Top 5 Homegrown Active Pro Athletes
Baltimore has been home to many record setting and legendary athletes through the years. The tales of the games they played have been commemorated and dedicated time and time again. Instead of debating whether Cal Ripken Jr. or Babe Ruth is the best Baltimore Athlete of All-Time, we decided to focus on currently active athletes from the area. Here’s what we came up with:
5. Bucky Lasek – Professional Skateboarder / Rallycross Driver
Bucky is 41 now, but he’s still going strong. He started skating when he was 12 years old and at 15 he was entering amateur competitions. By 1990, the kid from Dundalk was a professional skateboarder. The ESPN X-Games Skateboard Vert competition is what really spring-boarded Lasek’s career in the action sports world. Although he has moved from Baltimore to San Diego, Bucky still calls Baltimore home and visits the area with the Dew Tour.
4. Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees 1st Baseman
“Tex” was a highly recruited player out of Mount Saint Joseph H.S. in Baltimore. He played his college ball at Georgia Tech where he was named the national collegiate baseball player of the year. In 2001, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers, where he played until 2007. The New York Yankees signed Teixeira in 2008, much to the dismay of Baltimore fans who thought the local guy should have returned home. Agree with his decision to go to the Yankees or not, the 5 Gold Gloves and 3 Silver Sluggers speak for themselves. “Tex” still gets boos when he comes to the plate at Camden Yards which is probably why he isn’t any higher than no. 4 on our list.
3. Gavin Floyd – Starting Pitcher Atlanta Braves
Gavin was drafted straight out of Mount Saint Joseph H.S. in 2001 by the Philadelphia Phillies. He made his debut in 2004 and recorded his first victory in the game against the Mets. He was traded to the White Sox in 2006 and became a real consistent pitcher in 2008 in the back of the White Sox rotation. After Tommy John surgery in 2013, he was signed as a free-agent to the Atlanta Braves.
2. Michael Phelps – Olympic Champion Swimmer
The most decorated Olympian of all time calls Baltimore home. The stats all speak for themselves: 22 medals, 18 gold, including 8 gold in 2008 alone (5 solo events). Phelps “retired” from swimming after the 2012 Olympic Games in London but it appears that he is back and ready to perform and possibly increase his medal totals. The 2016 Olympics could be a really exciting time if he decides to compete.
1. Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks Small Forward
Carmelo Anthony may have been born in Brooklyn but moved to Baltimore at 8 and played his high school ball at Towson Catholic in Baltimore and then Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. He led the Syracuse Orange to a NCAA National Championship in 2003 where he was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and East Region MVP. He entered the 2003 NBA Draft after one year at Syracuse and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets. Syracuse retired his No. 15 jersey. Since joining the NBA, Melo has been named to the All-Rookie, NBA All-Star (7x) and All-NBA teams several times. He consistently makes the playoffs and has even helped his team win a few division titles.
- Steve Clevenger – Baltimore Orioles Catcher: Affectionately dubbed “Pigtown’s Finest”, Clevy is a hometown boy through and through and Baltimore is happy to have him in the system with the Orioles. Steve went to Mount Saint Joseph H.S. where he played shortstop and won the MIAA Championship his senior year (2004).
- Travis Pastrana – Action Sports: This wild man from Annapolis jumps monster trucks, leaps out of planes with no parachute, back-flips dirt bikes and the list goes on and on… You name it, Travis has probably done it. His TV Series “Nitro Circus” was a huge hit on MTV.
- Darnell Dockett – Arizona Cardinals Defensive End: Darnell attended Paint Branch High School and went on to FSU and was drafted in the 3rd round in 2004 to the Cardinals where the 3-time Pro-Bowler will likely “retire a Cardinal.”
- Darius Heyward-Bey – San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver: Darius was a star at McDonogh and at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was selected with the 7th pick in the 1st Round of the 2009 NFL Draft to the Raiders.
- Rudy Gay – Sacramento Kings Small Forward: Rudy graduated from Archbishop Spalding then went on to play for the UCONN Huskies and is still playing solid ball in the NBA.
Ones To Watch:
- Kyle Fuller – Chicago Bears Cornerback: Selected in the 1st Round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Mount Saint Joseph H.S. and Virginia Tech Alumni.
- Tavon Austin – Saint Louis Rams Running Back / Return Specialist: His first pro year wasn’t mind-blowing but this kid from Dunbar H.S. and WVU has what it takes to be a real playmaker in the NFL.
- Herny Sims – Philadelphia 76ers Center / Power Forward: This Georgetown Hoya and Mount St. Joe grad has potential with the 76ers.
- Terence Garvin – Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker: He has spent most of his professional career on the practice squad but in Week 15 of the 2013 season he made headlines breaking the jaw of Bengals Punter Kevin Huber during a kick return. Graduated from Loyola Blakefield.