These 11 Famous Athletes Were All Born in New York County’s Capital Region
Many well-known athletes were born and bred in the Capital Region, from the “big four” professional sports leagues to the Olympics and beyond. Each of the 11 counties that make up the Capital District has one well-known athlete listed below.
1-Dion Lewis, Albany County
Dion Lewis, an Albany native, was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the University of Pittsburgh. Lewis was a player for six NFL teams, although he spent his greatest years in New England. With the Patriots, he won Super Bowl LI.
2-Tyler Lydon, Columbia County
Lydon played collegiate basketball for the Syracuse Orange at a very high level. Lydon, who was born in Hudson, New York, filed for the 2017 NBA Draft after averaging more than 13 points per game as a sophomore. The Denver Nuggets selected him 24th overall in the first round of the draft. Sadly, Lydon announced his retirement from basketball in August 2021 after competing for Jim Boeheim’s squad in The Basketball Tournament.
3-Fulton County – David Smukler
“Dynamite Dave” is a Gloversville native and has earned this place on my list. He was regarded as a “one-man team” at Gloversville High School, where he excelled as a fullback and defensive lineman. He was also a punter!
Smukler attended Temple and the University of Missouri to play collegiate football before agreeing to a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Before retiring, he would play 38 professional games with the “Boston Yanks,” Detroit, and Philadelphia. In addition, he served in the military for three years of his life.
4-Greene County: Mickey Brantley
Mickey Brantley, a Catskill, New York native, played Major League Baseball with the Seattle Mariners and hit 32 home runs throughout his career. He coached in the major and minor levels for San Francisco, the New York Mets, and Toronto from 1994 to 2007. Furthermore, I continue to believe that Michael, his son, would be an excellent outfielder for the Yankees.
5-Bud Fowler, Montgomery County
Let me summarize for you what my dear friend Charlie did for Bud Fowler. He was the first African-American player in organized professional baseball history, and he was born in Fort Plain. He started his (recorded) playing career at the age of 14, and in 2022, more than a century later, he will be admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
6-King Kelly, Rensselaer County
I chose Kelly specifically for this reason, and I explain. Troy is the birthplace of baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Evers. Though his tale hasn’t been shared as much, King Kelly was also born in Troy. Throughout his career, he played baseball as an outfielder, catcher, and manager.
He is recognized for having popularized several techniques, including the hit-and-run, the hook slide, catchers covering first base, and others . In 1878, he started a career in Vaudeville performing in Boston, but he was involved in a scandal following his performances due to accusations of infidelity.
If you have the opportunity, do yourself a favor and educate yourself about King Kelly.
7-Saratoga County: Dottie Pepper
Dottie Pepper, a Saratoga Springs native, won 17 LPGA Tour tournaments during her golf career, including two major titles. She won for the first time in 1989 and the last time in 2000. She started her career in broadcasting in 2005 and came back to the mic in 2015 following a brief hiatus.
8-Schenectady County: Billy Connors
Schenectady is the birthplace of Billy Connors (right), who was well-known in the area even before he became a professional. Connors played on the 1954 Schenectady All-Star Team, which produced several MLB players and went on to win the Little League World Series. Connors was a player for the Yankees from 1966 to 1968, but he had a distinguished career as a coach and executive, holding the position of vice president of player personnel for the team from 1996 to 2012.
9-Schoharie County: Jennifer Kaido
With gratitude to the kind people at New York For this selection, see Upstate the_most_famous_athlete_from_each_of_new_yorks_62_counties.html. Although Kaido (on the left) went to high school in Boonville, New York, she was officially born in Arizona. Rower Kaido is well-known for her 2008 Beijing Olympics performance. In the quadruple sculls, she finished fifth.
10-Warren County: Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette, a Glens Falls native, was the most entertaining player to watch in college basketball. In middle school, kids were chanting “Jimmer” instead of “Kobe” after they made a three-pointer during pick-up basketball. As a senior at BYU, he led all college basketball players in scoring. In the 2011 draft, the Bucks selected him with the 10th overall pick. His NBA career spanned from 2011 to 2019.
11-Washington County: Codie Bascue
Codie Bascue, a Whitehall, New York native, races bobsled at a level of skill that I doubt most people could afford. With his ability to “pilot” the sled, Bascue competed in the two-man and four-man events at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.