We’re Iowa proud!
We may be located in the state that most people mistake for being known for potatoes, but we’re proud to be a local Iowa business.
Since we’re following our dream of creating the best sports lounge in the state, we thought it would be pretty interesting to research some other Iowans that followed their sports dreams. We both, Matt and John, share a love of alcohol and sports. The sports obsession started young and the interest in alcohol started after we turned 21 (obviously!). We decided to combine the two and follow our passions and we built the sports haven we always imagined.
Albeit, our sports dreams involved more alcohol than any good coach would allow, we did pretty well in the sports industry for people who didn’t play quite as much as these famous athletes.
If you don’t already know, Bob Feller was a baseball prodigy who played for 16 games, pitched 3,827 innings, 44 shutouts, and held a win-loss record of 266–162. He played for the Cleveland Indians his entire career, beginning at age 17 after skipping the Minor Leagues and becoming the first to set a record of pitching 24 winning games in one season before the age of 21! He’s often considered the greatest pitcher of our era by both major publications and baseball players to date. He’s from Van Meter, Iowa, earning him the fitting nickname “The Heater From Van Meter.”
Dan Gable is a famous wrestler who believed in a positive attitude despite all odds. He was born in Waterloo, Iowa, where the “Dan Gable Museum” lives — both a museum and hall of fame for amateur wrestling. Over the course of his career, Gable won several NCAA Division 1 championships. His record in college was 117 – 1, his final loss being the final match of his final season in college. Additionally, he competed internationally in a different style (freestyle instead of folkstyle) and eventually went on to win gold at the 1972 Olympic Games when he didn’t lose a single point during all six of his matches.
At the young age of 47, Warner is the only person to be inducted in both the Arena and Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s a former football quarterback who is still considered the best undrafted football player of all time. He was born in Burlington, Iowa and holds a strong position among the top ten of a number of football records. One of those being that he is the only person besides Tom Brady to win the Super Bowl in his first season as a starter.
If you haven’t heard of powerhouse Lori (Lolo) Jones from Des Moines, Iowa, you should. She’s one of the only athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Her track and field career is one of epic redemption. After sweeping the medal board for years, she finished 7th in the 2008 Beijing Olympics after stumbling on a hurdle. However, she didn’t give up and was able to redeem herself later that year by winning gold in the same event at the World Athletics Final. She still holds the American record time for the 60-meter hurdles. Additionally, she competes as the brakewoman for the US bobsled team. She’s won gold in this sport as well as helped bring the national team to the Winter Olympics in 2014.
Also born in Des Moines, Iowa, Natasha Kaiser-Brown is a sprinter in the 400-meter dash. Overall she has an impressive collection of silver medals from championships around the world, including several Olympic Games. She currently coaches track and field at the University of Missouri and was able to hold the national record for both the 100-meter sprint and medley relay until 2018.
Nile Kinnick was a young football star from 1936 until his untimely death at 24 years old fighting in World War II. He was a devoted Scientologist from Adel, Iowa and showed great promise as an athlete from a young age. During his short career, he won the Heisman Trophy and made the All American team among other football accomplishments. 1939 was the peak of his career with a culmination of games that were won largely due to his athletic prowess on the field.
Fun Fact: In his youth, Nile Kinnick played on the Junior Legion baseball team with Bob Feller.
Don’t be fooled by the name, this young woman from Des Moines, Iowa is one of America’s most decorated artistic gymnasts. At 15 years old, she joined the US Senior Team and went on to win the All-Around in four different championships, resulting in one of the best rookie seasons ever recorded in the history of gymnastics. Her accolades are too many to name, including a total of 16 gold and silver medals across several events. She retired from gymnastics at the young age of 20 and is happily married to her husband of three years.
Zach Harris Johnson is a well-known professional golfer who has accumulated 12 victories while on the PGA Tour. He was born in Iowa City and took up golf when he was just 10 years old. He went professional at age 22 and has had a lucrative career with over 15 more wins outside of the PGA Tour with the Nationwide Tour, Masters Tournament, and more.
There you have it! Some of Iowa’s most famous athletes. Now you’re fully prepared to contribute an athletic history of Iowa next time the topic of celebrities from certain states come up. Others may be sharing the obvious answers like Ashton Kutcher, John Wayne, Danai Gurira or Julia Michaels but you’ll be able to make a lasting impression with your new-found sports knowledge.
Looking for a place to show off your new trivia? Matt & John’s Game Time welcomes everyone, especially sports fans. We’ve dedicated our lives to the two things we love best, sports and alcohol. Come on in and teach us something new!