The Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame recently gathered at their new home to announce the class of 2013. The SCSHOF board recently made the tough decision to move from their spot at SVSU's RyderCenter, to the Castle Museum of Saginaw County after the Museum offered a 1,600 square-foot room; which will house the Hall of fame.
“The Castle Museum welcomed us and asked us if we wanted this 1,600 square-foot room, all we had to do was renovate,” said SCSHOF President Jack Tany. “So we're raising money for renovations, we have $134,500 of our needed $150,000 to finish the renovations; and once we've raised the final 14,500, Spence Brothers Construction and TSSF Architects are ready to get going, and it should only take 3-to-4 months once we've raised the rest of the money; so, we're rounding third and heading for home and we think by our next banquet - which is in November- we should be completely up and running.”
Tany talked about many of the new interactive exhibits the SCSHOF will display at the new facility; hoping to create a nice mix of old-and-new attractions, blending the high tech exhibits with memorabilia which has already been generously donated over the years. “We will fill that room with all of our current memorabilia; we've got uniforms, varsity letters, and tons of records which we will display,” Tany said.
“We've got some other tidbits from the 1890's that people have donated; designing that room is going to be a blast for me personally, and we have some new interactive exhibits as well; last year, Bobby Leddy (from Heritage H.S.) accomplished something which only seven other people in the state of Michigan have ever done: He won the state championship in both the Slalom and the Giant Slalom; which also happened to be a first for Saginaw County. So, we contacted the Leddy family to see if Bobby could donate a pair of Ski's, Boots, or Goggles so we could highlight Bobby at the museum; after talking to Bobby's father, who is an attorney here in Saginaw, he said that skiing is a sport which doesn't get much publicity in the Saginaw area and he asked me if we would like a 'Ski-Simulator.' I asked him what that was, and he explained they would strap a camera to Bobby's helmet while he was skiing down one of the more difficult runs at one of the bigger 'up-north hills' in northern Michigan, like Boyne Mountain and they would then set up a display at the museum where kids could get on a pair of ski's, look at a screen playing the video and pretend that they were Bobby skiing down that run.”
Tany also mentioned that former Saginaw High, University of Michigan, and current Pittsburgh Steelers football star, LaMarr Woodley donated an entire Pittsburgh Steelers uniform from the Helmet down to the Cleats; including Socks, Pants, Shoulder pads, (even a girdle) and a Jersey. Tany added that the museum will set up a display where kids can step into LaMarr's uniform and have their picture taken as an NFL football player.
This past January, the SCSHOF board and the group of over one thousand lifetime members were given this year's list of nominees in five separate categories. The members voted to select three inductees for the interscholastic category; while also choosing one inductee each from the Coaches, Contributors, Recreation, and Team categories respectively. Two additional individual inductees were also chosen for induction this year. A total of eleven inductees were ultimately selected for the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame 2013 class. *There were two teams from the same school chosen in the Team category.
Nominees for the Interscholastic Category are: Doug Fisher (Baseball, Bridgeport H.S. and CMU), Nanette Gibson (Basketball), Tony Jackson (Football/Track, Nouvel H.S.), Jim Jones (Football/Basketball/Track, Arthur Hill H.S.), Elizabeth Mulvaney (Basketball/Track), Cassandra Pack (Basketball), DeRonnie Pitts (Football/Basketball/Baseball, Saginaw H.S.), and Erinn Reed (Basketball/Volleyball, Saginaw H.S.). The 2013 inductees chosen in the Interscholastic Category are: Doug Fisher, DeRonnie Pitts and Jim Jones.
Doug “Barge” Fisher was a standout baseball player at Bridgeport H.S. who went on to become one of the most prolific hitters in Central Michigan University history. Fisher is listed in the top ten in 27 separate season and/or career records. He helped lead CMU to three MAC titles from 1984- through-1986. Fisher was drafted by the Houston Astros in the twenty-ninth round of the 1985 MLB draft; but chose to stay in school. Fisher was drafted a second time, this time by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventeenth round of the 1986 MLB draft. He played summer ball in the notorious Cape Cod league for the Falmouth Commodores; where he was eventually inducted into the Cape Cod league Hall of Fame in 2011. In 1999, Fisher was also inducted into CMU's Hall of Fame.
DeRonnie Pitts was an all-American blue chip recruit football player out of Saginaw H.S. in 1995. Pitts also starred in Basketball, Track, and Baseball for the Trojans (*he also hit the very first home run on Saginaw High's new baseball diamondback in. H.S). Pitts was recruited by Stanford University in Northern California where he excelled as one of the teams top receivers throughout his collegiate career. He remains near the top in many statistical categories in Stanford football history; he is second in receptions (222), his 3,463 all-purpose yards rank him ninth all-time. Pitts is one of only four players in school history to gain 1,000 yards receiving in a season. After graduation, he went on to a career in the CFL, and NFL Europe.
Jim Jones played three sports and collected seven varsity letters at Arthur Hill H.S. He played Basketball and Track, but Football was by far his calling. Jones was the recipient of the inaugural Herb Korf County Track Meetscholarship. He received a football scholarship to Central Michigan University for Football, where he became co-captain his senior year. In 1975 (his senior year) he snagged three interceptions (one for a touchdown), and recovered two fumbles. That same year, he led the MAC in punt return average (11 per return), including one for sixty-one yards. Jones played in CMU's 1974 Pioneer Bowl victory over Louisiana Tech, a 35-10 CMU victory. He also won a division II national title when CMU defeated the Delaware Blue Hens in the 1975 Camellia Bowl 54-14. Jones still ranks in the top ten at CMU in punt returns for a season (23), and punt return avg. (11 per return). Jones was drafted by the New England Patriots, and also went on to play for the Detroit Lions. Jones was elected into the Arthur Hill Letter Winners Hall of Fame in 1989. He became the first head football coach in the history of the Valley Lutheran Football Program. He then went on to replace Jim Eurick as head football coach at his alma mater, Arthur Hill.
“It's very emotional to think I'm going to be in the Hall of Fame with guys like Reggie Jones, Bob Chapman, and some of the other great Arthur Hill athletes I grew up with,” said Jim Jones. “I think there's something like twenty-eight of us now, and I'm pretty proud to be among those guys. It's one of the top honors I've received as an athlete and I think anyone who gets an honor like this has a lot of people who have helped them get to this point; like many of my coaches, I'd like to thank my coaches all the way from little league; Mr. Felsig, Mr. Picard, Ben Donaghy, Don Schiesswohl, George Ihler, and all of my college coaches, I really appreciate everything they've done for me.”
Coaches Category nominees: Alice Buchalter (Gymnastics, Freeland H.S.), Len Callard (Track/Cross Country), and Bob Wallace (Football, Hemlock H.S.). The 2013 inductee in the coaches category is Bob Wallace (Hemlock H.S. football coach from 1964-84.
Bob Wallace built a winning tradition at Hemlock where he compiled a 134-47-2 record over twenty years. He was named the Class B regional coach of the year in 1974, 1975, and 1977, and his teams won more football games in the 1970's than any other football team in Saginaw County. He was elected into the Michigan High School Football Coaches hall of fame in 2007.
Contributor Category nominees: Joe Hart (Media, Saginaw News), Julius Piazza (Boxing Promoter), and Lawrence McKinney (Youth Coach/Volunteer. The 2013 inductee is, Joe Hart (Media).
Joe Hart was born in Saginaw in 1918. After graduating from St. Andrew's H.S. and then Notre Dame University in 1940, he served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He started his fulltime newspaper career in 1944 at the Middletown Times Herald in New York. He returned to Saginaw to help his ailing father with his business. During that time, Hart started writing for the Saginaw News where he went on to become executive sports editor. He retired in 1973, where he turned his passion from sports writing to golf. Hart was one of the founders behind the Saginaw County District GolfChampionship.
Recreation Category nominees: Bill Miller (Football/Softball), Dale Strike (Bowling), and Charlie Wilkinson (football/softball/basketball). The 2013 recreation inductee is Dale Strike (Bowling).
Dale Strike was born to be a bowler; with a last name like “STRIKE” how could he not be a Bowler? Dale earned a bowling scholarship to SVSU after graduating from Eisenhower H.S. in 1981 and has been active in bowling for the last thirty years. Strike has bowled one-hundred '300-games,' and twenty-two '299-games', which ranks him fourth in the nation. In 1995, Strike was the youngest member inducted into the Michigan Major's Bowling Hall of Fame. He then joined the Professional Bowling Association; where he's earned over $175,000 on the PBA tour, and over $25,000 in the Michigan Bowling Association. Strike was inducted into the Michigan Bowling Hall of Fame at the age of 41 in 2004, making him one of the youngest ever to be inducted.
Team Category nominees: The 1966 and 1967 Buena Vista Football Teams, the 1983 and 1985 Freeland Gymnastics Teams, and the 1986 Michigan Lutheran Seminary Football Team. The 2013 inductees in the team category are the 1966 and 1967 Buena Vista Football teams. The 1966 and 1967 B.V. Football teams were named by the associated press to back-to-back State Football championships in 1966 and 1967 in Class B under head coach, Al Quick. The Knights were a perfect 9-0 in 1966 outscoring their opponents 403-37. A year later, the Knights completed another perfect 8-0 season on their way to their second State championship, outscoring their opponents 234-32.
Individual inductees: Warren Martin and Archie Yelle have also been inducted into the 2013 SCSHOF class. Warren Martin graduated from Saginaw H.S. and once won 16 straight games in American Legion baseball. The Chicago White Sox signed Martin in 1941. He went on to carve out a nice career as a minor league baseball player. In 1941 he was 12-10 as a pitcher with a 3.45 ERA for Jonesboro, while striking out 149 batters in 28 games. In the same year, Martin beat MLB Hall of Fame Pitcher, Warren Spahn and struck out 16 in another game pitching for the Chicago Cubs minor-league affiliate, the Saginaw Bears; where posted a record of 7-6. In 1942, Martin was 9-9 with a minor league team in Madison, Wisconsin before serving three years in the service during WWII. In 1946 he was 12-6 with Tacoma. The next season for Des Moines, he was 10-6 with a 4.68 ERA. He rounded out his career in Minot, North Dakota and Rochester, Minnesota before retiring back in his hometown here in Saginaw, where he lives today.
Archie Yelle was born in Saginaw on June 11, 1892 -one of 11 children. Yelle was a three-sport standout at Saginaw High before going on to become a catcher for 27 years -20 as a professional. His career started at the age of eighteen in 1910 for a minor league team in Boyne City and ended up in 1936 with the (quite possibly the best baseball team name I've ever heard) theCalusa Prune Pickers. In between, he spent three years (1917-1919) with the Detroit Tigers. In 1919 Yelle barnstormed throughout California with a team that included Ty Cobb. The Tigers released him after playing a total of 87 Major League games. He became a police officer and ultimately the Police Chief of Woodland, Ca (1935-65) and then a prison guard for the sheriff's department. He died on May 2, 1983 at the age of 90 and is buried in Monument Hill Park in Woodland, California.
The SCSHOF is going to have two phases in the construction of the new 1,600 square-foot room at the Castle Museum. As president, Jack Tany mentioned earlier, the SCSHOF is very close to their goal of $150,000 for the initial renovations.
Chairman of fund-raising for the SCSHOF, Jim Petteys elaborated on what the SCSHOF plans for the future once all of the money is raised. “We actually have two phases; phase one is the total renovation of the room here at the Castle Museum which includes walls, floors, ceiling and everything inside the 1,600 square-foot room here, we need $150,000 to complete phase one, and we are already at $134,500, so we are on track with phase one,” he explains. “Phase two is going to be more on the interactive side,” added Petteys. “We are going to have several electronic Kiosks' where you can come up to that Kiosk, and there will be a touch-screen at that station with several choices at the top of the screen; and say (for instance) you wanted to see someone who was inducted in 2008, you would click on the 2008 heading and it would bring up a list of all the inductees for 2008, then you could look for the person you were trying to find, click on his/her name and it would bring up a whole tutorial of information about that inductee, like their records, accomplishments, and hopefully even some video of that person while they were playing their respective sport.”