Good Luck to The Houston Sports Hall of Fame

Congratulations to the Houston Sports Association for finally being the force for getting the idea of a Houston Sports Hall of Fame towed from its long double park on the street of dreams for some serious rumbling down the avenue of a rare opportunity. Allow me to fill in the particulars for a clear, concise description of what is now changed in our town as a result of the splendidly conducted first recognition banquet of honor for the three great number 34s in our three major professional sports last week on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

The names Ryan, Olajuwon, and Campbell speak loudly for themselves to the people of Houston for their contributions to both the positive memory of fans and the history they each carved into the record for their three local teams in the major professional sports. In baseball, Houston will always remember local boy Nolan Ryan for his strikeout pitching tenacity, his 5th career no-hitter coming as an Astro, and his also hard fought major contributions to the near-pennant runs of 1980 and 1986. In basketball, championship-starved Houstonians will never forget that Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets to the city’s first two major sport titles in 1993-94 and 1994-95. In football, memory leaps immediately to the fall of 1978 when mighty Earl Campbell ran all over and around the Miami Dolphins as though he were knocking out all the obstacles to Houston Oiler success in one fell Astrodome swoop.

All three of these mega-stars coincidentally wore #34 and they represented the three major professional sports. And they were each drivers of two cars apiece that had been double-parked back on the Houston Street of Sporting Dreams. Each man was vividly recognizable and memorable. Each man was importantly historical to the story of Houston sports.

Whoever picked the # 34 trio to start the banquets is deserving of the genius button Рfor this time, at least. There are a number of others Рand many to nearly all of these folks were also there for the first banquet as attendees who also will clearly qualify as both memorable and historical  when selected for honor/induction at future banquets Рthe presumed forum for this sort of honoring.

The general points here are multiple:

1) There’s a healthy pool of candidates from all sports who are both very known and historically important to their games in Houston.

2) There will always be disagreement as to who belongs – and who comes next.

3) If this effort flies, the day will come when all the memorable people will be current players – and all of the historical candidates who are already there are either deceased or hidden away in the background of things as coaches, owners, writers, or sports activists.

4) As it also grows from this experience over time, the selection group here needs to grow in its perceptions of how easy it may be to overlook forgotten people from the past who were extremely important to the history of their sport in Houston. Former players, owners, administrators, politicians, and community leaders – going back to the 19th century – may be fair game for consideration.

5) On the future Hall of Fame, as Ms. Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority so aptly noted: “You have to change exhibits or people stop coming.” She also suggested that “we could open a small space off the sidewalk, but we will start small and grow into it if we do.” A decent museum eventually needs – at least – a really good multi-tasking curator to get a reasonable job done. Other trained staff would help too, but, like all things, your options are easier to see, if you’ve already got the money for them. Tying the future of the museum to either appropriate commercial interests, like a restaurant and shopping mall – or hotel retail display business might be good for downtown.

6) On the selection methodology, vis-a-vis the banquet model, and based upon personal experience with past Texas Baseball Hall of Fame banquets in Houston, I would say that HSA’s start with 3 honorees was the way to go, but I would expand it to 4 and hold it there. Once you go beyond 4 inductees, a program is up against a sharp decline in attention spans due to food. drink and the time of night. Keep three for the 3 major sports and add one as your utility selection.

7) The utility selection would cover individual sports, women, minor team sports, deceased inductees, and the rare occasional time you need more than one inductee from one of the major sports.

8) The following model is just that – a model for the flexibility and attention saving power you need to establish the banquet as something that fans will want to do annually. As you will see in the model below, we used the utility spot in 2019 to make sure that Biggio and Bagwell went into the HSA-SPORTS HOF on the same ticket.

9) One More time. – Never do more than 4 inductees a banquet.

Here’s the demo model. It’s not offered to argue the order or presence of anyone on the projected table. It’s just offered as a model.

All we know for sure is that all these people are both memorable and historical. And that a genuine HOF cannot dismiss a worthy candidate since they are either deceased or no longer memorable.

YEAR BASEBALL BASKETBALL FOOTBALL OTHER
2018 Nolan Ryan Hakeem Olajuwon Earl Campbell none
2019 Craig Biggio Elvin Hayes Andre Johnson Jeff Bagwell
2020 Larry Dierker Clyde Drexler Andre Ware George Foreman
2021 Bob Watson Yao Ming Elvin Bethea A.J. Foyt
2022 Jimmy Wynn James Harden Dan Pastorini Carl Lewis
2023 Roger Clemens Tracy McGrady Warren Moon Cynthia Cooper
2024 A.J. Hinch Rudy Tomjanovich J.J. Watt Simone Biles

Here at The Pecan Park Eagle, it’s our hope that Houston puts together the best local Sports Hall of Fame in the world.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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6 Responses to “Good Luck to The Houston Sports Hall of Fame”

  1. Greg Lucas Says:

    First glance: Bagwell is going to have to wait for the Houston Hall longer than he did for Cooperstown!

  2. Greg Lucas Says:

    Sorry, didn’t notice the “other” category. Jeff is covered.

  3. Anthony Cavender Says:

    Thank you, Bill. I agree that the Houston HOF should recognize contributions of amateur and professional athletes, coaches, owners and other officials who have made their mark over
    many years.. There are sufficient records and historical accounts that could support their inclusion. A permanent facility located near the major sports venue would be ideal for everyone, and should be very popular on a year-round basis. I don’t believe that any other Texas city is doing this.

  4. Mark W Says:

    Perhaps the facility could be housed in the freshly repurposed Astrodome.

  5. Fred Soland Says:

    A few other notables….

    Gordie Howe
    Bill Yeoman
    Guy Lewis
    Bum Phillips
    Kenny Houston
    Sheryl Swoops
    Tina Thompson
    Calvin Murphy
    Carol Mann
    Fred Couples
    Carl Lewis

  6. Bob Dorrill Says:

    Two names that merit serious consideration are Tal Smith and Judge Hofheinz

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