With help from coaches, fans, media and local sports historians, SBLive has put together its lists of the best athletes — male and female — to emerge from every county in the state of Washington. We looked back as far as the turn of the 20th century, and we examined the totality of each athletes’ career, not only what they did in high school.
As comprehensive as our lists are, we also want to hear your opinions. We have included polls where you can vote for the best male and female athletes by county. You can also leave your comments below or hit us up on Twitter @sblivewa.
From B.J. Garbe to Dave Heaverlo, Grant County has produced several outstanding male athletes. Take a look at SBLive’s list of the top male athletes to ever come out of Grant County and cast your vote in the poll.
(The list is in alphabetical order.)
BEST MALE ATHLETES IN GRANT COUNTY HISTORY
High School: Moses Lake (class of 1999)
Sports: Baseball, football
Notable Stats: One of the highest state of Washington selections in MLB Draft history (No. 5 overall to Minnesota in 1999), Garbe only hit better than .275 once in professional ball – as a rookie for Elizabethton (.316).
It was the year – 1999 – when the baseball scouting world visited Washington with regularity. Ten in-state players would be drafted in the first two rounds.
And Garbe, a fast-rising outfielder, was the leader of the class.
It wasn’t difficult to see why: At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, he could run, throw and hit with seemingly little effort. He was the Gatorade national player of the year, and an All-American first-teamer
He was also an all-state quarterback on the Moses Lake football team, rushing and passing for more than 1,000 yards (with 41 combined touchdowns and zero interceptions) as a senior.
Garbe turned down Stanford and instead opted for the MLB Draft where he was picked by the Twins. But never advancing past the Double-A level, his career never really went anywhere, hitting just .235 in 722 minor-league games over eight seasons. Injuries (and anxiety-induced vertigo) were big reasons behind that.
He is part of the WIAA hall of fame class for 2020.
High School: Moses Lake (class of 1968)
Notable Stats: Pitching for three big-league teams (San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle) primarily as a reliever, Heaverlo won 26 games for his career – and also saved 26 games.
How can a notorious dugout jokester who doesn’t throw very hard pitch for seven seasons in the big leagues?
One, he had supreme confidence. And two, he had a lethal breaking pitch – a forkball.
Heaverlo set every meaningful career pitching record at Central Washington (after turning down Washington State University), winning 31 games with a 1.79 earned-run average while tossing two no-hitters.
He was selected in the first round of a supplemental MLB draft by the Giants in 1973. Two years later, he debuted in the big leagues – and enjoyed great success in relief with five seasons of an ERA lower than 4.00.
But Heaverlo played on some bad teams, especially in Oakland (the first time) and Seattle. He had his best year in 1981 going back to the playoff-bound Athletics – a 1.59 ERA (in six games).
It would be his final season in the major leagues, compiling a career 3.41 ERA in 356 games (537.2 innings). His son, Jeff, was also a pitcher in professional baseball.
Ron Cox, Coulee (basketball, football, baseball) – WIAA hall of famer set handful of EWU basketball records, then was drafted by Cleveland in NBA.
Ryan Doumit, Moses Lake (baseball) – Career .264 big-league hitter, Doumit was also part of 1999 draft class (No. 59 overall by Pittsburgh).
Travis King, Ephrata (basketball) – Set all-time state scoring mark (2,292 points) in 1993 1A title game before becoming an all-Big Sky guard at EWU.