Who Was the Most Popular Michigan State Athlete in Your Lifetime?
These days, the topic of the day is the MSU football team. So, I thought I would change it up a bit. Today I would like to throw a question at you: who is the most popular MSU athlete ever in your lifetime?
There is such a great group of athletes in MSU Folklore. I want people really to put thought into this. I could go into many directions on this topic. So, let me narrow this down to one individual.
My choice would be the late Brad Van Pelt from Owosso, Michigan. Brad was a multi-sport athlete at MSU. Not only was he an All-American at MSU in football, but he played baseball and basketball as well. Brad died of an apparent heart attack in 2009. He became the first defensive back ever to win the Maxwell Award as the county’s top collegiate player. Van Pelt was inducted College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He earned seven varsity letters at MSU in football, baseball and hoop.
Brad Van Pelt also became a friend of mine years ago. We met through his close friend and mine Dr. John Shinsky. All three of us did the MSU football tailgate shows years ago. Brad was a second-round draft pick of the New York Football Giants, too, where he ended up the Giants player of the 1970s. He was a great all-around athlete and maybe the best ever at MSU. He was drafted nine times in MLB supplemental drafts.
There are hundreds of choices, but the question I want you to think about is who is your favorite MSU athlete? Brad Van Pelt was not only a great professional athlete he was a solid cat and a friend. He is missed and he’s my choice for the most popular.