on Red Sox team that won first World Series, in 1903; broke up three no-hitters; saved Cy Young's perfect game with defensive gem.
19 John Bower, Auburn
Won Nordic combined at prestigious Holmenkollen Festival in 1968, the first U.S. skier to win that event.
20
John Huard, Waterville
Two-time All-America in football at Maine; Broncos' middle linebacker from 1967 to '69.
21 Dot Petty, Portland
World candlepin bowling singles champion in 1967 and '78; two-time WCBC Bowler of the Year.
22
John Wassenbergh, South Wassenbergh
Scored 43 in South Portland High's five-overtime win over Bangor High for 1992 Class A hoops title; NAIA All-America twice at St. Joseph's (Maine).
23 Carl Willey, Cherryfield
Pitched shutout in major league debut with Braves in 1958; spent eight seasons with Braves and Mets; career ERA of 3.76.
24
Paul Junior, Lisbon
Lightweight boxer had 476-13 record in 1920s and '30s.
25 Tony Miner, Augusta
Two-time All-America at Southern Maine set Division III record with 35-game hit streak while batting .397 in 1997; team won NCAA title that year.
26
Whitney Leeman, Bucksport
Won 16 New England swimming titles in four years at Maine; won Division II 200-meter backstroke title in 1984; holds three school records.
27 Kevin Mahaney, Bangor
Won a sailing silver medal at the 1992 Olympics; reached finals of America's Cup trials in '95.
28
Raymond Lebel, Lewiston
State's youngest amateur golf champion (17), in 1940; won title five more times from '41 to '65.
29 Bert Roberge, Auburn
Set school career ERA record (1.82) at Maine (1974 to '77) and is tied for career shutouts mark (six); 12-12 record with Astros, White Sox and Expos.
30
Harold (Bud) White, Auburn
All-America swimmer at Edward Little High; Bowdoin's first All-America swimmer, in 1938.
31 Jean Roy, Lewiston
Led Lewiston High to state hockey championship in 1978; three-time All-America defenseman at Bowdoin; Hobey Baker finalist in '84.
32
Clyde Sukeforth, Washington
Played 10 years as backup catcher for Reds and Dodgers; scouted and helped sign Jackie Robinson for Dodgers.
33 Robert Aceto, Cape Elizabeth
All-America pitcher at Southern Maine went 11-1 and shut out Trenton State in 1991 Division III title game.
34
Jay Ramsdell, Franklin
At 23 became youngest sports commissioner in U.S. when he took over CBA in 1987; died in a plane crash two years later.
35 Marcus Nash, Fryeburg
Member of U.S. Olympic cross-country ski team in 1994 and '98; has won six U.S. titles since '97.
36
Gail Liberty, Auburn
National women's pistol champion in 1961, '62and '63; world co-champion in '82.
37 Stump Merrill, Brunswick
Catcher for Maine's College World Series team in 1964; manager and coach in Yankees system since '77.
38
L.L. Bean, Freeport
Invented waterproof boots in 1912; built company that has outfitted hunters and fishers throughout century.
39 Erik Nedeau, Kennebunk
First New England collegian to break four-minute-mile barrier when he ran 3:59.6 as senior at Northeastern in 1993.
40
Danny Bolduc, Waterville
Played on 1976 U.S. Olympic hockey team; after three seasons with WHA New England Whalers, became state's first NHL player.
41 Gary Williamson, Bethel
College World Series MVP for Division III champion Southern Maine in 1991.
42
Julie Parisien, Auburn
At 1991 U.S. championships won gold in Super G and silver in downhill; member of Olympic ski team in '92.
43 Francois Bouchard, Old Orchard Beach
All-America forward scored 27.1 ppg at Cheverus High in 1988-89; all-conference at Maine ('93-94).
44
Shawn Walsh, Orono
Coached Maine to two NCAA hockey titles (1993 and '99); national coach of the year in '95; career record of 363-197-34.
45 Fred Tootell, Brunswick
Took up hammer throw at Bowdoin in 1920; four years later won Olympic gold in that event.
46
Barbara Krause, Freeport
Led Freeport High to state titles in basketball, field hockey and softball; set Duke game rebound record (24) in 1979.
47 Coley Welch, Portland
Third-ranked middleweight in the world in 1942; lost 10-round decision to Jake LaMotta in '44; career record of 100-22-2.
48
Bob Prince, Wells
Outfielder on Southern Maine's 1991 Division III title team; three-time All-America.
49 Mike Thurston, Caribou
Swished a last-second, half-court heave to beat Westbrook High 65-63 and give Caribou High its only state title, in 1969.
50
Charles Milan III, Brewer
Veteran candlepin bowler has won 23 singles titles since 1954.

Photograph by Matthew Sto


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