About 25 percent of the United States population resides in cities with under 50,000 people, but nearly half of the players in the NFL are from areas that size. The trend is less significant but continues into the NHL (39 percent), MLB (38 percent), NBA (28 percent) and PGA tour (50%).
Reasons why could be everything from the cultural importance placed on sports in small towns to the accessibility of sports role models there. Widely cited research, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, found that professional athletes are over-represented in cities of fewer than 500,000 and under-represented in cities of 500,000 or more.
Here are some sport figures from towns that TDS serves.
Professional golfer and U.S. Olympic track and field gold medalist Babe Didrikson Zaharias. With two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics and winning 10 LPGA major championships. She is widely regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of all time; and Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay
Austin Ekeler, running back in the NFL, and Trent Sieg, long snapper in the NFL.
Tommy Caldwell, rock climber, and Tom Hornbein, mountaineer and anesthesiologist. He climbed Mt. Everest in 1963. He and Willi Unsoeld were the first climbers to reach the summit via the West Ridge route. In climbing circles, it is considered to be among the great feats in the history of mountaineering. He also designed the oxygen masks for the climb.
Reed Doughty NFL player.
Jerry Montgomery, football coach
Adam Frye, professional soccer player, Donna Barton Brothers, jockey, Conrad Hamilton, NFL player, Brad and Bart Bryant, professional golfers, Rene Sepulveda, an NCAA coach and Olympic athlete.
Trevor Rogers, pitcher for the Miami Marlins, Shane Andrews, Major League Baseball player, Sam Etcheverry, NFL player, Mark Jackson, gridiron football player, Bob Kelly, NFL football player, Cody Ross, outfield in the MLB, and John Wooten, NFL player. On Aug. 11, 1959, Gil Carter, a member of the Carlsbad Potashers minor league team and a former prizefighter from Kansas, hit a 730 foot homer that landed near a distant peach tree. This home run is still widely considered to be the longest in baseball history, and it happened in Carlsbad.
Eunice high school baseball has produced 17 state championships. This record ranks fifth in the nation. Childhood Home of NFL Coach and Player Josh Lynn
Tony Benford, assistant basketball coach, Bill Bridges, professional basketball player, Tharon Drake, swimmer, U.S. Paralympic medalist 2016, Colt McCoy, NFL quarterback, Jeff Taylor and son Jeffery Taylor, professional basketball players, Timmy Smith, former NFL player, Scott Terry, former MLB pitcher.
Ray Berry, American football player, Ronnie Black, professional golfer, Taymon Domzalski, basketball player, Sean Murphy, professional golfer, Ralph Tasker, basketball coach, Brian Urlacher, NFL football player.
Mary Ann Almager, world champion boxer
Steve Ontiveros, MLB pitcher
Bake Turner, NFL player
Blaine McCallister, professional golfer
Mitch Talbot, MLB player
Texas Rose Bascom, rodeo performer, trick roper, Hollywood actress, National Cowgirl Hall Of Fame inductee, Jay Don Blake, professional and NCAA champion golfer, Bruce Hurst, MLB pitcher, Doug Jolley NFL player, and John “Cat” Thompson, NBA player.