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Best Local Sports Encyclopedia 

Earl Austin Jr.

Earl Austin sounds like Rain Man. Thinks like him, too. These are good attributes when one is trying to carve out a niche in St. Louis' saturated sports-media market. Trying to remember who won that second-round game -- and by what margin -- in the 1986 Suburban North girls' basketball conference tournament? Earl knows. What's more, he's probably the only one who knows. Austin's historical recall is second to none, which is what makes his musings in the St. Louis American a must-read. Austin also provides indispensable color commentary on Saint Louis Billiken broadcasts and forms a scintillating Trivial Pursuit duo with Frank Cusumano when Coos invites the longtime River City resident (and nephew of NBA great Wes Unseld) to join him for a cup of on-air coffee. He is a one-man, walking Sports Historical Society, and his brain should be carboned and indexed by sport and school, lest history perish when he does.

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