Friday, August 25, 2017

Gene Conley--2 Sport Athlete With Northwest Ties

Gene Conley, a professional NBA player and pitcher with Washington ties, died last month.  Conley,  was part of a 4 man pitching rotation for the Milwaukee Braves that included the legendary Warren Spahn, won the 1957 World Series, with sluggers like Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. He was the tallest man to ever pitch in the majors at the time.  He was also part of the Boston Celtics team that won three consecutive world NBA championships beginning in 1959.  Although a little more than a handful of players have two major league sports, Conley is one of  only two to win a championship in both.  The other player is Otto Graham.
According to Walla Walla Union Bulletin sportswriter Jim Buchan, Conley grew up in Richland Washington after his family relocated from Oklahoma.  He pitched and played basketball for the Washington State Cougars.  He pitched for the semi pro Walla Walla Bears in 1950.  His son lives in Walla Walla. 

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