ST. LOUIS — For the last quarter of a century, on Christmas night 5 On Your Side Sports Director Frank Cusumano has unveiled his list of the ten most intriguing sports figures in the region for the year.
10: Pat Maroon
When a kid from South County scores one of the biggest goals in Blues history, he's making the list. No questions asked.
9: Mike Shildt
Never played a lick in the big leagues, but voted the best manager in the National League. Players want to play for this man.
8: Lovie Smith
A funny thing happened to Lovie on his way to getting fired. He didn't. Instead he kind of resurrected the Illinois football program. Unpack your bags, coach.
7: Travis Ford
23 wins, an NCAA tournament appearance and wonderful local recruiting. SLU has themselves a ball coach.
6: Carolyn Kindle Betz
If her family doesn't get involved, there is no MLS in St. Louis. The league's only female owner, she looks to be perfect for the job.
5: Ryan O'Reilly
He won the Conn Smythe and the Cup. He changed the culture with his work ethic. Thanks for coming, Ryan.
4: Laila Anderson
The mark of greatness is to be known for your first name. But she's more about courage and inspiration. Don't go changing, girl.
3: Jack Flaherty
Of all the people in the big leagues who pitched after the all-star break, he did it better. Better than all of them. Better than almost anyone in history. And he's so young and for the time being, affordable.
2: Craig Berube
In an organization who has employed some of the best coaches in the annals of the sport, it was this man who delivered the Cup. He will never be forgotten.
1: Jordan Binnington
The Kurt Warner of 2019. Fourth on the depth chart, a little older than most rookies, succinct with his words, sensational with his stick and scintillating on the way to the Cup.