slides: Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: South County
Friday, July 27, 2012
There's a little bit of everything in South County. Whether it's a Baseball Hall of Famer, an Olympic swimmer, a legendary lacrosse player, or an outstanding distance runner, South County has great all-time athletes in all kinds of sports. And then there's the man who did it all---Hank Soar was an NFL player, and NBA coach, and a Major League umpire.
And you thought South County was all about fishing and sailing.
Also on this list is Elizabeth Beisel, who will be swimming for the U.S. in the London Games.
#1: Ellison "Tarzan" Brown, distance running.
Raised in poverty on a reservation in Charlestown, Brown became an incredibly accomplished distance runner in the 1930s and 40s, competing in the marathon in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
He also qualified for the Olympics in 1940 before they were cancelled due to World War II.
#1: Gienna Collett Vare, women's professional golf.
Vare is one of the most accomplished women in the history of golf. She was virtually unchallenged for more than a decade, having won six U.S. women's amateurs from 1922 to 1935.
She won an insane 59 of 60 matches in 1924 and reeled off 16 consecutive victories from 1928-31.
The trophy for the lowest stroke average on the LPGA tour is named in her honor.
Colin Briggs, lacrosse.
Briggs helped lead Virginia to the 2011 national championship.
He was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and was a second-team All-American.
Briggs was chosen with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 Major League Lacrosse Draft.
#1: Elizabeth Beisel, swimming.
The 19-year-old wunderkind will be competing in the 2012 Olympic games in London, four years after cannon-balling into the Olympic pool in 2008.
Beisel finished fourth in the 400-meter individual medley and fifth in the 200-meter backstroke at age 15 in 2008. She will be competing in the same events this summer.
#1: Hank Soar, NFL, MLB, NBA.
Rhode Island's version of Bo Jackson, Soar played both baseball and football professionally, and even served as head coach of the Providence Steamrollers of the Basketball Association of America (which later became the NBA).
Soar spent nine seasons in the NFL from 1937-46, and was a Pro Bowl running back and defensive back with the New York Giants in 1938.
He caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the famous 1938 NFL championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
Soar would also go on to become a well-respected baseball umpire, calling games in five different World Series.
#1: Frankie Frisch, MLB.
The Baseball Hall of Famer was the 1931 N.L. MVP and won four World Series titles in 19 seasons with the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals.
Frisch was a player-manager for the Cardinals from 1933-37, playing second base. His .316 career batting average still ranks as the highest-ever for a switch-hitter.
- Greatest Athletes In Rhode Island History: Aquidneck
- 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: West Bay