VEAN GREGG – Baseball
A crafty southpaw pitching performer, he led the American League in winning percentage by compiling 23-7 won-lost mark in 1911 at age 26, his first season in the majors with the Cleveland Naps. Gregg was the A.L. earned-run average leader at 1.80 and finished 10th in A.L. most valuable player voting. Gregg won 20 games each of the next two seasons for Cleveland. He was the only 20th century pitcher to win at least 20 games in his first three seasons in the majors. He moved on to the Boston Red Sox, pitching in limited spot starts. At age 40 after being out of the Major Leagues for seven years, Gregg pitched in 26 games for the 1925 Washington Senators. His Major League career record was 92-63 with a 2.70 ERA.
During his absence from the Major Leagues, he first went to Canada to farm but returned to baseball a few years later and won 61 games over three seasons for the Seattle Indians in the Pacific Coast League from 1922-24.
Gregg was born near Chehalis but made a name for himself as a young pitcher mostly in the Palouse.
Much more detail is available in his Society of American Baseball Research bio.
HUGH McELHENNY – Football
An electrifying runner on the gridiron, he was an All-American at the University of Washington and went on to greater fame in the professional ranks, earning a Pro Football Hall of Fame berth and a place on the San Francisco 49ers all-time backfield.
McElhenny played for the 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Detroit Lions from 1952-1964. His no. 39 is retired by the 49ers. He was the 49ers first pick in the 1952 NFL draft and made first-team all-Pro in five of his first six seasons. Upon his retirement, McElhenny had amassed the third most all-purpose yards (11,375) in NFL history. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970 and the College Football Hall of fame in 1981.
Originally from California, he transferred to the University of Washington after playing at Compton Junior College. In an Apple Cup game against Washington State, McElhenny rushed for a UW record 296 yards. He scored seven touchdowns and rushed for 578 yards in three games against the Cougars. He was selected to the Associated Press 1951 All-America team as a fullback.
AL ULBRICKSON – Crew
A brilliant University of Washington oarsmen in 1923, ’24 and ’25, he vaulted into the varsity crew coaching job at his alma mater and remained as the Husky coach for 33 years (1927-1959), an illustrious career during which his alma mater prevailed sensationally.
Ulbrickson’s UW crews won six Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships. He also coached gold medal-winning U.S. rowing teams in the 1936 (Berlin) and 1948 (London) Olympics. His 1952 Helsinki Olympics team took bronze. He was a charter members of UW Athletic Hall of Fame when it was established in 1979.
More detail is available in this Poughkeepsie Regatta bio.
MARVIN “BUD” WARD – Golf
Marvin Bud Ward was born May 1, 1913 in Elma, WA but grew up in Olympia and vaulted into the national golfing prominence by winning back-to-back U.S. Amateur titles. By the time he turned pro, he had swept the boards clean in Pacific Northwest competition, in addition to gaining a berth on the U.S. Walker Cup team.
When Ward entered the 1937 U.S. Open in Philadelphia, neither he nor golf’s observers had a clue who he was or how he’d do. But Ward went out and shot 69-73-71-72 to finish a shot behind Byron Nelson, Craig Wood and Dennis Shute, and suddenly rocketed onto the national golf scene.
The year 1941 was definitely Bud’s finest as a competitive golfer. He accomplished a rare triple, winning the PNGA Men’s Amateur, Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur championships — all within a two-month span. In the Western Amateur at Colorado Springs, Ward was again “in the zone,” besting Harry Todd, the 1939 Western Amateur champion, 3 & 2. Following his win, Ward became the top-ranked player in the U.S.
Bud continued to enjoy success, winning the 1947 Western Amateur and Northwest Opens in 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1961, and being named again to the Walker Cup team in 1947. In 1951, he turned professional. Ward served as the head professional at Peninsula Golf & Country Club in San Mateo, California — where he set the course record of 63 — until his death from cancer on January 2, 1968 at the age of 54.
RAY FLAHERTY – Football
Before becoming an NFL Hall of Famer and part of two NFL championship teams, Ray Flaherty grew up near Spokane, attended Gonzaga Prep, WSU and Gonzaga University. Flaherty played in the NFL for the New York Yankees (that’s right, football Yankees) in 1927-28. He played for the NY Giants from 1929-1935, except for 1930 when he had returned to GU to be the football and basketball coach. Flaherty was the first professional football player with his number retired.
Flaherty became the head coach of the Boston Redskins in 1936 before their move to Washington D.C. the following season. He coached the Redskins to the NFL championship in 1937 and 1942. He was an offensive innovator credited with inventing the screen pass. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976 as a coach. His pro football coaching record was 80 wins, 37 losses.