Author: Keith Pompey
Standing in the back of Citizens Bank Park's media room, Bill Lyon took a moment to reflect.
The Inquirer's retired sports columnist glanced at the names offormer New York Knicks great Earl Monroe and Eagles Hallof Famer Reggie White on an inductees brochure for the Philadelphia Sports HallofFame. Arguably the best wordsmith to grace a Philadelphia newspaper, Lyon had a hard time describing the joy associated with being inducted alongside those two legends.
Lyon, Monroe and White were among 13 individuals and the 1980 Phillies team introduced yesterday as the HallofFame’s fourth induction class. The induction ceremony will be at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing on Dec. 12.
"I feel like the caboose on this train," said Lyon, who will be inducted under the "legacy of excellence" category. "I'm humbled. I'm honored. And it touches my heart."
The 69-year-old touched many hearts during a 33-year career at The Inquirer.
In addition to being a six-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, Lyon won the National Headliner Award in 1998. He was named Pennsylvania sportswriter of the year nine times and garnered six Keystone Press Association awards. In all, Lyon won more than 70 national and state writing awards before retiring in 2005.
Lyon still writes columns for The Inquirer occasionally.
"He was kind of the quintessential columnist," said KenAvallon, president of the Philadelphia Sports HallofFame. "When I found out he was retiring, I e-mailed him and told him that it was a tough day for me."
The other inductees are Old Dominion field hockey coach Beth Anders; former Olympic soccer player and Penn State coach Walter Bahr; former Flyer Bill Barber; former Athletics catcher Mickey Cochrane; former Rutgers and Illinois women's basketball coach Theresa Grentz; former Eagles lineman Frank "Bucko" Kilroy; former Phillies outfielder Chuck Klein; former Temple basketball coach Harry Litwack; former Eagles coach Earle "Greasy" Neale; and former broadcaster Jack Whitaker.
"Honestly, I'm overwhelmed," Lyon said. "I try to make my living with words, and I'm at a loss for them to express how much it means to me."