The new class includes 14 individuals and one classic rivalry.
Hundreds of people turned out last week for the 14th annual Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which took place at the Hilton on City Line Avenue.
The 2017 class of inductees consisted of the following 14 individuals and one classic rivalry: Andrea Kremer, Army/Navy football game, Bob Boone, Bob Johnson, Donald Hunt, Granny Hamner, Irene Guest, “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien, John B. Kelly Jr., Mike Bantom, Randall Cunningham, Ray “Chink” Scott, Rene Portland, Ron Jaworski and Tim Kerr.
Master of ceremonies Pat Williams, a Hall of Famer who was the 76ers general manager when they won the NBA title in 1983, entertained the crowd with his jokes and much-anticipated annual rhyming poem about the inductees.
The Phillie Phanatic, Swoop and the Eagles cheerleaders mingled with guests.
The crowd included former Hall of Fame inductees Theresa Grentz, Speedy Morris, Mike Quick, Dan Baker, Bill Bergey, Brian Propp, Dick “Hoops” Weiss, Ray Didinger and Lou Nolan.
In 2013, the Hall of Fame opened a gallery at Spike’s, a trophy and awards shop at 2701 Grant Ave. The gallery is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon or by appointment.
Current displays feature Bergey, Villanova track and field runner and coach Jumbo Elliott, the Palestra and a timeline of local Olympic gold medalists.
For more information, go to phillyhall.org or the Hall’s pages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Here is some information on each of the inductees.
• Andrea Kremer: Attended Friends Select and Penn, and is a correspondent for NFL Network and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. She previously worked for NFL Films, ESPN and NBC. She covered swimmer Michael Phelps when he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics and was the sideline reporter for Super Bowl XLIII.
• Army/Navy football game: The game received a special enshrinement, joining the previously inducted Palestra and Penn Relays.
• Bob Boone: Was a catcher for the Phillies from 1972–81. He made three All-Star games, won two Gold Gloves and was a member of the 1980 team that won the World Series.
• Bob Johnson: Was an outfielder for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1933–42. He batted over .300 four times and played in five All-Star games.
• Donald Hunt: A 1977 Lincoln University graduate, he has been a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Tribune. He led the campaign to get Wilt Chamberlain’s image on a postage stamp.
• Granny Hamner: Played shortstop and second base for the Phillies from 1944–59, living in the Northeast. He played in three All-Star games and was a member of the Whiz Kids team that made the 1950 World Series.
• Irene Guest: A member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, she swam for the Philadelphia Meadowbrook Club. She won an Olympic silver medal in 1920 in the 100-meter freestyle. She was on the 4×100 freestyle relay that set the world record in the 1920 Olympics.
• “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien: Won the light-heavyweight boxing championship in 1905, and is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
• John B. Kelly Jr.: Grew up on Henry Avenue in East Falls, attended Penn Charter and the University of Pennsylvania, and rowed in the 1948, ’52, ’56 and ’60 Olympics, winning a bronze medal in single sculls in ’56. Served on City Council from 1968–79. Was elected as president of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1985, but died three weeks later of a heart attack while jogging at 18th and Callowhill streets. His sister was Princess Grace of Monaco. His daughter, Susan vonMedicus, spoke on his behalf.
• Mike Bantom: Played basketball at Roman Catholic for Speedy Morris and St. Joseph’s University for Jack McKinney. A member of the 1972 Olympic team that lost a controversial final to the Soviet Union. Was selected with the eighth pick of the 1973 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Played until 1982 for the Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, New York Nets, Indiana Pacers and 76ers, then played in Italy until 1989. Has been a longtime NBA executive.
• Randall Cunningham: Played quarterback for the Eagles from 1985–95, appearing in three Pro Bowl games and being named NFL Player of the Year twice. Also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. Former Eagles running back Major Everett accepted for Cunningham, now a pastor in Las Vegas.
• Ray “Chink” Scott: Played basketball at West Philadelphia High and the University of Portland. Played in the ABA for the Virginia Squires and the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and Baltimore Bullets. He was head coach of the Pistons from 1972–76 and of Eastern Michigan from 1976–79.
• Rene Portland: Played basketball at Villa Maria and Immaculata, playing on national championship teams from 1972–74. Was head coach of St. Joseph’s, Colorado and Penn State, compiling a record of 693–265. She led Penn State to the 2000 Final Four, held in Philadelphia.
• Ron Jaworski: Played quarterback for the Eagles from 1977–86, and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1980. Led the Eagles to Super Bowl XV. Also played for the Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. Owns the Philadelphia Soul, who have won back-to-back Arena Football League titles.
• Tim Kerr: Played right wing for the Flyers from 1980–91. Later played for the Hartford Whalers and New York Rangers. Was in three All-Star games. Scored 50 or more goals in four consecutive seasons and finished with 363 goals for the Flyers and 370 goals overall. Played in the 1985 and ’87 Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers. Kerr was away on business and provided a pre-recorded video speech.
Steve Chaloult represented Army football, as Navy was playing at Temple on Nov. 2, the night of the ceremony. A Maine native who has lived in Washington Township, New Jersey the last decade, he played in Army/Navy games from 1988–91. A guard, he played in three games in Philadelphia and one at the Meadowlands. His Black Knights won two of the four games.
“I love the game here in Philly,” he said. “It shouldn’t be anywhere else.”
Boone is now assistant general manager for the Washington Nationals, but said, “I’ve always got Philly in my heart.” He credited owner Ruly Carpenter, manager Danny Ozark and the front office’s Paul Owens, Dave Montgomery and Bill Giles with building the Phillies through the 1970s. He’ll never forget the parade after the 1980 World Series title.
“The sea of people was incredible,” he said.
Jaworski recognized former teammates Bergey, Everett, Quick, Harold Carmichael and Paul McFadden and thanked Philadelphia sports fans.
“God bless Philadelphia,” he said.
Williams ended the night by urging everyone to stand for a rendition of God Bless America. ••