Busy! That’s what the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame has been the past few months or so.
No sooner had the group inducted 15 more performers into its Shrine, when it turned around and added another famous St. Louis athlete to its list of enshrinees, bringing to 102 the number of those inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.
First off, the group held it’s Enshrinement dinner before a gathering of some 900 spectators on September 24, at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in downtown St. Louis. The diverse Class of 2014 included celebrities from major league baseball to volleyball to the media to coaches and athletic directors.
“It’s amazing how many players have been associated with St. Louis, either as a player, coach, official or just been on the local sports scene,” said Greg Marecek, the founder and president of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. “We’ve inducted more than 100 into our Shrine, and the list of our sixth class this year is about as strong as the first class we inducted.”
Indeed the list of those inducted in September reads like a who’s who.
Former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman and Major League Hall of Famer Orlando “Cha Cha” Cepeda was on hand as was defensive back Aeneas Williams, who played on the St. Louis Rams’ Super Bowl championship team and who was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Although she made her mark nationally at Stanford University, St. Louis area-born Kristin Folk Kaburakis accepted her plaque for her outstanding career in both basketball and volleyball with the Cardinal. Dan Kelly, perhaps the best-ever hockey announcer who made the National Hockey League come alive with the Blues, was awarded his plaque posthumously with his family accepting the award.
The entire list of awardees:
Orlando Cepeda, Baseball Dan Kelly, Media Connie Price Smith, Track
Al Ferrari, Basketball Gus Otto, Football Harry Statham, Basketball
Gene Gieselmann, Sports Medicine Bob Plager, Hockey Brian Sutter, Hockey
Ed Hightower, Official John Schael, Athletic Director Taylor Twellman, Soccer
Todd Joerling, Softball Aeneas Williams, Football
Kristin (Folkl) Kaburakis, Basketball/Volleyball
No sooner had that dinner ended when Marecek and Co. was planning for the induction of quarterback Kurt Warner, who directed the St. Louis Rams to victory in Super Bow XXXIV, at a luncheon Oct. 13 at the downtown Missouri Athletic Club.
Warner, who played in three Super Bowls (one with the Arizona Cardinals), was ushered into the St. Louis Shrine with the help of two of his former coaches with the Rams – head coach Dick Vermeil and offensive line coach Jim Hanifan. The two coaches joined Warner on the podium for a question and answer session from Marecek and historical consultant Ron Jacober.
But the tireless work of the St. Louis Hall of Fame has already begun work on its next project … the induction of Gary Player, who won the United States Open golf championship in 1965 at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis in a dramatic playoff.
Player is one of only five golfers in history to win the career Grand Slam of golf – the others are golf’s all-time greats Gene Sarazan, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Player’s dramatic victory is credited with catapulting St. Louis into the national spotlight picture for the PGA tour.
Other legends of golf are expected to be on hand when Player is inducted on Monday, April 27.