The Baltimore Sun and Babe Ruth Museum are teaming up to create the Mount Rushmore of Maryland sports. A committee of local sports experts and the results of online voting that ended Feb. 28 are to determine the final four from the 10 finalists listed below.
Sugar Ray Leonardboxing
His gold-medal performance in the 1976 Olympics launched the career of the fighter from Palmer Park in Prince George’s County. Leonard won 36 of 40 pro bouts and captured world titles in five divisions, from welterweight to light heavyweight.
Twice named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2000 and 2003), Lewis was a 13-time Pro Bowl selection and seven-time first-team All-Pro. He was voted Most Valuable Player of the January 2001 Super Bowl, and led ther Ravens to the Super Bowl 47 title in his last year in the NFL.
The Hall of Fame first baseman played 12½ years with the Orioles, during which he topped .300 five times and hit 343 home runs. He is one of five players – and the only switch-hitter – with at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Murray helped lead the Orioles to two World Series appearances, in 1979 and 1983, when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies for the title.
The winningest pitcher in Orioles history, “Cakes” Palmer earned 268 victories and had eight 20-win seasons in a 19-year career. The Hall of Fame right-hander won three Cy Young Awards. His 53 shutouts are a club record.
The Baltimore native is the most successful and decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time mark for most Olympic gold medals (23). He won eight golds in the 2008 Games, the most ever at any single Olympic Games.
Cal Ripken Jr.baseball
There is the Hall of Fame plaque, the World Series ring (1983) and the hardware he won for Rookie of the Year (1982), Most Valuable Player (1983, 1991) and countless other accomplishments. But the shortstop, who grew up in Aberdeen in Harford County, will best be remembered for playing in 2,632 consecutive games, breaking Lou Gehrig’s record.
No position player in baseball has won as many Gold Glove awards as Robinson (16). The third baseman was the first Oriole named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1964, and was the MVP of the 1970 World Series. Robinson was an 18-time All-Star and MVP of the 1966 game. He was a first-ballot inductee into the Hall of Fame.
The outfielder played six years in Baltimore and led the Orioles to four World Series appearances and two titles, the first in his Triple Crown season of 1966. He averaged 30 home runs and batted .300. And the Hall of Famer instilled in the team a cheeky “can-do” mindset that put the Orioles over the top and lingered for decades to come.
George Herman "Babe" Ruthbaseball
Thought by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time and one of the top athletes of the 20th century, the pitcher-turned-outfielder from Baltimore was discovered by minor league Orioles manager Jack Dunn. Ruth set the then single-season home run mark of 60 in 1927 and hit 714 homers in a Hall of Fame career.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer set 22 NFL records, passed for more than 40,000 yards and 290 touchdowns, led the Baltimore Colts to championships in 1958 (the “Greatest Game Ever Played”) and 1959, and completed at least one TD pass in 47 straight games. He is often referred to as the father of football’s 2-minute drill.