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Sports in Kentucky

The debate over halls of fame


 

 

Wish I had $1 for every time the question has come: “Why isn’t (fill in blank) in the Hall of Fame?”

Kentucky has two statewide halls and several regional and community ones.

The KHSAA Hall is in Lexington. The Athletics Hall of Fame is in Louisville.

Fans, the frustrated ones, ask often …

Who can nominate a candidate and how? How does the selection process work?

Who serves on selection committees? How are they chosen? Is the committee gender and ethnically balanced? Who appoints chairperson, members? How? Term length?

Annually the halls of fame issue a press release of inductees to some, not all, media. Neither reports its selection committee members or selection process.

Having set the table, and following the obvious question: “Why are some and not all Mr. & Miss Basketball winners in and others out?” Here’s the other: “I can’t believe (fill in the blank) is not in the hall of fame.”

Example: Raymond ‘Corky’ Withrow.

Now 71, Withrow has an athletic résumé as sterling as a freshly minted Euro. Under coach Delmas Gish at Central City, he helped his team to three State Tournaments. From 1952- 56 he scored 3,136 points. And, he is among the KHSAA-sponsored Sweet 16’s Fabulous 50.

Fans (and committees) may not know Withrow’s name is also in The Baseball Encyclopedia. He was a 6-3, 197-pound outfielder drafted by the Milwaukee Braves in 1956.

Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, he worked his way to the Major Leagues in 1963 where he teamed with Red Schoendienst, Curt Flood and others under manager Johnny Keane. He faced the likes of Sandy Koufax in a career that reminds us of Archie “Moonlight” Graham in “Field of Dreams.”

Withrow played in six games, had nine at-bats, no hits, and one RBI.

He remembers fondly the Cardinal who welcomed him to the Big Leagues early on – Stan Musial.

Withrow made it to The Show.

Kentucky halls of fame selectors should be embarrassed. But they can do the right thing and put 71-year-old Raymond ‘Corky’ Withrow’s name where it belongs.

This year.

Gay, Perry Wave Flag

Speaking of halls of fame, Tyson Gay of Lexington and Kenny Perry of Franklin will be in one day. For now, however, Gay is on the U.S. track team for the Olympic Games in Beijing. Perry is all but certain to wear red, white and blue for the U.S. in the Ryders Cup championship at Valhalla in September.

Wind assisted or not, Gay’s 9.68 in the 100 meters last weekend, is mind boggling. A favorite for a gold medal, he gives Kentuckians added interest in the Olympics.

Perry, almost a certain pick for the Ryder Cup team, should ease the disappointment of no Tiger Woods and certainly will heighten interest of Kentuckians. That he’s a pleasant sort who’s thrilled to represent U.S.A. adds to media and fan interest.

Olympic Double?

If sports news in Kentucky can get any better this week than the national success of Tyson Gay and Kenny Perry, then here’s a vote for Tayshaun Prince.

The former University of Kentucky basketball All-American is going to Beijing also.

Best case scenario: Gay earns gold in the 100 (and maybe 200); Prince and the U.S. basketball team win gold medals. Would be an interesting double. Accounts from both what it was like to represent U.S.A. and be number one in a communist country.

Didn’t See This One

In the NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Andre Woodson. A week later clipboard carrying backup to Eli Manning, Jared Lorenzen said he would “… help Andre any way I can.”

He did. The Giants dumped Lorenzen last week, and kept Woodson.

Lists …

Things to like about the NBA.

1. Game seven of last series and the June draft.

2. Police blotter watch during the off-season.

3. David Stern spin and Charles Barkley hot air.

4. ESPN specials on Larry Bird and Earvin Johnson (writing a book together due out next year), and the Bill Russell golden era.

5. Reality. A columnist wrote for ESPN: “I’ve been at dice games, at craps tables, in basements, in alleys, at golf outings, as part of conversations. I’ve seen players get so over their heads in ‘liability’ from gambling that their careers have been sacrificed because they can no longer concentrate on the game because they can’t get their minds away from the money they owe and money they’re chasing.”

6. Nearest NBA franchise to Kentucky two hours away minimum.

‘Add To’ Dept.

A column last month on Howard Crittenden’s going home to Cuba included mention of a book about the 1952 state basketball champions. When Cuba Conquered Kentucky is an inspirational work authored by Marianne Walker of Henderson and is available at Amazon.com.

Parting Shot

Newsweek’s Conventional Wisdom: A down arrow for Los Angeles shooter Kobe Bryant whose Lakers lost to the Celtics in the NBA finals. “(Kobe) fumed in game 1, choked in 4, vanished in 6. Guess that settles that Kobe-Jordan debate.”

And so it goes.

If you have a question or point of view to share, write Bob Watkins at SprtsinKy@aol.com.

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