It was only a thumbnail-size photo, an accolade buried deep in that week's Sports Illustrated. But to Web Wright III of Annapolis, then a 21-year-old college student, his photo in the "Faces in the Crowd" section seemed a way to drum up a date.
It was April 1988, and Wright was sitting
in a bar in Morgantown, W.Va., trying
to impress a woman when he saw
the magazine on the counter.
"She was not impressed," he said.
"But I think I got a free beer from the
Wright was No. 228 of the 373 Marylanders
who have appeared in "Faces"
since Sports Illustrated began -- from
James McKinney, a running back at
Severn School who was picked in the
magazine's first year (1954), to Emily
Richards of Silver Spring, a field hockey
goalie at St. Mary's College who was
honored in the Oct. 31 issue.
A standing feature, "Faces In The
Crowd" pays homage each week to six
accomplished athletes, most in their
teens. It's a fleeting brush with celebrity:
a 40-word blurb and a one-inch
head shot. Then, the next week, the
magazine moves on to another batch
of stamp-size wunderkinder.
What happened to those Baltimore area
athletes who've been singled out?
A few reached the pros. Bryan "Moose"
Haas, a pitcher from Franklin High,
spent 12 years in the big leagues and
won 100 games, mostly for the Milwaukee
Brewers. Reggie Williams, a
skinny swingman out of Dunbar High,
played 10 NBA seasons and averaged
12.5 points a game. And tailback Lou
Carter (Arundel High) reached the
NFL, lasting four years.
More often, however, those honored
simply fade from sport's forefront,
their exploits stowed in musty trunks
and dresser drawers.
The Sun spoke with 35 people who
have appeared in "Faces." Some became
standouts in other fields. Glenn
Meininger, goalie of Centennial High's
1987 state championship soccer team,
is a Baltimore cardiologist. Dick Voith,
a long-haired basketball star at Calvert
Hall in 1973, is a nationally known
economist. Karen Stout played field
hockey at Bel Air High when tabbed
by SI in 1977; now she is president of
Montgomery County (Pa.) Community
All said they had maintained, in their
work, the tenacity that won them success
in sports and mention in the magazine.
"There's something within you --
call it discipline or focus -- that comes
out, whether you're in the business
world or on the athletic field," said
Stout. "If you're lucky, you find that
zone and stay in it."
Wrestling earned Ray Finch (Westminster
High) a plug in SI in 1977. The
two-time state champion now heads
the family's lawn equipment company
in Carroll County. His transition to
business was a smooth one, Finch
"The adrenaline rush I got on the
mat is the same one I get when we
close a big deal today," he said.
And what of Web Wright, the
rifleman at West Virginia University
who had used his prominence to try to
get a date? He won a gold medal in the
1995 Pan American Games, joined the
Army's Marksmanship Unit and made
a career in the military. Now a major,
Wright returned this summer from
Iraq, where he served with the 10th
Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat
"So far, I haven't had to use my shooting
skills in combat," he said. "But I'm
pretty sure that the soldiers I have
trained over the years have."
Colette Yarosh Benner
Jumping right in
Name a kids' game, from marbles
to Monopoly, and Maryland
youngsters have ridden
it into the magazine. In 1960, an 11-
year-old from East Baltimore made
"Faces" for her facility at jumping
rope -- 150 times in 30 seconds.
Faces in the Crowd
Years ago, they were Faces in the Crowd: a collection of people with ties to Maryland, who helped put the states athletes and athletics on the map by appearing in Sports Illustrated.
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