Sunday, March 29, 2009

Top 5 N.C.-native baseball stars

North Carolina has a long and interesting baseball history, producing many great players along the way. We think these are the best five to ever come from the Tar Heel state. Feel free to argue otherwise.

5. BUCK LEONARD: Born in Rocky Mount, Leonard was known as the “Black Lou Gehrig,” since he played first base and batted behind Josh Gibson, the “Black Babe Ruth” in the lineup of the legendary Homestead Grays of the Negro National League. He played from 1933-52, and is in the Hall of Fame.

4. JIM “CATFISH” HUNTER: The Hertford native won 224 games from 1965-79, picking up a Cy Young Award along the way. A Hall of Famer, Catfish played in five World Series with Oakland and the Yankees, and appeared in eight all-star games.

3. LUKE APPLING: The High Point native was a career .310 hitter as a shortstop for the Chicago White Sox (1930-50). He won two American League batting titles, once with a mark of .388, and was an all-star seven times. A Hall of Famer.

2. GAYLORD PERRY: He came out of Williamston to win 314 games from 1962-83. He collected two Cy Young Awards and was a five-time all-star, but Perry was most famous for throwing the best illegal spitball in the game, and getting away with it. Also in the Hall of Fame.

1. HOYT WILHELM: Born in Huntersville, Wilhelm went on to revolutionize relief pitching, becoming one of the first pitchers to specialize in closing out games. His 124 victories in relief is still the record. His money pitch was the knuckleball, and he may have thrown it better than anyone. He also had success as a starter, once throwing a no-hitter. He pitched in the majors from 1952-72, until he was almost 50, and appeared in more than 1,000 games.

--Cliff Mehrtens and Stan Olson


Anonymous said...

How about Harold "Bacon Grease" Miller. In 1871 he hit .878 and pitched 6 no-hitters. He was a great player in the Scotish-American League. This league has been long overlooked by baseball scholars and just recently made it into Winkepedia. "Bacon Grease" was a player like we will never again see. Rest in Peace "Bacon Grease" we only havce your drippings to remember.

Observer Sports said...

He was too much of a greaseball to make our list, although he did finish No.6...

Anonymous said...

Enos Slaughter? a 10 time all star including 5 starts in the 40's and 50's. He won 4 World Series titles including one of the most famous plays in St. Louis Cardinal history, the Mad Dash. Was a career .300 hitter and a HOF'er. I think he had a better career than a few of those named

Anonymous said...

Enos Slaughter shouldn't make any list unless it is dirtiest players in the game.

Maybe its too soon, but I'd put Josh Hamilton on this list. At the least, I hope he'd make this list when he retires.

Anonymous said...

How about Tommy Helms