New Mexico is one of 21 states without a major sports franchise. Heck, with the Raiders moving to Vegas, we’re now the only state in the Southwest without a sports franchise. But just because we don’t have a major sports franchise doesn’t mean New Mexico hasn’t produced some amazing professional athletes. And here you thought all we were known for was Billy the Kid, little green men, and Heisenberg. Here are four of the best professional athletes to hail from the Land of Enchantment.
This entire list could consist exclusively of golfers. Must be all that space to work on their drives. But when it comes to your favorite golfer's favorite golfer, look no further than seven-time LPGA Player of the Year, Kathy Whitworth, from Jal. Whitworth started golfing when she was 15 back in 1954. A breaker of both barriers and records, she accumulated 88 professional tournament titles over her almost 50-year career. That’s more than any other golfer on both the women’s LPGA and men's PGA tours.
When Ralph Kiner wasn’t saving the world as a United States Navy pilot in World War II, the Hall of Fame outfielder from Santa Rita led or tied for National League home runs the first seven seasons of his career (1946 to '52).
This list could consist solely of professional combat athletes. Must be from punching all those aliens. Bob Foster from Albuquerque was one of the best boxers to ever lace up a pair of gloves. Winning the light heavyweight championship from Dick Tiger in ‘68, he went on to successfully defend his title an astounding 14 times from 1969 to '74.
Sometimes it’s a Hall of Fame career that makes you a legend in professional sports, and sometimes it’s a single game. For Timmy Smith from Hobbs, it was the latter. As a rookie running back for the Washington Football Team during their 1987-88 season, he had only a few snaps under his belt when he was given the starting job over banged-up George Rogers, in Super Bowl XXII. Yep, you read that right. The rookie got the starting spot the morning of the Super Bowl. And boy did he shine, setting a new Super Bowl rushing record with 204 yards on 22 carries for two touchdowns, and an MVP title to boot. And while this was the only real bright spot of Timmy’s professional career, it’s one heck of a spot.
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