Focus on Sports: Think you know everything about our local sports teams, hotshot? Take our quiz and test your knowledge of the Rockford-area’s professional, semi-pro and lesser-known sports figures. No peeking! Answers posted at bottom of story.
1. Name the professional baseball team that gained national fame thanks to the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own.”
2. This Rockford native became the first local golfer to play in the prestigious Masters golf tournament.
3. What Rockford team was one of the first professional baseball clubs?
4. What Roscoe resident worked more than two decades as a major league baseball umpire?
5. What Roscoe native finished third in the 2009 Indianapolis 500?
6. What is the name of the oldest team to play in the Continental Basketball Association?
7. Name the only Rockford native to win the NCAA men’s golf championship.
8. What local team has won 15 straight amateur hockey championships?
9. What twin brothers from Freeport were drafted by NBA teams?
10. What Rockford high school won back-to-back boys’ basketball titles in the 1950s?
11. What is the nickname of Rockford’s current professional baseball team?
12. What is the oldest public golf course in Rockford?
1. The Rockford Peaches were a team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, from 1943 to 1954. They played their home games at Beyer Stadium on 15th Avenue in Rockford, and won the league championship in 1945, 1948, 1949 and 1950. They did not, however, play in the 1943 league championship, as depicted in the film; the Racine Belles played the Kenosha Comets.
2. Guilford High School graduate Brad Benjamin qualified to play in the 2010 Masters by winning the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links. He played college golf at the University of Memphis and, in the Masters, finished ahead of many well-known golfers, including 2003 U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk and 2009 British Open champ Stewart Cink; he missed the cut by four strokes.
3. The Rockford Forest Citys (officially the Forest City Club) played one season during the National Association inaugural year in 1871. The star of the team was Cap Anson, who hit .325 and went on to become the player-manager of the Chicago White Stockings for more than 20 years. The Rockford Forest Citys folded after its first season due to financial woes.
4. Larry Young called his first game at age 13 while growing up in Oregon, Ill. He reached the major leagues in 1983; his first game was at Comiskey Park in Chicago. During his 25-year career, Young worked two All-Star games (1991, 2003), six Division Series, three League Championship Series and two World Series (1996, 2003). He retired in 2007 due to an injury he suffered at Wrigley Field. These days, Young is an umpire supervisor for Major League Baseball.
5. Danica Patrick is one of the most celebrated auto racers to get behind the wheel of a race car. She was named Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. Three years ago, she became the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race when she won the Indy Japan 300. In 2009, she placed third at the Indy 500, which was both a personal best for her at the track and the highest finish by a woman in the event’s history.
6. The Rockford Lightning was a minor league basketball team that started as the Lancaster (Pa.) Red Roses in 1975. That team changed its name to the Lancaster Lightning before moving to Baltimore for a year and then relocating in Rockford. It finished second in the 2004-05 CBA season, losing the championship series to the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Lightning folded in 2006.
7. David Barclay won the 1947 NCAA championship as a member of the University of Michigan golf team. Barclay played on the Rockford High School team that finished tied for third in the state. After high school he enlisted in U.S. Army Air Corps, flying combat missions during World War II. When the war ended, Barclay enrolled at the University of Michigan. Following college, he and his family moved to Mayfield, Ky., where he lived until his death in 2009.
8. The Rockford Icemen is a local hockey club made up of high school players from various schools throughout the area. Coach Tim Mattila is a former hockey player who’s won more than 800 games as a head coach. The Icemen won their first title in 1997 against Niles. This year, they made it 15 in a row by defeating Waubonsie Valley. At home, they play at Carlson Ice Arena.
9. Kim and Kerry Hughes, both 6-feet-11-inches tall, played at Freeport High School from 1968-1970. Following high school, they moved on to the University of Wisconsin and played for the Badgers. Kim was selected in the third round of the 1974 NBA draft by the Buffalo Braves and Kerry signed on with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the eighth round. While Kerry never played in the NBA, Kim played six seasons with three teams: the Nets, Nuggets and Cavaliers. Last year, he served as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers for the final three months of the season.
10. Rockford West High School won state championships in 1955 and 1956. Led by legendary coach Alex Saudargas, West defeated Elgin 61-59 in 1955, to finish 28-1. Amazingly, the Warriors scored six points in one second, late in the game, to come from behind in dramatic fashion. Nolden Gentry scored the winning basket on a tip-in with 9 seconds left. West defended its title the next year, with a 67-65 win over Edwardsville in the championship game. Gentry finished that game with 17 points.
11. C. The RiverHawks, who play their home games at Road Ranger Stadium. The Rampage was a major indoor soccer league team; the Thunder was a professional women’s softball team; and the IceHogs hockey team is the top minor league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.
12. Sinnissippi Golf Course, a nine-hole course, is the oldest of the five Rockford Park District golf courses, opening in 1912. Ingersoll Golf Course, named for Lt. Clayton Ingersoll, who died in an air crash over France in World War I, opened in 1922, and Sandy Hollow opened in 1930. Elliot (1968) and Aldeen Golf Club (1991) are the other two park district courses. ❚