Not all greats made weekly list over the years

June 04, 1991|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Evening Sun Staff

We missed some.

This was the 25th year in which The Evening Sun selected Athletes of the Week, and as the Who's Who below attests, some pretty solid names didn't make the list. A few were late bloomers, some didn't get any help in the publicity department from their coaches, and others were excluded by the selection process.

The first Athlete of the Year awards luncheon brought together 18 boys, all from the Maryland Scholastic Association. Athletic directors from that group picked the winner, but they liked Southern's Don Russell, who hadn't been selected, over the weekly winners. He was surreptitiously invited to the luncheon by athletic director Al Malone, and was surprised as anyone when his name was announced.

The following year, Baltimore Countians were included among the 27-boy field. The surrounding counties were gradually added in, but it was too late for some. The Frederick County schools in the Central Maryland Conference are figured in team rankings and All-Metro selections now, and if that had been the case in the late 1960s, prospects like Chuck Foreman and Kenny Boyd would have been hard to overlook.

It was a males-only show the first eight years. Milford Mill tennis player Tracey Hamburg was the final Athlete of the Week selected in 1974-75, and the first girl ever. She said, "I think it'll give more girls a chance now; they'll get more thought each week." Only Wendy Weinberg, a swimmer from Friends, and Loch Raven basketball player Janet Flora were honored the following year, but 33 of this year's 72 honorees are girls.

The focus has usually been on athletes who compete for their high schools, and a few elite performers in individual sports have fallen through the cracks. From 1967 through 1991, here are some big names that were overlooked:

* DON RUSSELL, Southern, Class of 1967: The first Athlete of the Year was never an Athlete of the Week.

* LLOYD KEASER, Brooklyn Park, 1968: Only MSA and Baltimore Countians were recognized that year. After earning honors at Navy, Keaser was the world's best wrestler in 1973.

* MARVIN WEBSTER, Edmondson, 1971: The Human Eraser brought an NCAA Division II basketball title to Morgan State and an NBA crown to Seattle.

* DALE ROTHE, Dundalk, 1972: He was a Division II All-American in soccer and lacrosse at the University of Baltimore.

* RANDY McMILLAN, North Harford, 1977: The Colts' No. 1 pick in 1981 was the Hawks' No. 2 rusher in 1976, and didn't even rate All-Metro honorable mention.

* KIM DUPPINS, Francis Scott Key, 1978: She helped the FSK girls to year-round dominance, then starred in basketball at Memphis State.

* SEAN LANDETA, Loch Raven, 1979: He is mentioned as one of the NFL's all-time best punters, but kicking specialists don't usually get Athlete of the Week, even when they are All-Metro.

* THERESA ANDREWS, Keough, 1980: Four years after she got out of Keough, Andrews was a swimming star at the 1984 Olympics, winning two gold medals.

* BILL RIPKEN, Aberdeen, 1982: The Orioles' second baseman was slowed by injuries at Aberdeen, hitting .326 as a senior. That's great in the majors; so-so with an aluminum bat.

* REGGIE LEWIS, Dunbar, 1983: The Celtics' star was the second man off the bench for the legendary Poets' team that featured Muggsy Bogues and Reggie Williams.

* TINA BARRETT, Perry Hall, 1984: A winner on the Ladies' Professional Golf Association tour, Barrett was the Gators' No. 1 from 1982-84. Playing from the men's tees, she seldom broke 90.

* JULIE GORMAN, Towson, 1985: Gorman is among the many North Baltimore Aquatic Club stars who went on to become world-class swimmers.

* TONY BARTON, Milford Mill, 1987: The George Mason senior is the third-ranked high jumper in the United States. The NCAA indoor champion, he began jumping as a senior at Milford Mill.

* MATT EASTWICK, Gilman, 1988: A well-known baseball pitcher, Matt also stood out in basketball, and the Princeton forward has played in three straight NCAA tournaments.

* TERRANCE ALEXANDER, Dunbar, 1991: Two Poets basketball players were honored this year. The Towson State-bound Player of the Year wasn't nominated.

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