MaxPreps is taking a cross-country trip through all 50 states, highlighting the five best prep athletes from each state.
Athletes from baseball, basketball, football and hockey highlight our choices as the best to ever play in Minnesota.
Five most dominant high school athletes in Minnesota historyDave Winfield, St. Paul Central (St. Paul), 1969
A star basketball and baseball player in high school, Winfield played both sports in college at Minnesota and was drafted No. 4 overall in Major League Baseball and was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA and Utah Stars of the ABA. Although he never played college football, he was also drafted by the Vikings. He was a 12-time All-Star and a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.Paul Molitor, Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul), 1974
Molitor was a three-sport star as he helped Cretin-Derham Hall win state Independent Schools championships in soccer, basketball and baseball. He ended his baseball career in the state tournament finals with a grand slam in his final at-bat. He was drafted in the 28th round of the 1974 draft, but he attended University of Minnesota where he earned All-American honors his final two seasons. He was taken No. 3 overall in the 1977 draft by the Brewers. He was a seven-time All-Star and a World Series MVP with Toronto in 1993. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.Kevin McHale, Hibbing, 1976
The second-most famous person from Hibbing (Bob Dylan would be No. 1), McHale was Mr. Basketball his senior year while leading his team to the state finals. He went to Minnesota and earned All-American honors and was drafted No. 3 overall in the 1981 draft by the Boston Celtics. He played 14 years in the NBA, was a seven-time All-Star and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.Bronko Nagurski, Bemidji, 1926
Nagurski may have been one of the first victims of illegal recruiting as he had to sit out his senior year of football when International Falls High School protested his transfer to Bemidji after his junior season. Nagurski did play with the basketball team, however. He went to Minnesota and earned All-American honors on offense and defense while leading the Gophers to an 18-4-2 record in three years. He played eight seasons in the NFL for the Bears and was a four-time first team All-Pro and played on three NFL championship teams. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1963. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.Joe Mauer, Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul), 2001
Mauer has the distinction of being the only players to be named National Player of the Year in two sports. He was USA Today's MVP in both football and baseball. He threw for 3,022 yards as a senior in winning state player of the year honors. He finished his career with 5,528 yards and a state championship in 1999. In baseball, Mauer batted .605 as a senior and he struck out only once in his high school career. He was the first overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Minnesota Twins. Mauer also played basketball, averaged 20 points per game and earned all-state recognition. As a professional baseball player, Mauer has been an all-star six times and was the American League MVP in 2009.Also considered:
Jack Morris, St. Paul, baseball; Kent Hrbek, Bloomington, baseball; Vern Mikkelsen, Askov, basketball; Neil Broten, Roseau, 1978, ice hockey; Bruce Smith, Faribault, football.