Philly Hall of Fame Considers New Home, Honors Fifth Class of Inductees

Author: Frank Seravalli

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has a home in Canton, Ohio. The Hockey Hall of Fame is in the basement of a shopping mall in Toronto, Ontario. Could the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, which doesn't have an official home, be based out of the new Philly Live?

According to Ken Avallon, Philly Hall of Fame president, the Hall is in "very preliminary" discussions with the developers of Philly Live.

"We're looking for a true long-term solution," Avallon said. "Right now we're just going through the discovery stages. It might even be too early to call it 'embryonic.' "

Avallon could not release much more info on the discussion due to a nondisclosure clause. The Hall is set to induct its fifth class of legends tonight in front of more than 350 people at the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing.

Philly Live! is the new complex that is supposed to replace the Spectrum in South Philly. Comcast-Spectacor and renowned developer the Cordish Company are collaborating to build an entertainment area that will feature a hotel with possible residential options, numerous restaurants and now possibly the Philly Sports Hall of Fame.

What better place to house the Hall's growing inventory of artifacts and memorabilia and pay homage to Philly's sports stars than the hub of Philly sports? Currently, the Hall is based out of an old warehouse in Northern Liberties. They also have display cases at the Fieldhouse Bar near the Convention Center.

"Right now, we have just been storing museum-type objects in our facility," Avallon said. "We have an inventory of interactive exhibits, but we haven't really found a suitable location yet. The Fieldhouse was our first real display."

Avallon, a self-described sports junkie, helped create the nonprofit group in 2002. Avallon is one of 20 to 22 volunteers who help run the Hall. Tonight's 13 inductees will put the total at 84 members.

Part of the Hall's mission is to get the average fan involved with nomination through its Web site ( and honor all sports at all levels.

"We want to maintain a grassroots appeal," Avallon said. "It isn't just about the four major pro sports or the Big Five colleges. Swimming, golf, rowing, boxing, track and field are all important, too."

The Hall's voting process is a hybrid version of many other current versions. A nominee must obtain a 70 percent majority of the 185 voters to be admitted.

A look at tonight's inductees:

Mickey Vernon: A native of Marcus Hook and a Villanova graduate, Vernon was one of the greatest hitters of his generaton. Vernon played 21 seasons in the major leagues for the Senators, Red Sox, Braves, Indians and Pirates. He was a seven-time All Star and won the American League batting title in 1946 and '53. Vernon passed away on Sept. 24 at his home in Media, missing his Hall induction by just 50 days.

Ed Delahanty: Nicknamed "Big Ed," Ed Delahanty played 13 years in a Phillies uniform between 1888-1901. Delahanty has the fifth-highest career batting average in major league history (.346). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945. Delahanty died at age 35, in the prime of his career, after falling off of Niagara Falls.

1929 Philadelphia Athletics: The 1929 Athletics were the start of the last hurrah of Philadelphia's American League franchise. In Game 4 of the 1929 World Series, the "Mack Attack" overcame an eight run deficit in the seventh inning by scoring 10 runs. The A's beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 in the series, winning the title in front of 29,921 at Shibe Park on Oct. 14, 1929.

Lionel Simmons: Known as "L-Train," Simmons was a 6-7 small forward at La Salle. A Philadelphia native, Simmons won both the Naismith Player of the Year and John Wooden Award in 1990 as college basketball's most outstanding player.

Herb Magee: Few basketball coaches have accomplished what Magee has in 40 years at Philadelphia University. Magee ranks fifth all-time in NCAA career coaching victories with 855. A West Catholic graduate, Magee has coached 10 All-Americans, won a Division II national title, and is a two-time national Coach of the Year.

Maurice Cheeks: Known for his selfless defense, Cheeks is one of the most recognizable faces of the Sixers franchise. Cheeks, in his fourth season as Sixers head coach, ranks third all-time in the NBA in steals and eighth in assists. He was one of the essential cogs in the Sixers' 1983 title.

Al Wistert: Wistert is one of just seven Eagles to have their number retired. A two-way player, Wistert played all nine of his pro seasons (1943-51) in Philadelphia. Recognized for his play as an offensive tackle, Wistert was selected to the first ever Pro Bowl. He was one of the captains of the '48 and '49 championship teams.

Harold Carmichael: A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Carmichael is widely regarded as the best receiver in Eagles franchise history. Carmichael amassed 79 touchdowns and 8,985 yards in 14 NFL seasons. The 1970's NFL Decade Team member helped lead the Eagles to the 1980 Super Bowl.

Fred Shero: Famous for scrawling motivational phrases on the locker-room blackboard, Shero coached the Flyers to the 1974 and 1975 Stanley Cups. He is the all-time winningest coach in Flyers history with 308 regular-season wins and another 48 the playoffs. In a 1999 Daily News poll, Shero was voted as the city's best coach/manager by fans.

Leroy Burrell: A Lansdowne native and Penn Wood High graduate, Burrell twice set the world record for the 100 meters sprint. Burrell won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, as a member of the U.S. 4-x-100 meter relay team. Burrell retired in 1998 and is now the track coach at Houston, his alma mater.

Dorothy Porter: A Philadelphia native, Dorothy Germain-Porter won the 1949 U.S. Women's Amateur golf championship. She was also on the 1950 winning Curtis Cup championship team and captained the team to a win in 1966. The Beaver College (now Arcadia) graduate went on to win four U.S. Senior Women's Amateur titles.

Tommy Loughran: During his fighting days, Loughran was known as the "Phantom of Philly." Loughran was the light heavyweight world champion. During his 175-fight career, Loughran defeated two future world heavyweight champs. He won 96 career bouts and is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Stan Hochman: As the Legacy of Excellence recipient, Hochman will be just the third sportswriter enshrined in the Hall. Hochman joined the Daily News staff in 1959 and has been a fixture for the past 49 years. His familiar style and dogged reporting have cemented him as one of the best to ever put the pen to paper in the Philadelphia sports scene.

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