The son of a South Carolina farmer and bootlegger, Frazier honed his big left hook by slugging sides of beef in the Philadelphia slaughterhouse where he began working as a 16-year-old. He won heavyweight gold at the 1964 Olympics, then took Jimmy Ellis's championship belt in '70, but the title seemed tainted because he earned it while Muhammad Ali was suspended for refusing to be drafted. After Ali's ban was lifted in 1970 (with Frazier's help), the two agreed to fight at Madison Square Garden, thus beginning a rivalry that would dominate the rest of Frazier's career, if not his life. Ali cast himself as a man of the people and portrayed Frazier as ignorant and an Uncle Tom. "I grew up like the black man—he didn't," Frazier said years later. "I cooked the liquor. I cut the wood. I worked the farm. I lived in the ghetto." Frazier floored Ali to win their first bout, then lost the last two. He retired in '76, shortly after the rubber match and largely bitter at the way he'd been treated by Ali. Still, Smokin' Joe accepted that his foil shaped his legacy. "I can't go nowhere where [the first fight is] not mentioned," Frazier said. "That was the greatest thing that ever happened."
As a young caddie in Pedreña, Spain, Ballesteros would venture onto the course only when the wind and rain were so bad that members sought shelter in the clubhouse. He would play with a homemade club, a wooden stick jammed into a discarded head. While it was hardly an ideal way to learn the game, it was no coincidence that Ballesteros was at his best when conditions were most challenging. At a blustery Royal Lytham and St. Annes in 1979, Ballesteros hit just nine fairways in four days. But he still came in at one under par (he made birdie from a parking lot on the 16th hole in his final round) to become, at 22, the youngest British Open winner in 86 years. Nine months later he became the youngest winner of the Masters, during which he made a birdie on the 17th hole after driving onto the 7th green. "Drive fairway all the time, no fun," Ballesteros said. "Make big hook, cause excitement." The excitement rarely abated, as he won two more British Opens, another Masters and a record 50 titles on the European tour. He was also a member of five victorious Ryder Cup teams, as a player or captain. "He's the most imaginative player in golf," Ben Crenshaw said after Ballesteros won the '83 Masters. "Seve's never in trouble. We see him in the trees quite a lot, but that looks normal to him."
In 1954, Senators owner Clark Griffith realized the benefit of having a team in the nation's capital: It's the home to baseball fans with constituents all over the country. So it was that Griffith found himself one afternoon talking to Herman Welker, a senator from Idaho, who was raving about a power-hitting 17-year-old in a small town called Payette. The Nats dispatched a scout, who saw Killebrew go 12 for 12 with four homers, including a 435-footer, in a semipro game. Killebrew initially drew comparisons to Joe Hardy, the Senators' fictional slugger in Damn Yankees, but he was inconsistent; after he struck out against the Yankees to end a game, sportswriter Bob Addie told him, "You may look like Joe Hardy to some, but today you were more like Andy Hardy." As Killebrew matured, he developed into one of the most reliable home run hitters ever, with a career total of 573, 11th all time. He went deep once every 14.2 at bats; at the time only Babe Ruth and Ralph Kiner had a better ratio. Power wasn't the only thing the stocky Killebrew had in common with the Bambino. "He never showed you up, no flaps down or anything," Tommy John told ESPN. "Just that little number 3—like Babe Ruth—trotting like he hit 'em before and he would hit 'em again."
Never flashy or overpowering, Forsch was definitely dependable. For six straight seasons, beginning in 1975, the righty made more than 30 starts, his ERA never rising above 3.94. Forsch, who was drafted as a third baseman, finished with 168 wins and hit a dozen homers. He was one of only 30 pitchers to hurl two no-hitters; Bob and his older brother, Ken, were also the only siblings to throw no-nos.
Nicknamed Zeus by his mother—before he was even born—Brown was an undrafted tackle who became a force for the Browns. His nine-year career was interrupted in 1999 by a bizarre incident in which he was temporarily blinded in one eye by a referee's penalty flag. The 6'7", 350-pound Brown shoved the ref and wound up suspended for two weeks. He died of complications associated with diabetes.