With the fifth pick in tonight’s Happy Hour draft, I select…Patty Berg and can't believe she was still left on the big board.
Patricia quarterbacked a sandlot football team with a blocker named Bud Wilkinson in south Minneapolis on the 50th Street Tigers.
“We didn’t have any tight ends or wide ends,” she said once upon a time. “We only had loose ends.”
She also did track and field, speedskated, played basketball, volleyball and softball before she became a defining figure in the rise of women’s sports and professional women’s game.
She was a founding member of the LPGA and had a nearly lifelong sponsorship deal with Wilson Sporting Goods, for whom she once estimated she did 10,000 or more clinics. I had a set in our garage right next to a set of Mickey Wright’s.
A 1941 car accident and World War II service sidetracked her career, but she still won 88 amateur and pro titles, including 15 majors.
From my story on Winfield this spring: "On a June day in 1973, Dave Winfield and the Gophers were gearing up for baseball’s College World Series when the coaches announced the San Diego Padres had selected him fourth overall in the MLB Draft.
“That was my hope and dream” to play professional baseball, Winfield said. “But it wasn’t like everybody sitting at home and getting ready to watch the draft show.”
The Padres joined the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and the ABA’s Utah Stars in selecting the St. Paul native for a pro sports future.
All within six months."
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