He was one of the best athletes the country has ever produced, but because he played minor league baseball in Rocky Mount for $2/day, he lost all of his Olympic medals (later reinstated).
Jim Thorpe took the 1912 Olympics by storm, winning easily and often. The king of Sweden gave him gold medals and called him the world’s greatest athlete.
When he returned home, a newspaper story came out that in 1909 he had played some for the Rocky Mount Railroaders. He had used his real name while others used aliases. He said he just hadn’t known any better.