MORRIS “RED” BADGRO – Football/Baseball
From Badgro’s NFL Hall of Fame website bio:
“In 1981, Morris “Red” Badgro at the age of 78 became the oldest person ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame at that time. The 45-year span between his final game with the National Football League’s 1936 Brooklyn Dodgers and his election also was a record. The Badgro saga is even more unusual in that he wasn’t even sure he wanted to play pro football and, in fact, retired after one year with the NFL’s 1927 New York Yankees to give pro baseball a try.
Red played in the major leagues for two years with the St. Louis Browns but eventually decided to give pro football another look. The football Yankees had folded so Red signed with the New York Giants. During his six-year tenure with the Giants that began in 1930, the team was a solid championship contender every year and Badgro, a two-way end, was one of the most honored stars. He was named to an all-league first or second-team in 1930, 1931, 1933, and 1934.
Badgro, who was born in Orillia, Washington on December 1, 1902, was highly regarded as a sure-tackling defender and an effective blocker on offense but he was also a talented receiver. In 1934, he tied for the NFL’s pass-catching crown with 16 receptions, a significant number in those defense-dominated days when most NFL teams concentrated on grind-it-out football. He also had the distinction of being the first player to score a touchdown in the NFL championship series that began in 1933.
Red made many other key catches that were converted into Giants’ victories, including a 15-yard reception that was a key play in a long drive for the game’s only score in a 3-0 New York divisional title win. Badgro had his big defensive moments as well. Playing against the Boston Redskins in 1935, Red blocked a punt and returned it for a go-ahead touchdown. Badgro passed away on July 13, 1998 at the age of 95.”
Badgro attended Kent High School before playing baseball, basketball and football at USC. After his playing career ended, he was an assistant football coach at the University of Washington from 1946-1953.
EDDIE O’BRIEN – Basketball/Baseball
Nobody, not even his eminent twin brother, can quarrel with the honors which came his way during his highly successful basketball and baseball careers at Seattle University, then a major league diamond career. He later served as Seattle University’s athletic director.
JOHNNY O’BRIEN – Basketball/Baseball
For a little fellow playing a game where the giants prevail, he made quite a splash as a Seattle University basketball player, earning All-American distinction among other things. After a whirl at professional baseball, he turned to the political field and, doing what comes naturally, won public office as a King County officer holder.
From a Seattle Times feature in 2018 about the 5-foot-9 twins who came to Seattle U from New Jersey:
“Johnny O’Brien, playing center on offense despite his size, became one of the great scorers in NCAA history with a lot of help from his brother, who played point guard.
In the 1951-52 season, Johnny became the first college player to score 1,000 points in a season, and gained even more fame by leading Seattle U to a victory over the Harlem Globetrotters.
Johnny was a unanimous first-team All-American in the spring of 1953 as Seattle U reached the NCAA tournament for the first time. A few months later, the brothers were starting infielders for the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
Seattle University went 90-17 in the O’Briens’ three years on the varsity basketball team, and 62-14 in their three years of varsity baseball.
After graduation from Seattle U. in 1953, the twins became the starting middle infield for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Johnny played six seasons in the Majors. Eddie had significant at-bats in two seasons with the Pirates and limited play in three more seasons.
BASIL JAMES – Horse racing
From the Washington Thoroughbred Racing 2005 Hall of Fame inductee plaque:
“As many jockeys do when embarking on a career in the irons, they begin at an early age. However, very few hold the distinction of begin the best in the nation. Basil James did both. In 1936 the 16-year-old James from Sunnyside, WA led all riders in the nation with 245 victories. In 1939 he earned more money than any other rider with $353,333 in purses earned. He finished that 1939 season with 191 victories from 904 mounts. Also that year, James guided Heather Broom to victory in the Blue Grass Stakes then finished third aboard him in the Kentucky Derby. It was one of his four attempts at the Run for the Roses. He often rode for trainer Earl Sande, a National Hall of fame jockey who mentored James during the beginning of his career. James was the regular rider for the 1941 2-year-old of the year and the 1942 3-year-old of the year, Alsab. He finished second aboard him in the 1942 Kentucky Derby then they went on to win that year’s Preakness Stakes.”
James also rode Indian Broom to a world-record time for a mile and one-eighth on dirt at California’s Tanforan Racetrack in 1936. He continued to jockey for many years then joined the staff at Seattle’s Longacres race track in 1963 and worked there for 30 years.