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Philly Sports Hall of Fame inducts 15

The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame last week inducted its latest class during a ceremony at Rivers Casino (formerly SugarHouse).

The 16th class of inductees consisted of 15 individuals representing achievement in nine different sports.

The inductees were:

• Al Cantello, a member of the track and field team at Norristown High School and La Salle College. He once held the javelin world record with a throw of 282-3. At age 88, he coaches distance runners at Navy.

• Bill Melchionni, who played basketball for coach Don Casey at Bishop Eustace Prep in Pennsauken, New Jersey and for Jack Kraft at Villanova. He won the 1967 NBA championship with the 76ers and ABA titles with the New York Nets in 1974 and ‘76.

• Charlene Morett, a graduate of Lansdowne-Aldan High School who starred in field hockey and lacrosse at Penn State. She coached field hockey at Boston College for three years before becoming coach in 1987 at Penn State, where she remains. She coached the Lady Lions to Big Ten tournament wins over Michigan earlier in the day and Maryland the next day.

• Clara Schroth-Lomady, a Frankford High School graduate who won 39 national gymnastics titles from 1941-52. She won a bronze medal at the 1948 Olympics. Her daughter, Nancy Schale, accepted for her.

• Donovan McNabb, who quarterbacked the Eagles for 11 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl from 2000-04. He leads all Eagles quarterbacks in career touchdown passes and yards. The team retired his No. 5 jersey. Andy Reid was in attendance, along with former teammates Tra Thomas, Todd Herremans, Jon Runyan, Brian Westbrook and Bobby Taylor.

• Eric Desjardins, a defenseman for the Flyers for 11 seasons. He was a plus-143 in his career for the Flyers. He was captain from March 2000 to October 2001. He played in two all-star games for the Flyers. He was on an extended family vacation and unable to attend.

• Fran Dunphy, who played basketball at Malvern Prep and La Salle and coached Penn and Temple to a combined 566-317 record, retiring after last season. He won 10 Ivy League championships at Penn and three Atlantic 10 tournament titles at Temple. Former St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli, now an assistant at Michigan, spoke about Dunphy on a taped video.

• Frank “Home Run” Baker, who played seven seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics. He won three World Series with the A’s. He led the American League in home runs four times with the A’s.

• Jayson Stark, an Abraham Lincoln High School graduate who was a longtime sportswriter at the Inquirer and ESPN. He’s authored three books on baseball, including one on the 2008 Phillies team that won the World Series. Earlier this year, he was given the Baseball Hall of Fame Spink Award. “I’m just a guy from Northeast Philly,” he said.

• Matthew Saad Muhammad, a former WBC and NABF light heavyweight boxing champion. He died from ALS in 2014.

• Mike Scioscia, a Springfield (Delco) High School graduate who was a catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers for 13 years. He was a two-time all-star and a member of the 1981 and ‘88 teams that won the World Series. He managed the Angels from 2000-18, winning the World Series in 2002.

• Paul Owens, who spent 45 years with the Phillies as a manager, general manager, scout and special adviser. He was the GM of the team that won the 1980 World Series. His son, Dan, accepted for him.

• Rasheed Wallace, a graduate of Simon Gratz who played basketball at North Carolina and 16 seasons in the NBA. He won an NBA title in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons. He coaches high school basketball in North Carolina.

• Suzy Kolber, an Upper Dublin High School graduate who joined ESPN in 1993. Leading up to the induction, ESPN’s Chris Berman texted her, “You are the real Philly Special.”

• Troy Vincent, a Pennsbury High School graduate who played eight seasons with the Eagles. He played in the Pro Bowl as an Eagle from 1999 to 2003. Today, he is the NFL head of football operations.

Top row (from left): Donovan McNabb, Mike Scioscia, Rasheed Wallace, Bill Melchionni, Fran Dunphy.
Bottom row: Al Cantello, Jayson Stark, Suzy Kolber, Nancy Schale, Troy Vincent, Charlene Morett-Curtiss.

The emcee was Pat Williams, a former 76ers general manager who recently retired as a senior vice president with the Orlando Magic.

Past inductees in attendance included Dan Baker, Dick “Hoops” Weiss, Mel Greenberg, Marilyn Stephens, Bill Ellerbee, Tina Sloan Green, Joanne Iverson, Claire Smith, Theresa Grentz, Sonny Hill and Speedy Morris.

Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright made an appearance.

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.

For more information, go to phillyhall.org or the Hall’s pages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. ••

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