Who were your childhood sports heroes?

I started watching sports in 1984, so I was heavily influenced by the Tigers (Trammell, Whittaker, Parrish, etc.), the Royals (Brett, Saberhagen) and the Mets.

None of those teams though really captured my imagination like the Mets though, especially Dwight Gooden, Daryl Strawberry, and later, Dykstra and Mitchell. However, after the drug scandal, I pretty much stopped watching baseball after that. I still have fond memories of watching the Mets, like the time we got a new VCR and I programmed it to tape the Mets game, but it was only an hour tape, so it missed Gooden’s first HR of his career. Another fond memory was the 1986 All-Star game, where almost the entire right side of the field were Mets who were voted in: Gooden, Carter, Hernandez, and Strawberry, and Teufel and Dykstra also should have made it.

Looking back, being 10-13 years old is a magical time, where heroes were larger than life, and whatever was happening now was the best ever. I miss that feeling. Before the Internet, we didn’t know about scandals or rumors that turned out to be true. Our heroes were pure and righteous.

So, I’m wondering about which athletes you idolized?

Ted Williams. Arnie Palmer. Bobby Layne

Billy Kilmer, Frank Howard, Jack Nicklaus

Dick Weber, Carmen Salvino and Earl Anthony.

Growing up in Wisconsin in the late 70s and early 80s, I followed the Packers and Brewers.

From the Packers, my favorite players were Paul Coffman (tight end) and Jan Stenerud (placekicker). Even today, my Packer jersey is #82, for Coffman.

From the Brewers, it was Gorman Thomas (power-hitting outfielder). And, yeah, my Brewers jersey is #20 for him.

I only really became a sports junkie once we moved to a new house with much better TV reception (I think in the old house only 1 network channel came in well at all, another was half-snowy, and the third was a complete blizzard). In which case (starting at age 13 or so) it included Jack Nicklaus, Dr. J, the Oakland Raiders (most notably Freddie Biletnikoff), Johnny Bench, & A. J. Foyt.

Bruce Smith. Miroslav Satan.

Rose,Morgan,Foster,Concepcion,Bench and the rest of the Big Red Machine.

Clint Hurdle(He was from my Hometown and his Aunt worked for my Dad…got his autograph a bazillion times)

The LA Rams.


Tom Watson

Bjorn Borg

Willie Mays.

OJ Simpson.

Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, and Rene Robert. I had an awesome French Connection t-shirt featuring their giant disembodied heads floating over an ice rink.

Bob McAdoo.

So, I’m clearly a product of a particular place and time.

And then weirdly, Pelé, which makes no sense to me looking back on it … every kid I knew loved Pelé, but no one I knew followed soccer or particularly cared about soccer, or could name another soccer player other than Pelé, but it was Pelé-madness at school for a good while.

Roberto Clemente, Dave Parker

Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert

And before we had Mario Lemieux, Pierre Larouche and Jean Pronovost (sorry about the spelling)

At our school, it was Joe Montana. Maybe 80% of the students had fake sequined gloves or Madonna hair, while the rest talked about Montana. :slight_smile: We all knew who both were though, but we mainly followed one or the other.

Phil Simms. Rodney Hampton.

Patrick Ewing, to a lesser extent.


Bart Starr, Joe Namath, John Hadl, Lance Alworth, The 1969 New York Knicks

Art Monk.

Nolan Ryan
Mike Modano
Tatu, for a short while
Pudge Rodriguez

So, where am I from and about how old am I? :smiley:

Graig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Fran Tarkenton, Chuck Foreman

I was born in '79 and grew up loving the Canadiens and Blue Jays. Mats Naslund was my first favourite player. I created his Wikipedia page, which has since been updated numerously. From the 1993 Stanley Cup team, Vincent Damphousse was my favourite, and my Canadiens jersey is emblazoned with the number 25 and the captain’s “C”. He wasn’t captain when they won the Cup, but he was later.

From the Jays, I liked just about everybody, especially the members of the back to back World Championship teams. I’d have to say John Olerud and Pat Hentgen were probably my two favourites.

As a child of the 70’s a lot of my heroes were typical:

Hank Aaron (I actually wrote a fan letter to the Braves and got an “autographed” picture)

Members of the Miami Dolphins (Greise, Csonka, Warfield)

Portland Trailblazers (a “home team” thing): Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, then the entire 76-77 team, with the possible exception of Bill Walton. Never liked him for some reason. But Maurice Lucas, Lionel Hollins, Dave Twardzik; hell yeah.

However, I also read alot of those “sports lit for kids” sort of stuff, so I also idolized Johhny Unitas (still playing when I was a kid, but way past his prime) and Red Grange. As a friend years later put it, “WTF, didn’t he play in, like, 1900?” Eh, still, as a developing running back myself, I loved “The Galloping Ghost”.