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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Top 100 Southwest Missouri Athletes, from Jock 98.7 at the early stages of this Century, enjoy reading and look for the top 50 Athletes of this Century to be added.

No. 1 Payne Stewart, Greenwood High School
Springfield native Payne Stewart was one of the top golfers in the world before
his untimely death in an airplane crash.  The son of longtime local golf
standout Bill Stewart, Payne grew up playing the challenging Hickory Hills
course.  After an outstanding junior career, while playing other sports as well
at Greenwood High School, he went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas,
and in 1979 was both the Southwest Conference and Missouri Amateur champion. 
After several years playing on the Asian tour while trying to break into the PGA
ranks full-time, Payne won the Quad Cities Open in 1982 and was off and running.
He won 19 tournaments in his professional career, including three majors: the
1989 PGA Championship, and U.S. Open titles in 1991 at Hazeltine and in 1999 at
Pinehurst.  Later  that same year, he was part of a Ryder Cup championship
effort for the United States, helping his team overcome a huge deficit going
into the final day. He was a part of six Ryder Cup teams, and finished second in
two other U.S. Opens.   Payne
was one of the best-known golfers in the world, thanks to his textbook swing,
and his distinctive colorful attire.  At the time of his death in October 1999,
he was number 3 on the money earning list in PGA history.
 
No. 2 Ken Boyer
Ken was one of the great third basemen of his era, and is a Cardinals Hall of
Famer.  The middle of three Boyer brothers, born in Liberty but growing up in
Alba, north of Joplin, Ken was converted from a minor-league pitcher to a
15-year big-leaguer.  His Gold Glove and hitting consistency led the Cardinals
to the 1964 World Series championship, ending a 17-year pennant drought.  He was
the National League
MVP that year, leading the circuit in RBIs with 119 while batting .295.
A .306 hitter with 26 homers his second season, 1956, he moved from center field
to third base for the good of the team the following year.  Cards general
manager Bing Devine turned down attractive offers for Boyer, believing that Ken
would achieve lasting stardom at
third base.  And, for the next 7 years, he hit over .300 four times, as high as
.329…his yearly home run totals ranged from 23 up to 32, and he drove in between
90 and 119 runs each season. He was a 7-time all-star, earned five Gold Gloves
for fielding excellence, and is the only Cardinals player ever to hit for the
cycle twice.  He ranks as the Redbirds' second all-time HR hitter, and he's also
second in career grand slams, with 7, including a memorable one against the
Yankees in the '64 World Series.
Ken later played for the Mets, White Sox and Dodgers, but returned to the
Cardinal organization as a coach and minor league manager, and was manager of
the big-league Cards from 1978 to 1980, finishing second in the National League
East in '79.  He died of cancer at the age of 51, in 1982.
 
No. 3
Bill Virdon, West Plains
Bill grew up in West Plains, but has been a lifelong resident of Springfield
since his days at Drury College.  One of the finest center fielders ever to
play baseball, Bill spent most of his 11-year career with the Pittsburgh
Pirates.  He originally signed with the Yankees, but was traded to the
Cardinals, and led the International League in batting for their Rochester farm
club in 1954.  He broke into the big leagues the next year, and was National
League rookie of the year with a .281 batting average, 17 homers and 68 RBIs.
The following year, Bill was traded to Pittsburgh.  In 1956, he hit .319 and
finished second in the National League batting race behind Hank Aaron.  Bill
batted .264 for the 1960 world champion Pirates, and could easily have won a
Gold Glove, but lost out to Willie
Mays.  A lifetime .267 hitter, he played in almost 1,600 major league games and
did win a Gold Glove for fielding excellence in 1962.
Following the 1965 season, Bill became a manager in the Mets' organization and
returned to Pittsburgh as a coach in 1968.  He took over as Pirates manager in
'71, beginning a 13-year managerial career with four clubs, winning 995 games. 
The Pirates won the
National League East title his rookie season as a manager.  He guided the
Yankees in 1974 and '75, and  was named Sporting News major league manager
of the year in '74, when New York had its best finish in a decade.  Bill had his
longest managing stint with
Houston from '75 until 1982. He was manager of the year in 1979 and 1980, when
the Astros won the first division title in their history. Bill skippered the
Montreal Expos in 1983 and '84, and has continued to work in various coaching
capacities with the Pirates since then.
 
No. 4 Grant Wistrom, Webb City High School
Grant grew up in Webb City, and became an all-America football player at
Nebraska, and a Super Bowl champion with the St. Louis Rams.  Grant was a high
school All-America his senior year at Webb City with 122 tackles and 9 forced
fumbles.  He led the Cardinals to
consecutive class 4A state championships, also played basketball and track, and
was an academic all-stater with a 3.95 grade point average.
In college, he started his last 3 seasons at Nebraska, finishing with 206 career
tackles and 26 ½ sacks.  He was a unanimous All-America and all-Big 12
selection, and won the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top lineman.  Grant
was the Big 12 defensive player of the year his junior year, and the Big 8
newcomer of the year as a freshman in 1994, one of only two true freshman to
letter that season.  He made a tackle for
loss late in the fourth quarter of the Orange Bowl that year, helping Nebraska
win its first national championship.
Grant has played all 6 of his NFL seasons with the Rams, starting each of the
last 5 years at defensive end, beginning with the world championship season of
1999.  His tackle total has grown steadily each year, while his best sack season
was 2000, when he brought down opposing quarterbacks 11 times.  He had 7 tackles
and a sack in the Rams' narrow loss to New England in Super Bowl 36.  In
addition to continuing as an active player with the Rams, Grant is part-owner of
the Springfield Spirit junior hockey team.
 
No. 5 Clete Boyer
Clete was born in Cassville, and was one of three Boyer brothers who grew up in
Alba, north of Webb City, and rose to major league baseball stardom. Clete came
up with the Kansas City A's as an 18-year-old in 1955, the team's first season
in Kansas City.  He was traded to the Yankees prior to the 1959 season and by
the following year, had become New York's starting third baseman and established
himself
as one of the top defensive players in baseball at his position.    He played
154 games for the powerful 1961 Yankees, that won the World Series with Roger
Maris hitting a then-record 61 home runs and Mickey Mantle swatting 54.
Clete's best offensive season came in '62, when he hit .272 with 18 homers and
68 RBIs on another world champion Yankees team.  The Yanks lost the 1963 and '64
World Series, but Boyer continued to anchor the hot corner for them, playing at
a Gold Glove level.  After leaving the Yankees in 1967, he played 5 more years
in the big leagues, with the Atlanta Braves, and then played briefly in the
Japanese Leagues.  During
his 16 big league seasons, Clete collected 1,396 hits and hit 162 homeruns.
 
No. 6 Steve Rogers, Glendale High School
Steve was born in Jefferson City, but grew up in Springfield and was a standout pitcher for Glendale High School. He was involved in one of the most-famous pitching duels in state high school history, losing to future big-leaguer Jerry Reuss and St. Louis Ritenour in the 1967 Missouri semifinals.
Steve made it to the major leagues in 1973 with the Montreal Expos, and played his entire 13-year career with the same team. He is still the Expos' all-time winningest pitcher, with 158 victories and a career
ERA of 3.17. Steve pitched 37 shutouts and struck out over 1600 batters. He was a workhorse, pitching over 2800 innings, and over a 10-year span he worked at least 200 innings each season, except the strike year
of 1981. However, that was the Expos' best season of the era. They won the second-half title in that split season, and beat the Phillies in the Eastern Division playoffs. Rogers pitched the Expos to a 3-1 victory
in the series opener, and then fired a complete-game 3-0 shutout in the decisive 5th game. He defeated Steve Carlton in both those games.
No. 7 Mickey Owen
A native of Nixa who became a youth baseball star in Los Angeles, Mickey started
in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization with their Springfield
affiliate in 1935, and reached the major leagues in his third year of pro ball.
Brooklyn gave the Cards $60,000 and two players for Mickey, and he proceeded to
help the Dodgers to the 1941 National League pennant, setting several fielding
records along the way. That year, he was involved in the infamous dropped third
strike that helped sustain a Yankees rally.
Mickey also played with the Cubs and the Red Sox in a 13-year major league
career, shortened by a 3-year suspension for signing a Mexican League contract
after he served in the Navy in World War II. After his retirement as a player,
he returned to the area, founded the Mickey Owen Baseball School near Miller in
1960, served four terms as Greene County sheriff, beginning in 1964, and ran
for Missouri lieutenant governor.
No. 8 Horton Smith
The golfer for whom a public course in Springfield is named started his playing
and teaching career here, and went on to a World Golf Hall of Fame career. Born
in 1908, he took up the game when he was 12, and honed his skills as assistant
pro at the old Springfield
Country Club, playing in his first state tournament in St. Louis at age 16. He
turned pro at 18, and was the youngest United States Ryder Cup player at age
19. In 1929, at the age of 21, Horton won 8 of 22 PGA tournaments he entered,
and finished second in six others.
Though that season proved to be his best, Smith is best known for winning the
first Masters tournament, then known as the Augusta National Invitational, in
1934. In the final round, he made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, and
clinched the title with a downhill, 4-footer on 18. He won the Masters again
two years later, coming from 2 strokes down with 5 holes to go…holing a 45-foot
chip shot on the 14th hole and sinking two more clutch birdie putts in a
torrential rain.
He was chosen for five Ryder Cup teams, and never lost a match. Mr. Smith
finished third in two U.S. Opens and one British Open. He is believed to be the
first pro to use a sand wedge in competition, using a 23-ounce model in 1930
before it was banned for having a concave face. He gave one of his wedges to
Bobby Jones, who used it to make a crucial birdie in the final round of the
British Open. In later years, he
played out of the Detroit Country Club and continued to play despite a 10-year
battle with Hodgins' Disease, which finally took his life in 1963 at age 55. He
was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.
No. 9, John Brown, Dixon High School
A native of Dixon, in Pulaski County, John was a 6-foot-7 forward whose stardom
at the University of Missouri led to the Tigers' first big winning seasons under
coach Norm Stewart. In high school, John led Dixon to a 36-0 state championship
season his senior year of 1969, when he averaged 31.5 points per game….and
scored 1,133 points….the second-highest single-season point total in state
history. His 443 field goals that year is still a state record, and the 247
free throws he made that year ranks third all-time.
At Mizzou, John moved into the starting lineup early in his sophomore season,
when he averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds per game. He averaged 21 points and
11 rebounds in both his junior and senior years, of 1972 and '73, leading the
Tigers to NIT appearances both
seasons, and identical 21-6 records….the first 20-win seasons in Mizzou
basketball history. John was first team all-Big 8 both his junior and senior
years, and finished his career with 1,421 points, which at the time was a school
record and still ranks 12th. His high-point game was 41 against Oklahoma State
on March 3, 1973.
John then went on to a 7-year NBA career, playing 5 seasons with the Atlanta
Hawks. His best season was 1975, when he averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds. He
averaged 75 games per year for his first 6 NBA seasons, dividing his last 3
years between Chicago,
Utah and back to Atlanta. He finished his NBA career with 3,614 points scored
and 2,126 rebounds. He now is a realtor in Rolla.
No. 10 Alan Cockrell, Jopin Parkwood High School
One of the most versatile athletes the Ozarks has ever produced, Alan was a
3-sport standout at Joplin Parkwood and leading coach Dewey Combs' Bears to a
14-0 season and a state championship in 1980. That year, Parkwood set a
still-standing state record by scoring 653 points….an average of 46 ½ per
game! Alan also was an all-state baseball player at Parkwood, and a
starting guard on the basketball team.
He then played three seasons at quarterback for the University of Tennessee,
becoming the starter in his third collegiate game. He overcame a severe knee
injury during his freshman year to finish as the Volunteers' career passing
leader with 3,823 yards, on a record 317 completions in 568 attempts, with 26
touchdowns. He was MVP of the 1982 Peach Bowl, and led Tennessee to a win in
the 1983 Citrus Bowl. Alan
played two baseball seasons in college, earning All-America honors after being
named SEC tournament MVP in 1984. He hit .324 during his two seasons with the
Volunteers, with 97 runs, 25 homers and 84 RBIs. He passed up his senior
year of college, after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first
round of the 1984 draft.
Alan then enjoyed a long pro baseball career, mostly at the triple-A level,
playing five seasons with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, and being named to their
Hall of Fame. He completed his career as that team's all-time leader in games
played, hits, doubles and RBIs, hitting .300 or better in 4 of his 5 seasons
with the Sky Sox. He was a Pacific Coast League all-star in 1990, when he hit
.330 with 70 RBIs. He
was a September callup of the Colorado Rockies in 1996, and in his fourth major
league at-bat, cracked a double off Atlanta's Tom Glavine. He is now a coach in
the Rockies' organization.
No. 11 Jerry Lumpe
No. 12 Lori Endicott-Vandersnick, Willard High School
No. 13 George Frazier, Hillcrest High School
No. 14 Roy Smalley, Senior High School
No. 15 John Howard, Springfield
No. 16 Melody Howard, Marshfield High School
No. 17 Scott Bailes, Parkview High School
No. 18 Mark Bailey, Glendale High School
No. 19 Jason Pyrah, Willard High School
No. 20 Steve Warren, Kickapoo High School
No. 21 Jerry Anderson, Marshfield High School
No. 22 Jason Whittle, Camdenton High School
No. 24 Gary "Cat" Johnson, Joplin Memorial High School
No. 25 Phil Mulkey, St. Agnes High School
No. 27 Bob Speake
No. 27 Bill Thomas, Buffalo High School
No. 28 Rusty Medearis, Ozark High School
No. 29, Greg Cavener, Parkview High School
No. 30 Don Faurot, Mt. Grove
No. 31 Larry Phillips
No. 32--Danny Bolden, Central High School
No. 33--Rod Kanehl, Senior High School
No. 34--Preston Ward, Senior High School
No. 35--Dale Long
No. 36 Donnie Smith
No. 37--Gary "Peanut" Adams, Springfield Central High School
No. 38--Earl Denny, Golden City High School
No. 39--Bevo Looney, Central High School
No. 40--Tina Robbins, Joplin High School
No. 41--Chuck Williams, Buffalo High School
No. 42--Keith Drumright, Hillcrest High School
No. 43--Jimmie Dull, Buffalo High School
No. 44--Matt Miller, Parkview High School
No. 45--Christie Freeman
No. 46--Mitch Ware, Aurora High School
No. 47--Bobby Detherage, Hillcrest High School
No. 48--Jackie Jewsbury, Kickapoo High School
No. 49----Jeanette Tendai, Glendale High School
No. 50----Cathy Reynolds
No. 51----TOM TALBOT, Springfield Senior High School
No. 52---PAUL MULLINS, Mt. Vernon High School
No. 53---RHONDA BLADES-BROWN, Parkview High School
No. 54---Tara Mitchem, Glendale High School
No. 55---Tom Shultz, Glendale High School
No. 56---Stan Utley, West Plains High School
No. 57---Gerald Perry, Springfield Senior High School
No. 58---Dennis Heim, Monett High School
No. 59---Virgle Frederick, Parkview High School, Drury
No. 60---Carl Reese, Springfield Central High School
No. 61---Kevin Parsons, Glendale High School
No. 62---Bill Helfrecht, Glendale High School
No. 63---Anne Cain, Springfield Glendale
No. 64---Michelle Langsford-Dickemann, Springfield Central
No. 65 Larue Savage
No. 66---Mark Smith, Webb City High School
No. 67----DARRELL PAUL, Bradleyville High School
No. 68 Kelly Snider, Hillcrest High School
No. 69, Bill Jasinski, Parkview High School
No. 70, David Pike, Central High School
No. 71, Joanie French, Parkview High School
No. 72, Mr. Jim Ewing
No. 73, Chris Zinn, West Plains High School
No. 74, Dean Roper
No. 75, J.H. "Speedy" Collins
No. 76, Ken Lanning
No. 77, Jeff Pigg, Rogersville
No. 78, Gail Fredrick, Drury College
No. 79, Manny Oliver, Springfield Central High School
No. 80, Henry May, Monett High School
No. 81, Gary Garner, West Plains High School
No. 82, Ann Cook, Glendale High School
No. 83, Sonny Stringer, Willow Springs High School
No. 84, Bruce Hollowell
No. 85, Stu Dunlop, Parkview High School
No. 86, Bill Stringer, Central High School
No. 87, Cindy Henderson-Snead
No. 88, Doug Middleton, Kickapoo High School
No. 89 Flora Mitchell
No. 90 Denver Dixon, Springfield Central High School
No. 91 Lynn Nance, Granby High School
No. 92 Don Carlson, Republic
No. 93 Melissa Grider Sadler, Marshfield
No. 94 Karenssa Barr, West Plains High School
No. 95 Jodie Adams, Parkview High School
No. 96 David Combs, Bradleyville High School
No. 97 Mary Jo Wynn, Hartville
No. 98 Penny Clayton, Hillcrest
No. 99 Charlie Campbell, Ava
No. 100 Kellen Allen, Springfield Hillcrest

21st Century Additions to the list 
Kallie Bildner, Waynesville HS, Lindenwood University
Claude Preston "Lefty" Williams Aurora Missouri, Chicago Whitesox
Lydia Holtmann, Springfield Catholic, Nebraska Omaha
Joe Zimmer, Logan-Rogersville, Nebraska, Mizzou Medical School

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