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The Big Question

Q: Who Was the Greatest Men's Lacrosse Player Ever?

Bob Scott '52, Hopkins head lacrosse coach, 1955-1974; Hopkins athletic director, 1973-1995. Author of Lacrosse: Technique and Tradition, 1976, Johns Hopkins University Press.
Photo by John Davis

A: "Jimmy Brown, Syracuse University, Class of 1957. The first time I saw him was his senior year at the North-South collegiate all-star game played on Homewood Field in early June, 1957. Hopkins had just gone the collegiate season undefeated and we'd won the national championship. I went to the all-star game and sat with Gardner Mallonee (Eng '28), one of the legendary figures in Hopkins football and lacrosse, who coached in the 1930s and '40s at Hopkins and became athletic director. Gardner had seen 'em all up to 1957. I said, 'Mal, were any of your guys back in the '20s or '30s or '40s as good as that guy down there?' He said, 'Nope, that guy's the best.'

"Jimmy Brown was a man among boys. He looked like a college senior playing against the best 10th-graders. He was 6'-2'' and 228 pounds. He had terrific speed, and he had agility and quickness. Hopkins had three senior midfielders playing against him for the South in that all-star game-- Jerry Bennett, Dick Steele, and Carl Muly--and they couldn't stop him. He was just so superior with his size and speed and stick work. He had five goals and two assists by the middle of the third quarter, and then he stopped playing hard. He'd already shown his talent."

Brown went on to become one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the history of the National Football League, playing, appropriately, for the Cleveland Browns.

When asked to name the greatest Hopkins players of all time, Scott diplomatically defers to Bill Tanton '53, senior associate editor of Lacrosse Magazine, who recently compiled a list of the greatest players of the 20th century. The entire defense of Tanton's all-century squad was composed of Hopkins players: John Tolson '41, Lloyd Bunting '50, and Dave Pietramala '90. Forty-four of the inductees in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, just off campus, are former Blue Jays.

Return to April 2002 Table of Contents

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