The first round's winding down...and so far not too many close calls. Will that change with our final two matchups?
Today we have two Golden Bears who both attained greatness, one with an epic rushing career, the other with a superb baseball performance. One continued the sporting dream. The other went into the real world. Make your picks! The winner takes on Michelle Granger in the second round.
Voting ends at noon PST on Friday. Examine the case for either side after the jump and vote in the poll!
I'll let BearStage talk about Igber.
Joe Igber. My all-time favorite Cal running back. Often overlooked, his name litters the pages of Cal’s record books.
- His 3,124 career rushing yards are the third most in Cal history. Only Russell White and Marshawn Lynch can claim more.
-His 2002 rushing total of 1,130 yards was the 3rd highest single-season total in Cal history (at that time)
His greatest performance: a 226-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 2002 Big Game, which Cal won 30-7. Not only did he set the record for most rushing yards in the history of the Big Game (which still stands), he helped bring the Axe back to its rightful home after a painful 7-year drought.
These accomplishments alone should be enough to garner him consideration. And while these are all great reasons to appreciate Joe Igber, I’m most impressed with him because his career typified what we strive for Cal to be. You see, Igber somehow managed to balance the workload of a star Pac-10 running back with the workload of becoming a civil engineer.
Now, most people can barely handle one of those challenges. We all know how time consuming and stress inducing engineering majors are – between physics/math/engineering courses, labs, projects, research (if you’re ambitious) – it’s more than enough for most of us. UC Berkeley is one of the best (and toughest) places in the world to study engineering. People come from all over the world to study engineering at Cal, and that reputation is well-deserved, and it was the main reason that Joe Igber decided to come to Cal in the first place.
Also, we’ve all heard about how much time, sacrifice, dedication it takes to play Pac-10 football, let alone be a starter – the practice, the training, and weight rooms, the film, the travel. Add to the that the pressure of being the star running back, and you’ve got yourself a full plate that very few have the patience and focus to handle.
On top of even that – to perform at the level that Joe Igber did, to set records and do things on the field no Golden Bear has ever done, while handling that academic workload – it’s just ridiculous.
Joe Igber is that rare combination, the very best of both of Cal’s worlds – an amazing athlete and an impressive scholar. As such, I nominate him for the CGB Hall of Fame.
(Bonus: follow this link for incredible pictures of Joe Igber from Life magazine)
oskisunbear lays out the case for Ross.
All-Pac 10 2007-2008, awesome fastball, already looking to be a very promising Oakland Athletic!
TwistNHook and carp combined forces to profile Ross for our SBN partner down the Bay, Athletics Nation (really good, check it out As and Cal fans!). Here are the highlights of his time as a Bear.
Ross had a fantastic sophomore campaign, which featured 120 K’s in 115 IP with a 2.49 ERA. Ross earned first team All-Pac 10 honors, as well as a Rawlings Gold Glove for his defensive prowess while on the bump. Perhaps his greatest game came on March 22, 2007, when he fanned 16 (16!) in a game against Oral Roberts:
BERKELEY, CALIF. - Despite a phenomenal pitching performance from sophomore right-hander Tyson Ross, in which he had a career-high 16 strikeouts and yielded just three hits in 7.0 innings, the Cal baseball team dropped a 2-1 decision to Oral Roberts Thursday at Evans Diamond. The Golden Bears lost their eighth one-run game of the year to fall to 12-13. The Golden Eagles improved to 11-9.
Here is his line from that day:
California IP H R ER BB SO AB BF
Ross, Tyson......... 7.0 3 2 2 1 16 25 27
In the summer of 2007, Ross was sensational for Team USA, finishing 4-1 with a 0.82 ERA, and striking out 39 batters with only seven walks in 43.2 innings.