New members join Philly Sports Hall of Fame
The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame recently inducted 15 individuals and the 1948–49 NFL-champion Eagles.
The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame last week inducted 15 individuals and the 1948–49 NFL-champion Eagles during a ceremony at the SugarHouse Event Center.
Pride of Philadelphia awards were given to the Eagles, for winning Super Bowl LII, and the Villanova men’s basketball team, for capturing its second NCAA title in three years. Swoop represented the Eagles. Coach Jay Wright spoke for Villanova.
Former 76ers general manager Pat Williams was the master of ceremonies.
The inductees were:
- Allen Iverson, the top overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the 76ers. He was the Rookie of the Year, two-time All-Star Game MVP, led the league in scoring four times and a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. He was the only inductee to receive a standing ovation.
- Benny Bass, a boxer who went 157–29–6 with 72 knockouts. He won the world junior lightweight title in 1929. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.
• Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, a Chichester High School graduate and running back at Widener University. He played 14 seasons in the NFL with the Houston Oilers, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins. He made three Pro Bowl games and was MVP in 1975. He was best known as a punt and kickoff returnee. Johnson wore white shoes to the ceremony and stood on a table to perform his famous funky chicken dance.
• Brian Westbrook, who played football at Villanova and was a third-round pick by the Eagles in the 2002 NFL Draft. He played eight seasons with the Eagles and made two Pro Bowl games. He is the Eagles’ all-time leader in yards from scrimmage.
• Claire Smith, a Neshaminy High School graduate who became a columnist for the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer. She has been an ESPN news editor since 2007. She has won two Pulitzer Prizes.
• Danny Murtaugh, a Chester High School graduate who played four seasons for the Phillies during two stints interrupted by service in World War II. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for 15 seasons, winning the World Series in 1960 and ’71, beating managers Casey Stengel and Earl Weaver, respectively.
• David Berkoff, a graduate of Penn Charter who won the NCAA 100-yard backstroke in record time in 1987 and ’89 while swimming for Harvard. In the Olympics, he won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze. Former coach Dick Shoulberg was at the ceremony to honor him.
• Donald Lippincott, who ran track at Penn from 1911–15. He won the Olympic silver medal in the 200 meters in 1912 and a bronze medal in the 100 meters that same year.
• Gavvy Cravath, who played outfield for the Phillies from 1912–20. He led the National League six times in home runs. He was a member of the 1915 team that won the National League and was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2000.
• Jamie Moyer, a Souderton High School graduate who pitched at St. Joseph’s University. He played 25 seasons in Major League Baseball, including five with the Phillies. He made the 2003 All-Star Game while with the Seattle Mariners. He won 269 career games. In 2008, he went 16–7 with a 3.71 ERA for the World Series-champion Phillies. In his acceptance speech, he became emotional while recalling the victory parade.
• Joanne Iverson, president of the Vesper Boat Club. She won multiple national competitions in the 1950s and 1960s. She coached women’s rowing at Penn from 1968–75. She is a member of the National Rowing Hall of Fame.
• Louis Santop, who played 17 seasons in the Negro Leagues, including with the Philadelphia Giants and the Hilldales. He was referred to as the “Black Babe Ruth.” He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
• Mel Greenberg, a January 1965 Northeast High School graduate and longtime sports writer for the Inquirer. A native of Bustleton and Magee avenues, he created the first women’s college basketball poll in 1976. He is a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame. He is such a guru in the women’s basketball world that the NCAA moved its media day to avoid a conflict with the Hall of Fame ceremony.
• Muffet McGraw, who graduated from Bishop Shanahan High School in 1973. She was a four-year starter in basketball at St. Joseph’s University from 1973–77. She went 88–41 as coach at Lehigh from 1982–87. She has been the coach at Notre Dame since 1987, winning NCAA titles in 2001 and ‘18.
• Reggie Leach, who played eight seasons at right wing for the Flyers. He led the NHL in goals in 1976. He was a member of the 1975 Flyers team that won the Stanley Cup. He made two NHL All-Star Games.
Boxer Bernard Hopkins was given his Pride of Philadelphia award originally announced in 2004, when he was training for a fight
Former Flyers Jimmy Watson and Bill Barber were among the former inductees in attendance..
More than 350 people were on hand, and they had a chance to take part in a silent auction that included autographed pictures of Zach Ertz’s Super Bowl-winning touchdown, the Philly Special and Brandon Graham’s forced fumble of Tom Brady. They also watched a video of great moments in Philadelphia sports.
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.
For more information, go to phillyhall.org or the Hall’s pages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. ••