As Brett Hull enters the Hockey Hall of Fame today, it’s time to revisit the St. Louis Sports Mount Rushmore.
Here are the rules for this one: one representative from each of the pro sports currently in town…MLB, NHL, and NFL (including Cardinals), plus another athlete with St. Louis roots or that played for the Hawks or Billikens. Mizzou doesn’t count, unless it’s a player from here like Kellen Winslow or Eric Wright.
Here we go. Baseball is easy. It’s Stan the Man, edging out Ozzie, Albert, Gibby and Lou. This one might become more difficult as Pujols’ career progresses, but I’m comfortable with Musial.
In hockey, Hull edges out Al MacInnis. As much as I hate to leave Bernie Federko, Brian Sutter, Chris Pronger and Barclay Plager off the mountain…it really is Hullie and Chopper. Hull won two Stanley Cups, MacInnis one, Hull played forward, MacInnis defense. Al was certainly a better all-around player…but for a period of time, opposing teams would concentrate only on stopping Hull, and they couldn’t. With his flair, I go with Hull.
In the NFL, the first name that actually came to my mind was Dan Dierdorf. A rock for thirteen seasons at a position that I look at as essential in football. Hall of Famer, and a GREAT St. Louisan. Roger Wehrli, Larry Wilson and Jackie Smith also deserve consideration. From the Rams, it’s either Warner or Faulk, who each had three really productive seasons in St. Louis. Marshall is known as a Ram, however, and was arguably the best player in the league from 1999-2001. He is going to the Hall and owns a Super Bowl ring. So by the slimmest of margins, I’m going with Marshall over Dan.
Now the wild card. From the Hawks, we have Bob Pettit. Hall of Famer. First NBA MVP. All-Star every year he played. AVERAGED at least 20 points and 12 boards in each of his 11 seasons. He’s the Hawks’ main guy, and a valid entrant.
From the Billikens, Larry Hughes or Anthony Bonner? Hughes only played one season at SLU, and hasn’t been great in the NBA. Bonner was a very good, but not great player. We probably have to take Ed MacAuley from the Bills, but he doesn’t surpass Pettit.
Winslow and Wright were outstanding for Mizzou, but after they left the Tigers, they didn’t make an impact on our sports scene. As great as Jeremy Maclin was at Mizzou, can you put him in a class with Pettit? I don’t think you can. Steve Stipanovich was a great Tiger and a great St. Louis athlete, but so far the standard it Pettit.
Frank Borghi and the group that helped win the 1950 World Cup should be looked at, but I don’t see one that I can put on our Mount Rushmore. Same with soccer greats like Pat McBride, Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston. Love those guys, but I can’t put them ahead of Pettit.
So, that leads us to the Olympics. Someone that won three gold medals, a silver and two bronze. Someone regarded by Sports Illustrated as the greatest of the 20th century. Named as one of UCLA’s 15 greatest basketball players ever. Now these are qualifications for Mount Rushmore.
Our fourth face has to be that of Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Named by SI as the greatest female athlete of the 20th century, and by her alma mater has one of their fifteen best female basketball players. A four time veteran of the Summer Olympics. And someone who has stayed true to her area roots. It’s going to be hard to beat those credentials.
So there you have it. St. Louis’ Mount Rushmore of Sports. Hall of Famers Hull and Musial, future Hall of Famer Faulk, and Olympic champ Jackie Joyner-Kersee.