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The 20 greatest Hispanic athletes of all time

Today marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, the 30-day nationally observed period that acknowledges the contributions made to this country by the Latino community. In celebration, here are the 20 greatest Hispanic athletes of all time. 

 
1 of 20

Tony Romo

Tony Romo
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Antonio Ramiro Romo, whose paternal grandparents came to the United States from Mexico, is the greatest quarterback in Dallas Cowboys history. The recently retired Romo holds the team records for most passing touchdowns and passing yards. 

 

 

 

 
2 of 20

Oscar De La Hoya

Oscar De La Hoya
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Dubbed the "Golden Boy" because of his dominance in the 1992 Olympics, the East Los Angeles native of Mexican descent is one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport. In his career, which extended through the 90s and the early 2000s, De La Hoya won championship belts across six different weight divisions. He's also one of the biggest draws in pay-per-view history. 

 

 
3 of 20

Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez
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There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Tony Gonzalez, one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the sports, will be a first-ballot inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2019. The Mexican-American is a 14-time Pro Bowler, and he holds the record for most career reception yards and touchdowns by a tight end. Oh and did we mention that he has the more career receptions than anyone not named Jerry Rice?

 

 
4 of 20

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony
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Anthony, who's father is Puerto Rican, is the greatest Latino basketball player of all time. He's a 10-time NBA All-Star, has four Olympic medals (three gold and one bronze), and a NCAA national championship under his belt (he singlehandledly made Syracuse champs in 2003). No one even comes close. 

 

 

 
5 of 20

Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente
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Arguably the greatest beisbolero to ever don the Pittsburgh Pirates uniform, #21 was a 15-time All-star who led his team to two World series (1960 and 1971). He's also one of 31 players to get 3,000 hits. One of the first Latinos enshrined at Cooperstown, Clemente tragically died in 1972 plane crash that was delivering aid to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua. 

 

 
6 of 20

Ted Williams

Ted Williams
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Yep, Teddy Ballgame, the Boston Red Sox slugger and one of baseballs all-time great was Hispanic. The 19-time All-Star and two-time Triple Crown winner was born to a Mexican-American mother. 

 

 
7 of 20

Jim Plunkett

Jim Plunkett
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Born to Mexican-American parents from New Mexico, Jim Plunkett led the Raiders to two Super Bowl wins (XV and XVIII). The quarterback is also the only Latino to ever win the Heisman Trophy, which he received for his efforts at Stanford after the 1970 season. 

 

 
8 of 20

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez
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Despite the controversy and criticism, A-Rod is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. By the time he retired in 2016, the Dominican-American player was fourth all-time in home runs (696) and third in RBIs (2,086).

 

 
9 of 20

Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte
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The Cuban-American is a 12-time Olympic medalist, making him the most successful male Olympic swimmer not named Michael Phelps

 

 
10 of 20

Cain Velasquez

Cain Velasquez
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Velasquez, two-time UFC heavyweight champion, makes no secret of how proud he is of his heritage. The MMA fighter has a "Brown Pride" tattoo on his chest, a nod to his Mexican roots. 

 

 
11 of 20

Tom Fears

Tom Fears
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Born in Mexico to an American father and Mexican mother, Tom Fears was a Hall of Fame split end/wide receiver who played for the Los Angeles Rams, helping the team win an NFL title in 1951. He was also named to the NFL's 1950 All-Decade Team. 

 

 
12 of 20

Dara Torres

Dara Torres
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Born in Los Angeles to Cuban parents, Dara Torres is one of the most successful female Olympians of all time, winning 12 total medals throughout her career. In 2008, she became the oldest swimmer to make a U.S. Olympic team. 

 

 
13 of 20

Rebecca Lobo

Rebecca Lobo

One of the early stars of the WNBA, the Cuban-American basketball player won a national championship with Connecticut (1995), a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. 

 

 
14 of 20

Laurie Hernandez

Laurie Hernandez
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The youngest entrant on this list, Laurie Hernandez won a gold medal as part of the U.S. women's gymnastic's team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and a silver medal at the individual balance beam event. Not only that, Hernandez, who's of Puerto Rican descent, also won the 23rd season of "Dancing with the Stars." Not bad for a 17-year-old. 

 

 
15 of 20

Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan Rodriguez
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Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Pudge Rodriguez is easily one of the greatest catchers in MLB history. The recently inducted Hall of Famer is a 14-time All-Star, 13-time Golden Glove winner, the 1999 AL MVP, and World Series champ (2003 with the Marlins). 

 

 
16 of 20

Joe Kapp

Joe Kapp
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Dubbed "the toughest Chicano" by Sports Illustrated, Joe Kapp is just one of eight NFL quarterbacks to throw seven passing touchdowns in a game. Kapp, considered one of the greatest players in Minnesota Vikings' history, led the team to win its only NFL championship in 1969. 

 

 
17 of 20

Manuel Ortiz

Manuel Ortiz
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Born in Corona, Calif., the Mexican-American boxer was a five-time bantamweight champion. Named as one of the 80 greatest boxers of all time by Ring Magazine, Ortiz was inducted in the boxing hall of fame in 1996. 

 

 
18 of 20

Lefty Gomez

Lefty Gomez
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Vernon Louis "Lefty" Gomez was a starting pitcher than won five World Series with the New York Yankees (1932, 1936-1939). The Hispanic-American (his father was from Spain) also won all six world series games he pitched in. In 1972, he was inducted into Cooperstown by the Veterans Committee. 

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19 of 20

Anthony Munoz

Anthony Munoz
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Michael Anthony Muñoz, who's of Mexican ancestry, is considered to be one of the greatest offensive tackles of all time. The 11-time Pro Bowler and former Cincinnati Bengal was named to the NFL's 1980s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

 

 

 
Fernando Valenzuela
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Though he was born in Mexico, Fernando Valenzuela is one of the most important sports figures to the Hispanic-American community. Valenzuela had one of the most successful rookie years in baseball history (1981), winning the NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards, as well as leading the Dodgers to a World Series win. Valenzuela was instrumental in healing the wound between the Dodgers and the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles caused by the the bulldozing of Chavez Ravine to build Dodger Stadium. 

 

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