Two Remarkable Athletic Stars From Texarkana

In Collaboration with TauroSports


There is a lot to do in Texarkana. In the summer months, the Holiday Springs Water Park is hit. If you are more of an outdoorsy type, the hanging out at Spring Lake Park or hitting the Bingle Lake trail. But perhaps the most iconic thing to do in Texarkana—other than visit the Ace of Clubs House— is play sports. Perhaps this is why the small border town has bred so many pro athletes over the years.

Let’s look at a few of the most famous in history and see who is still current.

Michael Wacha | Famous and Current

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha – 2013 NLDS Game 4, Cardinals at Pirates (Creative Commons 2.0 by Colleen in the Burgh)

Michael Wacha has been in the Big Show since 2013. The Cardinals took him in the 2012 draft and then, a true baseball prodigy, he spent just one season in the minors before getting called up in 2013. He spent the next seven seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Though after 7 fulls seasons, Wacha left St. Louis and he was picked up by the New York Mets in 2020 where he continues to be Amazin’ things.

So far, Michael Wacha has a career ERA of 4.00 with a solid WHIP of 1.34. He’s been a strikeout machine, dropping 792 batters on the swing and a miss. This season is short, but he’s still pitching well and the Mets odds to win the National League Pennant are +3300.

Although Michael Wacha was born in Iowa City, Iowa, he moved to Texarkana at the tender age of three, and if that doesn’t make you a native, I don’t know what else does (other than being birthed here). But it wasn’t just baseball where Wacha excelled. He lettered at Pleasant Grove Highschool as a basketball player for three years as a forward. During his senior year, he helped lead the team to the regional finals and was recognized as first-team all-district. In baseball, he pitched his way to the state semi-finals his senior year and the state finals during his junior year. After, that it was off to Texas A&M and that’s all she wrote!

LaMichael James | Famous

As an Oregon Ducks fan, I can say that watching LaMichael James play football in college was a pleasure. Particularly in 2010 when he led the nation with 1,731 yards. Still, despite all these yards, along with 24 rushing TDs plus, 3 passing TDs, and an additional 208 passing yards, he finished 3rd in the Heisman voting. That said, he was going against Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. So, it was a tough crowd.

That said, I do believe it was Chip Kelly’s fault. They could have won that game against an Auburn team —half of which should have been suspended for failing multiple drug tests on multiple occasions—by simply kicking the dang field goal. Sure, that’s not the ‘Oregon offense’ way, but when you are playing a BCS national title game against Auburn with Cam Newton at the helm, you kick the dang ball. And wouldn’t you know it, it came down to Auburn smacking a kick in at the end which got them the victory, proof right there.

LaMike went to Liberty-Eylau High School where he really started to shine his Junior and senior years. He smashed 1600 yards on the ground as a junior plus snagged 33 receptions for an extra 500 through the air. Then in his senior year, he rushed for 2,043 yards and 24 TDs. No wonder Chip and the Ducks head-hunted him!

LaMike was drafted by the SF 49ers in 2012, where he was mostly used as a Kick Returner and situational RB. He played a total of 14 games for the red and gold before getting traded over to the Miami Dolphins where he played just 4 games in two seasons. Although his NFL career only lasted 4 seasons, he’ll go down as one of the greatest college football RBs ever to play the game. It leads us to wonder why exactly he retired so early. Some speculate it was due to an argument with Juice Landry which spurred dissent in Miami.

A Few Other Texarkana Stars:
Ryan Mallet
Nathan Vasher
Billy Simms

Who are your favorite Texarkana Celebrities? Let us know in the comment section below. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

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