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Saturday, January 15, 2011
Marcelo Balboa, Will Clark highlight All-Explorer


Saturday marks the 517th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' departure from modern-day Haiti back to Spain after his successful voyage to the New World, but you don't have to go anywhere or endure any bad weather to check out the All-Explorer Team.

Marcelo Balboa: The defender from California helped the United States discover the planet's passion for the World Cup, serving as a key member of the U.S. national team that advanced to the Round of 16 in 1994 as the host country. Vasco Nunez de Balboa is credited with discovering the Pacific Ocean.

Jean-Yves Cartier: The hockey defenseman shares his last name with French explorer Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for his homeland in 1535. But just as there has never been a Major League Baseball player named Columbus, there has never been a Cartier in the NHL. Jean-Yves Cartier played 15 games for the 1972-73 Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association but didn't stick around long enough for the WHA-NHL merger in 1979.

Will Clark: Explorer William Clark was appointed governor of Missouri by President Madison in 1813. When first baseman William Nutschler Clark took up residence in the state as a St. Louis Cardinal in 2000, direct popular election was the means of determining the chief executive. Clark could have won by acclamation after driving in 20 runs in September of that year and hitting .412 in two postseason series. Clark spent only that postseason in St. Louis  he is better known for his tenure with San Francisco (1986-93).

Henry Hudson: The judge who sentenced Michael Vick to Leavenworth is the most famous Henry Hudson in recent sports history. His predecessor was an Englishman who worked for the Dutch on a voyage designed to find a passage to the East Indies. That Henry Hudson discovered New York State and was really bummed about it. In September 1609, he was near modern-day Albany when he realized the waterway he was traveling wasn't going to lead him directly to the East Indies. Dejected, he bolted for London without seeing the other end of the river that would bear his name.

Richie Lewis: The journeyman pitcher didn't claim half a giant land mass for his country, but he did see a good chunk of North America. In a 15-year career, Lewis played for 18 pro teams, appearing in games in at least 20 U.S states, one Mexican state and three Canadian provinces. Between them, Richie Lewis and Meriwether Lewis -- of Lewis and Clark fame -- explored at least 29 of the 50 states in this country.