slides: Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: Aquidneck
Friday, July 27, 2012
There are plenty of baseball and football stars here too---even the "Babe Ruth of American soccer". If all of that weren't enough, how about the man with a hitting streak longer than Joe DiMaggio's?
Yes, Aquidneck athletes have inspired and revolutionized the games they played more than any other group of athletes in this countdown. Click through the slideshow to read about their game-changing accomplishments and innovations.
#1: Jimmy Van Allen, tennis.
How can you beat a guy who started his own Hall of Fame?
Van Allen won the National singles and doubles championships in the 1920s.
He established the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, and introduced the Van Allen Streamlined Scoring System, which called for sudden-death tiebreakers for long sets and matches.
The system was implemented by the U.S. Open in 1970, and is currently the standard.
The Joe DiMaggio of college baseball, Costantino hit in an awe-inspiring 60 consecutive games for Division III Salve Regina in Newport from 2001-03.
That streak is the longest in NCAA history, regardless of division.
He finished with a .412 career batting average and 200 career hits.
Frank Corridon, MLB pitcher.
Credited with inventing the spitball, Corridon had an outstanding big-league career with the Cubs, Phillies, and Cardinals.
He claimed to have been the first one ever to throw the pitch while playing for the Providence Grays of the International League in 1902.
Ken Read, sailing.
Read is one of the most accomplished sailors in the world, having been named U.S. Yachtsman of the Year twice (1985 and 1995).
He owns over 40 World, North American, and National championships, and was a three-time collegiate All-American at Boston University.
#1: Billy Gonsalves, professional soccer.
Known as the "Babe Ruth of American Soccer," Billy Gonsalves spent over 25 years playing in various American professional leagues.
He played for the U.S. in the first two World Cups in 1930 and 1934, and was a part of the inaugural induction class into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1950.
Ryan Westmoreland, baseball.
The 2007 RI Gatorade High School Player of the Year was drafted in the 5th round by the Boston Red Sox.
He was ranked as the 32nd best prospect in baseball by ESPN's Keith Law before being diagnosed with a cavernous malformation of the brain in 2008.
Westmoreland is still currently recovering and hopes to return to baseball one day.
(Image courtesy: Jon Corneau/Lowell Spinners)
#1: Robert Silva, baseball, football.
Silva was a football and baseball star at Middletown High School from 1961-66 and earned All-State honors in both sports.
He was All-Division as an offensive guard and linebacker in football, and went on to play baseball at Murray State University in Kentucky.
Silva had a professional tryout with the New York Yankees and later returned to play in the Newport Sunset League.
David Parker, football, basketball, track.
Parker won five state championships in the late 1960s and early 70s at Middletown High School (two in football, two in basketball, one in track).
He was all-state in football and track and set the Class C 440 record his junior year.
While at Williams College, Parker was an All-ECAC wide receiver and was part of record-breaking indoor track 660 and outdoor track 440 relay teams.
- Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: Blackstone Valley
- Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: East Bay
- Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: Metro Prov
- Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: South County
- Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: West Bay