D.C. Sports Hall of Fame inducting new members at Sunday’s Nats-Reds game

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PRESS RELEASE: 2013 DC Sports Hall of Fame Inductees to be honored before April 28 Nationals-Reds game – nationals.com
This coming Sunday, a number of people are being inducted into the D.C. Hall of Fame, as selected Charlie Brotman and Comcast SportsNet’s Andy Ockershausen. Those to be inducted include:

Elgin Baylor – Former NBA All-Star and Basketball Hall of Famer
Bobby Beathard – Former General Manager, Washington Redskins
Dave Bing – Former NBA All-Star and Basketball Hall of Famer
Maurice “Maus” Collins – Former Head Football Coach, Archbishop Carroll & Gonzaga High Schools
Mike Gartner – Former Player Washington Capitals
Phil Hochberg – Former Stadium Announcer, Washington Senators & Washington Redskins,
*George Michael – Celebrated WRC Sportscaster
*Sam Rice – Former Player, Washington Senators
Bob Wolff – Sports Broadcasting Pioneer
Willie Wood – Former Green Bay Packer and Pro Football Hall of Famer

Of those, several of them Baylor, Bing and Wood are from D.C., but became famous elsewhere which has always been weird to me.

The Senators are well-represented with Hochberg, Rice (already a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, baseballreference.com) and Wolff, who was recently profiled by The Times. Wolff is donating over 1,000 of audio and video from his career to the Library of Congress.

Beathard was the general manager of the Redskins 1978 to 1989
(redskins.com) when they won 2 Super Bowl in 3 tries. A third Super Bowl win came in 1991 with many of his players on the roster. He was also the GM for the San Diego Chargers during their won Super Bowl run. It is surprising he didn’t get in sooner.

Gartner (1979-1989) was one of the stars of the first wave of Capitals playoff teams,. His #11 was retired a few years ago and he is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Michael belongs in the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame as much as any broadcaster for his many years at WRC-TV, but I’d have rather seen Glenn Brenner get in first. Brenner was #1 in D.C. until he died prematurely. Ken Beatrice of SportsCall fame need induction as well.

Overall, the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame is an odd institution with a confusing history. If there is any specific criteria for it, I don’t know it. Ernie Davis, the Syracuse great was drafted by the Redskins, but traded to the Cleveland Browns before dying of leukemia, is in the DCSHOF which is a stretch. I’m not sure I’d put in people primarily famous for their exploits in other cities, though the argument for Baylor, Bing and Wood are probably based on their pre-professional days.

Prior to the Nats arrival at RFK Stadium in 2005, the DCSHOF was the “Ring of Stars” with each inductee having a placard ringing the mezzanine. It helped make RFK distinctive, but they were removed for a ribbon-message board. The fates of the placards are unknown.

John Kelly tried to explain it all in a Post column (Answer Man Goes to Bat for Curious Reader) several years ago and came as close as one could hope with this:

The D.C. Sports Hall of Fame is not a physical space but a mythical one, a way for triumphs to be filtered through the warm glow of nostalgia and enjoyed once again. It also speaks to the continuity of sports, how children who grew up watching ended up playing, coaching or commentating.

Adding to the confusion is that Nationals Park also honors baseball players who made the Hall of Fame as Senators, Grays and even Montreal Expos. Three statues of Frank Howard, Walter Johnson and Josh Gibson are also in front of the centerfield entrance. Also, the Capitals and Wizards honor several players with retired numbers (not all of whom are in the DCSHOF) and the Redskins have their own Ring of Fame.

I’d love to see something more formalized with input from all the area franchises and some specific criteria for induction. Also, I’d love to see a Web site with profiles of everybody in it.

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