Houston's most influential sports figures of the past 50 years – Chron.com
Justin Verlander
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander came over at the end of the 2017 season to help deliver the first World Series title to Houston.
The 1970 NCAA champion exemplified what Dave Williams’ storied UH golf program brought to the table back in the day. He then went on to win 15 PGA Tour events, including the 1978 PGA Championship. He also forced a playoff in the 1975 U.S. Open before losing to Lou Graham.
“Wondrous Warren,” as he was known at San Antonio’s Breckenridge High School, had 73 scholarship offers but chose to play for Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston, becoming the first African-American athlete at UH and the first at a major college program in Texas. A two-time All-American, he caught a 99-yard touchdown pass in the first game played on artificial turf in the Astrodome and later won a Super Bowl ring with the Kansas City Chiefs.
A.J. Hinch 
Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch snagged a well-deserved contract extension mid-season 2018 which will keep him at the helm at Minute Maid Park for some time to come. He's already a Houston hero for his World Series title and his calm and intense style of managing.
Houston has a rich sports history, with no lack of memorable and colorful characters over the years.
From the Oilers to the Astros to the Rockets to the Texans and the amateur sports scene, a lot has transpired in the Bayou City over the past half-century.
RELATED: The 2016 Houston 10, the city's most influential sports figures
While Chronicle veteran Dale Robertson's sports-writing career in Houston doesn't quite span 50 years, at one time or another he has written about everybody who's had a notable impact on the local sports scene.
Click through the gallery above for Robertson's 36 most important, relevant and memorable sports figures to grace us with their presence over the past half-century.
Dale Robertson retired from the Houston Chronicle sports staff in February 2019 after having spent 46-plus years as a sports writer at a major daily newspaper in Texas. He still serves as the Chronicle's wine columnist while writing occasionally about health issues and travel destinations.

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