The top 100 high school athletes of all time: State’s all-time leading rusher; Detroit Tiger great highlight list of Nos. 51-60
The following is a list of the top 100 male athletes in the history of Michigan high school athletics. This list was created after hours of compiling facts and opinions. In analyzing data and comparing athletes of the 1920s to those of the 1990s and beyond we found difficulty in imagining how the athletes of the past would compare and compete against the present-day athlete. The adage, ‘bigger, stronger, faster’, must be applied but one cannot overlook the records and achievements of those in the 1930s, ‘40s and earlier.
It is the intent of State Champs to expose and honor the achievements of athletes, some of whom our readers might not be familiar with and to create conversation on just who were some of the best.
We have a few guidelines for athletes to be considered for this list. One is they had to attend high school, for at least one school year, in Michigan. They also had to compete in sports at the high school they attended. Playing for club teams and travel teams outside of the school are not within these guidelines.
Athletes like boxers Joe Louis and Chris Byrd, for example, did not, as far as our research could ascertain, compete in athletics, at least in boxing, their main sport, in high school.
Other athletes, like hockey standout Mike Modano, who did not play for his high school team, are excluded as well.
State Champs would like to thank Wikipedia, Michigan High School Athletic Association historian Ron Pesch, Detroit area historian Bill Hoover and others like Michigan sports writers Denny Grall and Bill Kahn for their expertise. These, and others, provided so much of the information and opinions about these athletes that made this project possible.
It must be noted that much of the information obtained, especially on some of the Negro League players, was sketchy.
The following is a list of the athletes ranked Nos. 51 through 60. Next week we will release the athletes ranked 41-50.
With the release of these next 10 athletes were are halfway through our list. To us, at least, it is amazing how many great athletes have been mentioned and how many more are yet to be recognized. When we started this project we didn’t realize the depth of this pool of athletes. We hope you have enjoyed reading about these athletes as much as we have bringing it to you.
- Kevin Grady, Jr., East Grand Rapids, Michigan: A three-time first-team all-state selection, Grady was named the No. 1 Blue Chip prospect by The Detroit News in 2005. He owns the following Michigan High School Athletic Association records: most career rushing yards (8,431), most career TDs (151), most career points (924) and most career rushing attempts (1,154). Grady led East Grand Rapids to two Division 3 titles. In the 2003 final, a 28-15 victory over Allen Park, Grady rushed 39 times for 235 yards and three TDs. In the 2002 final Grady scored four TDs in a 55-14 victory over DeWitt. Twice Grady scored 43 TDs in a season. Grady was the first U-M player to enroll early, thereby being eligible to compete in spring practices. He rushed for 483 yards and five TDs as a freshman. Statistically, that was his best season in the four he played at U-M.
- Courtney Hawkins, Flint Beecher, Michigan State, Buccaneers, Steelers (NFL); A three-sport athlete at Beecher, Hawkins was named all-state for three seasons in basketball and football. He ran on the winning 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams in the Class B final in 1988. He also ran on the winning 1,600 relay in the ’86 Class B meet and the winning 800 relay in the ‘87 Class B meet. Beecher won state titles in track in every one of Hawkins’ years there. In basketball he teamed with Roy Marble to win the 1985 Class B title. Hawkins was a captain his junior season and the Bucs won another Class B title. In football he played quarterback, receiver and defensive back. Hawkins was a three-year starter at MSU and had 138 career receptions. He was taken in the 2nd round (44th pick overall) by Tampa Bay in the 1992 NFL Draft. He played nine seasons in the NFL and had 366 career receptions and 4,573 yards. He’s currently the football coach and athletic director at Beecher.
- Rodney Culver, Detroit DePorres, Notre Dame, Colts, Chargers (NFL): Rodney was one of the best all round athletes in the Catholic League. In track he was the Class C champion in the 100-meter dash (10.81) and ran on the winning 800 relay in 1986. As a sophomore he started on the 1984 undefeated Class C football championship team and was a member of the Class C basketball state championship team in 1986. He was a Dream Team selection in 1985 for football and was all-state first team in ’84. At Notre Dame Culver played in the 1988 National Championship team and two seasons later he led the Irish in rushing. In 1990 he became the program’s first single captain. He was selected in the 4th round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Colts. He was also a member of the 1995 San Diego Chargers Super Bowl (XXIX) team.
- Herb Washington, Flint Northern, Flint Central, Michigan State, Oakland A’s (MLB): Washington won the Class A 100- and 200-meter dash in 1967 and 1968. As a team, Central finished second both seasons, both times to Battle Creek Central. At MSU he was a four-time all-America and he won one NCAA title, won seven Big Ten titles, and tied or broke the world record in the 50- and 60-yard dashes several times. Washington did play baseball in high school but did not play in college. In 1974 the Oakland A’s signed Washington as a pinch-runner, the only one in MLB history. Washington played in 105 MLB games without batting, pitching, or fielding, playing exclusively as a pinch runner. He had 31 steals in 48 attempts and scored 33 runs during his brief career. He did play in the 1974 World Series which Oakland won.
- Ed Budde, Detroit Denby, Michigan State, Chiefs (AFL/NFL): Born in Highland Park, Budde was All-State in football and also found success as a boxer and was the city champion in the shot put. As a sophomore Budde was part of an undefeated Denby team that went to Briggs Stadium in Detroit for the annual Goodfellow Game and lost to Detroit DeLaSalle, 27-20. At MSU he played both offensive and defensive line, and was named All-America in 1962 as an offensive tackle. His teams at MSU were a combined 6-0 against Michigan and Notre Dame. He was selected in the first round by Philadelphia of the NFL and Kansas City of the AFL. He chose the Chiefs and played 14 seasons professionally all with Kansas City at offensive guard. Seven times he made the Pro Bowl. He played on two AFL championship teams including the first AFL team to compete in a Super Bowl (1967). In 1970 Budde helped drive the Kansas City Chiefs past Minnesota, 23-7, to win Super Bowl IV.
- Drew Stanton, Farmington Hills Harrison, Michigan State, Lions, Jets, Colts, Cardinals (NFL): Stanton led Harrison to state titles in 2000 and 2001, and was named to the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press Dream Teams his senior season. He was all-state his junior season. In baseball Stanton played infield and pitched. He was named first team all-state in both his junior and senior seasons. Stanton started for three seasons at quarterback for MSU and his junior season was perhaps his best. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 22 TDs. For his career he completed 64 percent of the passes and had 42 TDs. He was selected in the second round (42nd overall) by Detroit in 2008 and is currently with Arizona.
- Charlie Gehringer, Fowlerville, Michigan, Tigers (MLB): He played infield and pitched for Fowlerville High and lost only one game (2-1 to Detroit Northern) in three years before graduating in 1922. He earned a freshman letter in baseball at U-M. He also played football and basketball in college. For his career he had a .320 average with 2,839 hits, 1,186 walks, 1,774 runs, and just 372 strikeouts in 10,244 at-bats. Seven of his 184 home runs were inside the park. At the end of the 1942 season, he ranked 37th in average and sixth in doubles (574). He hit for the cycle in 1939. Gehringer holds the longest consecutive-games-played streak in Tigers history (511 games from September 3, 1927 to May 7, 1931). He made six All-Star Games, played on one World Series Championship team (1935), was selected league MVP in ’37 after winning the batting title. Gehringer was inducted into Cooperstown in 1949.
- Jim Abbott, Flint Central, Michigan, Angels, Yankees, White Sox, Brewers (MLB), Olympics: Abbott played quarterback in high school in addition to his fine career as a pitcher for Central despite being born without a right hand. He played three seasons at U-M and was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year in 1988. In ’87 Abbott won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s best amateur athlete. Baseball was a demonstration sport in the 1988 Summer Olympics and Abbott pitched the final game, winning an unofficial gold medal for the United States. He was selected 8th overall by the California Angels in the 1988 draft. In 2007, Abbott was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame for his career at U-M. He did not play in the minor leagues and was 12-12 with a 3.92 ERA in his first season with the Angels. In 1991, Abbott won 18 games with the Angels while posting an ERA of 2.89, finishing third in the Cy Young Award voting. On September 4, 1993, he tossed a no-hitter as a member of the New York Yankees. He pitched for 10 seasons and had a, 87-108 career record with a 4.25 ERA.
- Lynn Chandnois, Flint Central, Michigan State, Steelers (NFL): Born in Fayette, Mich., in the Upper Peninsula, Chandnois was all-state in football and basketball. A report by the Detroit Free Press described Chandnois as a ‘pivot artist who set an all-time scoring record for the Flint school…Big, strong and hard-going…a fast, clever floor man, he won glowing accolades for his cage ability from practically every coach and official who saw him’. Chandnois was named a football All-America at Michigan State and he played seven seasons for the Steelers after being the eighth player overall selected in the 1950 draft. A first-semester senior in the winter of 1942, he graduated mid-year in 1943, making him eligible for the 1942 Retro Mr. Basketball award. In 1952 he won the Player of the Year Award as a member of the Steelers.
- Stuart Schweigert, Saginaw Heritage, Purdue, Raiders, Redskins, Giants, Lions (NFL): At Heritage Schweigert upset Charles Rogers (Saginaw) in the 100-meter dash (10.6) at the 1999 Division 1 final and he also placed third in the 200 meters that season. Schweigert also anchored the winning 1,600 relay team at the 2000 Division 1 final. In football he started at quarterback and defensive back, and was a Dream Team selection his senior as a defensive back. As a senior, he was ranked as the No. 9 defensive back and No. 78 player overall in the nation by Prep Football Report. He was ranked as the No. 18 best skill athlete by SuperPrep and a four-star recruit by Rivals.com. His senior season Schweigert rushed for 1,502 yards and 22 touchdowns. He threw for 500 yards with four touchdowns, and recorded 50 tackles with three interceptions and seven pass breakups on defense as senior. Schweigert started all four seasons at Purdue and was named freshman of the year in 2000. Schweigert was voted first team All-Big Ten twice and second team twice. Entering his senior season (2003), he was tabbed as a Playboy All-America. He owns Purdue’s career interception (17) record. Schweigert was selected in the 3rd round by the Raiders and in 2007 had a career-high 107 tackles.
Here are Nos. 61-100.
61. D.J. LeMahieu, Birmingham Brother Rice, Louisiana State, Cubs, Rockies (MLB)
62. Tim Thomas, Davison, Vermont, Bruins, Panthers, Stars (NHL), Olympics
63. John Rowser, Detroit Eastern, Michigan, Packers, Steelers, Browns (NFL)
64. Joe DeLamielleure, Center Line St. Clement, Michigan State, Bills, Browns (NFL)
65. Sergio Perkovic, Birmingham Brother Rice, Notre Dame (lacrosse)
66. Gabe Dean, Lowell, Cornell (wrestling)
67. Bill Simpson, Royal Oak Shrine, Michigan State, Rams, Bills (NFL)
68. Nick Perry, Detroit Mackenzie, Detroit King, Southern California, Packers (NFL)
69. Draymond Green, Saginaw High, Michigan State, Golden State Warriors (NBA), Olympics
70. Wayne Schwalbach, Escanaba, Central Michigan (football)
71. Prescott Line, Oxford, Southern Methodist, Michigan State (football)
72. William Gholston, Detroit Southeastern, Michigan State, (NFL)
73. Sammy Gee, Detroit Miller, Negro League Baseball, Globetrotters
74. Darnell Dickerson, Detroit King, Pittsburgh (football)
75. Jason Richardson, Saginaw Arthur Hill, Michigan State, Warriors, Hornets, Suns, Magic, 76ers (NBA)
76. Dan Majerle, Traverse City High, Central Michigan, Suns, Cavaliers, Heat (NBA)
77. David Bowens, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Michigan/Western Illinois, Packers, Bills, Redskins, Dolphins, Jets, Browns (NFL)
78. Brent Metcalf, Davison, Iowa (wrestling)
79. Don Coleman, Flint Central, Michigan State, Cardinals (NFL)
80. Tony Dungy, Jackson Parkside, Minnesota, Steelers, 49ers (NFL)
81. Chet Walker, Benton Harbor, Bulls (NBA)
82. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Detroit Cass Tech, Michigan (football)
83. Clay Youngquist, Battle Creek Lakeview, Texas (swimming)
84. Joe Barksdale, Detroit Cass Tech, Louisiana State, Raiders, Rams, Chargers (NFL)
85. George “The Gipper” Gipp, Calumet High, Notre Dame (football)
86. Curtis Jones, Detroit Northwestern, North Idaho Junior College (basketball)
87. Walt Owens, Detroit Northwestern., Western Michigan (track), Negro League Baseball, Globetrotters
88. Andy Greene, Trenton, Miami (OH), Devils, (NHL)
89. Rudy Tomjanovich, Hamtramck, Michigan, Rockets (NBA)
90. Charlie Justice, Hamtramck/Detroit Northern, Negro League Baseball, Globetrotters
91. George Goeddeke, Detroit St. David, Notre Dame, Broncos (AFL/NFL)
92. "Jumpin’ Johnny" Kline, Detroit Northwestern/Detroit Northeastern (track, basketball)
93. Earl Brown, Jr., Benton Harbor, Notre Dame (basketball, football)
94. Harry Kipke, Lansing Central, Michigan (baseball, basketball, football)
95. Gary Hoogeboom, Grand Rapids Northview, Central Michigan, Cowboys (NFL)
96. Steve Beck, Southeastern, Arizona State (basketball)
97. Wilbert "Wilbur" King, Detroit Pershing, Negro League Baseball, Globetrotters
98. Steve Fraser, Hazel Park, Michigan, (Olympic wrestling)
99. Phil Regan, Wayland Union, Western Michigan, Tigers, Dodgers, Cubs (MLB)
100. Mike Kadish, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Notre Dame, Dolphins, Bills (NFL)