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slides: Greatest Athletes In Central Mass History: Sutton-Worcester

Saturday, July 28, 2012

 

This list counts down the greatest athletes, alphabetically, from Sutton to Worcester.

It's highlighted by perhaps the greatest athlete ever from Central Mass (Bob Cousy), several old-time major leaguers, and a woman who made American skiing history.

There's also the man who played center field next to Babe Ruth, a woman named Bridges who had a bridge in Uxbridge named after her, and a baseball Hall of Famer called "Candy".

You don't want to miss the final installment of our countdown, from Sutton to Worcester.

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Sutton

#1: Bill Gillin, cross country.

Gillin led UMass to four consecutive Yankee Conference Cross Country championships, setting the UMass record in the steeplechase with a time of 8:44.6.

He was a five time All-East selection in steeplechase and distance medley, and a three time All-East selection in cross country.

Gillin is also the longtime coach of the boys and girls track and field and cross country teams at Sutton High School.

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Templeton

#1: Mike Kelley, MLB.

Yet another Central Mass player who reached the Major Leagues in the late nineteenth century, Kelley played one season for the Louisville Colonels in 1899.

He hit .307 in 282 at-bats and drove in 37 runs.

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Townsend

#1: Robyn King, softball.

King was a standout pitcher at Boston University, receiving All-America East first-team honors all four years in school.

She finished second in BU history in all-time wins, innings, strikeouts, and shutouts.

(Image courtesy of Boston University Athletics)

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Upton

#1: Doc Curley, MLB.

You guessed it, Doc was a late nineteenth-century baseball player.

The Holy Cross graduate received 37 at-bats with the Chicago Orphans in 1897. 

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Uxbridge

#1: Alice Bridges, swimming.

Bridges took home the bronze medal in the 100-meter women's backstroke in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Originally it appeared that Bridges had won the race, but judges reversed the decision hours later and gave the gold and silver to two women from the Netherlands.

Bridges held three world records and 20 American records. "Alice Bridges Bridge" in Uxbridge is named after her. 

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Ware

#1: William "Candy" Cummings, MLB.

The Candyman is a Baseball Hall of Famer and is often credited with being the first pitcher to throw a curveball.

Cummings said that he got the idea by studying the movement that sea shells made when they were thrown.

He played six years in the big leagues, from 1872-77, and retired with 154 career wins and a 2.49 ERA. 

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Ware

Runner up: 

Gerry Foley, NHL.

Foley played 142 games in the mid-1950s with the Rangers and Maple Leafs.

He made a comeback at age 36 and played with the Los Angeles Kings in 1968-69. 

The right wing scored 23 points in his career.

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Ware

Runner up:

Don Prohovich, basketball, baseball.

Prohovich was a starter on the Holy Cross NIT championship team in 1954, when that was the premeire tournament in the nation.

The Crusaders went 26-2 that season, and knocked off heavily-favored Duquesne in the title game.

Prohovich also played baseball at Holy Cross and ended up signing with the Chicago White Sox. He spent six years in the minor leagues before retiring.

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Warren

#1: Kelly Wilk-Carroll, field hockey.

One of the greatest field hockey players in CMass history, the All-American finished her career with an incredible 83 goals, and was named a Border Conference All-Star three times.

Wilk-Carroll went on to star at Northeastern University, setting the all-time record for goals in a season with 24.

She was elected into the school's Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Webster

#1: Frank Gilmore, MLB. 

Another nineteenth-century major leaguer from Central Mass.

Gilmore pitched for the Washington Nationals from 1884-88. Gilmore finished his career with 212 strikeouts and a 4.26 ERA.

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Webster

Runner up:

Gene Filipski, NFL.

The halfback rushed for 174 yards in two seasons with the New York Giants in 1956 and '57.

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West Boylston

#1: J.P. Riccardi, MLB.

Riccardi is the former G.M. of the Toronto Blue Jays and spent his high school days playing shortstop for St. Peter Marian.

Riccardi also spent two years in the New York Mets' farm system.

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Westborough

#1: Nikki Stone, skier. 

Stone won Olympic gold as an inverted aerial skier in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, becoming the first American ever to do so.

She also owns a world championship title and was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 2003. 

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Westborough

Runner up: Jim Campbell, NHL. 

Played in 285 games in the league between 1991-2006, most notably with the St. Louis Blues.

Campbell was a solid center who won over 53 percent of his face-offs.

He finished his career with 61 goals and 75 assists. 

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Westminster

#1: Shawn Halloran, NFL.

Halloran succeeded Doug Flutie as the quarterback at Boston College, and set school records for completions in his first year as starter in 1985.

He led BC to a win over Georgia in the Hall of Fame Bowl in his junior season, and went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL.

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Westminster

Runner up:

Bill Wyman, basketball.

The legendary Oakmont Regional High School player and head coach was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2001.

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West Brookfield

#1: Wes Piermarini, rowing.

Piermarini has been a member of the U.S. National Rowing team since 2008, and placed 13th in the double sculls event at the Beijing Olympics that year.

The West Brookfield native won the double sculls event at the U.S. National trials in 2008, and finished third in the event in 2006.

He began rowing while in college at the University of Massachusetts.

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Winchendon

#1: Whitey Witt, MLB. 

Witt played in parts of ten seasons for the Philadelphia Athletics, New York Yankees, and Brooklyn Robins from 1916-26.

He finished his career with a .287 batting average and 302 RBI. Most notably, Whitey was the starting centerfielder when the original Yankee Stadium opened in 1923.

He played alongside Babe Ruth in the outfield.

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Winchendon

Runner up:

Francisco Garcia, NBA.

The sharpshooter from Winchendon led Louisville to the Final Four in 2005, averaging 15.8 points per game that season. He was the 23rd overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft.

Garcia has averaged 8.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game over seven NBA seasons, all with the Sacramento Kings.

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Worcester

#1: Bob Cousy, NBA.

This one's easy. "The Cooz" led Holy Cross to the national championship in 1947 and won six NBA titles with the Boston Celtics from 1957-63. 

He finished his career with a then-record 6,955 assists and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.

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Worcester

Runner up:

Bryan LaHair, MLB.

Perhaps Worcester's best current athlete, Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair has made quite a splash in his first season with the organization.

LaHair is hitting .274 with 14 homers and 31 RBI this season, and earned a trip to the All-Star game in Kansas City in July.

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Worcester

Runner up:

Jarett Jack, NBA.

The Worcester Academy star led Georgia Tech to the NCAA  championship game in 2004 and was the 22nd overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft.

He's averaged 10.8 points and 4.2 assists per game over an eight-year NBA career.

Jack is currently a member of the Golden State Warriors. 

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Worcester

Runner up:

Rich Gedman, MLB.

Gedman spent 13 years as a catcher in the big leagues from 1980-93, ten of them with the Red Sox.

He hit a career-high.295 with 18 home runs and 80 RBI for Boston in 1985.

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Worcester

Runner up:

Tanyon Sturtze, MLB.

The St. Peter-Marian graduate pitched 12 years in the big leagues from 1995-2008.

Sturtze won 40 games with seven different teams, most notably the Devil Rays.

 
 

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