Cincinnati, OH

5 of the Most Famous Athletes From Cincinnati, Ohio

James Logie
Photo by Rafik Wahba on Unsplash

Many famous people have called Cincinnati home at one point or another. There are plenty of celebrities, musicians, and artists that have lived here at some point.

But what about those from the sporting world? This will be a quick look at just a handful of the athletes that have lived in Cincinnati.

Some of these you may know, and some you may not know are from Cincinnati, but they've made important contributions to their particular sport.

It's impossible to cover everyone, and some may be unintentionally missed, but this will be a look at some of the city's best athletes in no particular order.

Ken Griffy Jr.

One of the greatest baseball players ever was born in PA but moved to Cincinnati at a young age when his father, Ken Griffey Sr., played for the Reds.

Griffey spent most of his childhood around ballparks and the professional players, and this rubbed off on him. He attended Archbishop Moeller High School and became U.S. baseball player of the year in 1987.

Griffey was also a standout wide receiver and was offered multiple scholarships to play football. He was then chosen number one in the 1987 draft by the Seattle Mariners. His first Major League game would be on June 16th of that year.

Griffy spent ten years with Seattle and became one of the most popular players in the sport. He led the AL in home runs for four seasons and was MVP in 1997.

His career would then bring him full circle back to Cincinnati where he played for the Reds from 2000 to 2008.

Barry Larkin

There will be a bit of a baseball theme here--and a connection to Griffey--as Barry Larkin also went to the same high school as him. Larkin was born in Cincinnati in 1964.

Like Griffy, Larkin was also offered football scholarships and went to the University of Michigan. After his freshman season, he decided to switch to baseball. He became a two-time All-American.

He also led the Wolverines to two consecutive College World Series.

Larkin would be drafted by the Red where he would play his entire Hall of Fame career. There are so many achievements by Larkin that it's hard to mention them all. Here is just a sampling:

  • won 9 Silver Slugger awards
  • 1995 National League MVP
  • 12 time MLB All-Star
  • 3 Gold Glove Awards
  • 1990 World Series Champion
  • Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012

Pete Rose

The last baseball entry, but one that can't be ignored. The playing career of Pete Rose was simply outstanding. "Charlie Hustle" was born in Cincinnati on April 14, 1941.

He went to Western Hills High School where he played both football and baseball. In 1960 he joined the double-A team in Lebanon, Ohio.

Rose played multiple positions including shortstop, catcher, and second base. He also hit an astonishing .626.

Rose would then join the Cincinnati Reds in 1963. He was a key member of the "Big Red Machine" years in the 1970s. We could be here all day discussing his achievements but they are some of the most notable in the history of the sport.

Rose won three World Series, an MVP award, three batting titles, Rookie of the Year, and two Gold Gloves. But his most significant stat is that he is the all-time leader in hits with 4,256.

Rose is also the MLB leader in games played with 3,562, singles with 3,215, and at-bats with over 14,000.

Rose Lavelle

Lavelle is a standout professional soccer player that was born in Cincinnati in 1995. She played in several originations growing up before joining the Cincinnati United Premier Soccer Club.

At the young age of 8, it was predicted that she would someday play for the national women's team. She spent her high school career at Mount Notre Dame and eventually received first-team all-state honors.

Lavelle was also awarded the greater Cincinnati Sports Women of the Year in 2013. Lavalle then went to play for the Wisconsin Badgers. She was Big-Ten Freshman of the Year and was named first-team All-American in 2015.

Lavelle has played professionally with teams like the Boston Breakers, and Washington Spirit. She made her internal debut in 2017 and played 6 games at the 2019 World Cup where she was given the Bronze Ball award for standout player.

In 2019, Lavelle was also recognized as the 6th best player in the world by FIFA.

Roger Staubach

One of the best quarterbacks of all time was born in Cincinnati on February 5th, 1942. Staubach has gone by several nicknames over the course of his illustrious career including "Captain America," "Captain Comeback," and "Roger Dodger."

Staubach grew up in the Silverton area and would go on to enter the U.S. Naval Academy. He played on the football team and became a standout player. Staubach would win the Heisman Trophy in 1963.

He would serve in the U.S. Navy before turning pro. Despite his great college career, Staubach was a later-round draft pick being chosen by the Dallas Cowboys in the tenth round.

Staubach started with the Cowboys in 1969 and would play his entire 11-season career with the team. Over his career, he would lead the Cowboys to the Super Bowl an impressive four different times.

In Super Bowl VI, he was named MVP. This made him only the fourth player ever to win both the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP.

Staubach made the Pro Bowl six times and when he retired, he finished with the highest career passer rating in league history with 83.4.

Staubach is one of the all-time great NFLers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, there are many other players who deserve to be on this list, but this is just to give you a quick snapshot of some of the incredible athletes that have called Cincinnati home.

You may have your favorites, but this list helps to show the impact that these individuals had on their particular sport, and the sporting legacy they have left behind.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.


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