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Wednesday, January 16

Brookdale Newsroom

Who was the greatest athlete ever in Middletown?

from the Asbury Park Press


When we asked readers to provide input on who they thought should be included in a list of the best athletes ever from Middletown, the response was overwhelming.

So it was no surprise that when we asked them to vote for who they thought was the greatest athlete ever to emerge from Middletown as part of the wrap up to the first installment of the Greatest Jersey Shore Sports Legends Series, fans were more than up to the task.

In all, nearly 30,000 votes were cast over the past week.

Drum roll, please. And the winner is …

Getting 36.18 percent of the votes was John “The Count’’ Montefusco, who was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1975, threw a no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants a year later, and went 90-83 in a 13-year career, with a 3.54 ERA and 1,081 strikeouts.

Simply stated, Montefusco, who pitched at Middletown High School, and later at Brookdale Community College, is the most accomplished Major League Baseball player the town has ever produced.

At 25.4 percent was Ted Lauer, a triple-threat tailback on a pair of unbeaten football teams, in 1946 and 1948, during the post-World War II era for Leonardo High School. In the spring, Lauer pitched his teams to NJSIAA Group II titles in 1948 and 1949.

Dawn Marino, a star softball player at Middletown South who went on to set a host of records at Monmouth University, got 22.3 percent of the vote.

While we attempted to limit the number of former players used in the story, the reality is that we could have thrown out 100 Middletown athletes from the past and the names would have been identifiable to many readers.

That’s how deep the talent pool has been over more than a century.

Read the complete story here