Some iconic sporting heroes have been born in Westchester County or have had strong links to the area over the years. Who is the most famous of them all?
Mariano Rivera – Baseball
The MLB icon was born in Panama City but achieved fame playing baseball for the New York Yankees. His family stayed in Panama until they joined him in Westchester County in 2000. They now live in Rye and his son pitched for Iona College in New Rochelle.
Known as Sandman and Mo, Rivera’s records over a 19-season career are incredible. His widely respected cut fastball is one of the sport’s most famous pitches. As the MLB’s all-time saves leader, he was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019 and was the first person to ever be elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on a unanimous basis.
Interestingly, he and his friends used items like milk cartons and wads of fishing nets to make baseball equipment when he was a child. Rivera got his first real glove at the age of 12 and played baseball as an amateur until he was spotted by the Yankees in 1990.
Art Monk – Football
James Arthur Monk was born in White Plains. Following his successful college football career with Syracuse University, he went on to have a glittering career with the Washington Redskins, the New York Jets, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
He set numerous records and was the NFL’s all-time top pass-catcher with 940 receptions at the time he retired. In fact, he still sits in the top 20 of this list. His college football statistics were so good that he is still on some of his college’s top 20 lists too. In the 1970s then Monk would have been a good choice to perform well.
Monk has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the college equivalent. Away from the field, Monk is a first cousin once removed of jazz legend Thelonious Monk. During his college years, he studied at the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Deion Sanders – Football and Baseball
Although he was born in Florida, Sanders moved to Pleasantville to live. During an action-packed career in football and baseball, he achieved some interesting claims to fame. For instance, he is the only man to have played in a Super Bowl and a World Series. Sanders also hit a home run in the MLB and scored an NFL touchdown in the same week.
His sporting career got underway at Florida State University, where he played football and baseball as well as running track events. In terms of football, “Prime Time” played for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and the Baltimore Ravens.
In baseball, he represented the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants. His career since retiring from sports has been equally varied, as he has worked as a television analyst, football coach, and star of his own TV reality show.
Deacon Jones – Baseball and Football
Grover William Jones was born in White Plains. People called him Deacon because his father was a deacon in the local Baptist Church. He attended Ithaca College and then went on to play as a first baseman and pinch hitter for the Chicago White Sox.
Among his enduring records, he is still the record-holder in the Midwest League for the .409 average that he hit over a season for Dubuque Packers in 1956. Jones followed up all his MLB postseason records after retirement working as a scout, a coach, and a manager.
He became the first African American football player to be honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame. This came when a plaque with his name on it was displayed in Cooperstown in 1952. He should not be confused with Deacon Jones, the football player, who was born in Florida.
There you go, four of many Westchester sports icons. To find analysis, predictions, odds and more on various sports, visit BetAmerica.