Who is all-time greatest WSU Major Leaguer?

BARRING A huge turnaround, old Coug Ron Cey soon will be crowned the greatest Spokane Indian in the 100-plus years pro baseball has been played in the Lilac City. Bracket polling by SWX-TV has seen The Penguin knock off Tom Lasorda and Steve Garvey, and he's now poised in the finals to defeat Carlos Beltran. Which got us to thinking: Is Cey also the greatest Coug ever to play in the Major Leagues?

Starting with Art McClarney, who played in nine games for the Giants in 1932, a total of 32 Cougs have played in the Majors.

Here's our countdown, starting with honorable mention choices and then progressing from No. 5 up to No. 1, of the best of the best to travel from Pullman to the top tier of their sport.

The battle for No. 1 was clearly a two-man race and the ultimate choice won by whisker.


  • Ed Bouchee, 1B
  • Mark Hendrickson, P
  • Wes Stock, P and coach
  • Doug Sisk, P
  • Danny Frisella (above), P
  • Tom Neidenfuer, P

    Position: C and 1B
    High School: Eisenhower/Yakima
    WSU: Cougars won three conference titles in his three seasons behind the plate. Was named team captain and MVP in 1991.
    MLB: 14 seasons (1995-2008), Red Sox, A's, Reds

    Started 662 games and collected more than 1,100 hits while hitting.273 with 106 home runs, 527 RBI and a .772 OBP. After elbow injury ended his time as a catcher with Boston, he resurrected his career at first base with Oakland in 2002 and became a central character in the book and movie Moneyball. Hit a dramatic, pinch-hit walk-off homer against Kansas City in 2002 to give Oakland a historic 20th-straight victory.

    Position: Pitcher
    High School: Columbia/Richland
    WSU: Hit .417, won five games and saved two others for WSU's legendary 1950 squad that lost the national title to Texas in the first-ever College World Series.
    MLB: 11 seasons (1952-63), Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets

    One of the greatest stories in pro sports history, Conley won four world championship rings --- one as a starting pitcher with Hank Aaron's World Series champion Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and three as Bill Russell's backup with the Boston Celtics from 1959-61. He was a three-time baseball All-Star and the National League Comeback Player of the Year in 1959. Won 91 career games and saved nine others. Pitched nearly 1,600 innings, and posted a career ERA of 3.82.

    Position: Starting Pitcher
    High School: North Kitsap/Poulsbo
    WSU: Named third-team All-American after posting 12-3 record and 2.22 ERA in 1990 for the No. 18-ranked Cougars. Cougs won three conference titles in his three seasons.
    MLB: 15 seasons (1993-2007), Red Sox, Rangers, Mariners, Angels, Dodgers, Mets

    A two-time All-Star. Won 148 games and struck 1,407 batters. Won between 13 and 19 games five straight seasons. Went 32-15 in two seasons with the Mariners. His 352 starts is among the 200 most in Major League history. Finished third in AL rookie of the year voting in 1993 and was fifth in Cy Young balloting in 1999 after going 18-9 with the Red Sox.

    Position: 1B
    High School: Interlake/Bellevue
    WSU: A pitching and hitting phenom he was a consensus All-American and named 1988 College Player of the Year by Baseball America.
    MLB: 17 seasons (1989-2005), Jays, Mets, Mariners, Yankees, Red Sox

    A two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, he hit .295 while belting 255 homers and driving in 1,230 runs. Collected more than 2,200 hits. Played on two World Series champions with Blue Jays. Won the American League batting title in 1993 and was National League runner-up in 1998.

    1. RON CEY
    Position: 3B
    High School: Mount Tahoma/Tacoma
    WSU: Helped Cougs to 29 wins in 1968 and national ranking that climbed to No. 8 after defeating No. 1 Stanford and eventual national champion USC.
    MLB: 16 seasons (1972-87), Dodgers, Cubs, A's

    A six-time All-Star and 1981 World Series MVP. Belted 316 career home runs, drove in 1,139 runs and collected more than 1,800 hits. Nine seasons ranked in National League top 10 in HRs and six times in RBI. In 1979 he broke the Major League record for fewest errors by a third baseman in a season. Received votes for NL MVP in five seasons, four with Dodgers and one with Cubs.

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