Column: Shoe’s Hall Of Fame

By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan

I’ve always been intrigued by a Hall of Fame. I’m not really sure if more than one would be Halls of Fame or Hall of Fames, but you get the drift. There are a lot of them around.

A Hall of Fame exists to honor someone who was great at something. People in sports get into the Hall of Fame if they had a fantastic and generally long career, or if they set a bunch of records and had a special successful achievement. It’s an honor to be in a Hall.

The football player who fumbles every time he touches the ball or the baseball player who strikes out every at bat rarely makes it into the hallowed Hall. You gotta be real good at what you did or do.

I personally know a few people who are in a Hall of Fame. Tom Razner was inducted into the P.J. Jacobs’ Hall of Fame following a tremendous varsity basketball career. The “Raz” definitely belongs in his high school Hall of Fame. So does Don Ceplina, a cross country star at PJ’s who set all kinds of records. Those guys were the best of the best.

There’s a Baseball Hall of Fame, a Pro Football Hall of Fame, a Hockey Hall of Fame, a Basketball Hall of Fame, an Arena Football Hall of Fame, individual team Halls of Fame, and a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Bon Jovi recently was voted into the latter.

Let’s take a peek at baseball’s Hall of Fame. It started in 1936. One would think that Babe Ruth was the first baseball player to get inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Well, he actually wasn’t. Ty Cobb beat him out. In 1936, Cobb got 98 percent of the votes for induction. Babe Ruth got 95 percent, and so did Honus Wagner. Here’s some more interesting numbers: Joe DiMaggio received 88 percent of the votes in 1955. Jackie Robinson captured 77 percent of the votes in 1962. Ted Williams got 93 percent in 1966, and Stan Musial got in with 93 percent in 1969.

Do you mean to tell me that two percent of the voters didn’t like Ty Cobb? Are they saying that five percent of the voters didn’t think Babe Ruth …thee Babe Ruth… should be in the Hall of Fame? Man, what the hell were those voters smoking?

I’m proud to announce that my buddy Bob Costas will be going into the Baseball Hall of Fame as an announcer/broadcaster. That means nobody else was better. I sent him an email letting him know that Ma Pesch from Stevens Point and I were proud of his selection. Costas wrote back and said that Ma should eat a bratwurst to honor the occasion.

On the other hand, speaking of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Pete Rose had 4,256 hits during his career. That’s the most hits ever by one player. Some players don’t even get up to bat 4,000 times. The guy with the second most hits, Ty Cobb, is in. Rose is out because he was caught gambling. Meanwhile, O.J.Simpson is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In my opinion, I don’t think it’s fair that Simpson is still “in” and Rose is “out”.

Some Halls of Fame have a crazy rule that I’ve never understood. A player must wait five years after he’s done playing to even be considered. How dumb is that? Why should a player who obviously will get in have to wait five freegin’ years until he can add “HOF” to his autograph? I say they should induct the dude right away. It’s like Jerry Kramer of the Vince Lombardi Green Bay Packers. He still isn’t in the Hall, and that’s a damn shame.

I’m gonna try something new here. Maybe it will catch on. Forget sports for a minute. Since everyone else seems to have a Hall of Fame, I’m gonna start my own right now. Today.

The first class of the “Shoe’s Hall of Fame” will feature people in Stevens Point from all walks of life who I think make or made the world a little better. It will include normal folks who were ultra good at what they do. Life’s Hall of Fame, if you will. It’s not their fault that they didn’t hit home runs or catch touchdown passes or sing and play the guitar at the highest level. It’s time now to honor some special people.

  • 1. Carol Tryba. Carol recently passed away. She was a checkout clerk at the downtown Shopko. Carol ALWAYS had a smile for you and was super friendly. She seemed to know everyone’s name. Carol will be missed by many, and it’s an honor to give her top billing in my Hall of Fame. They didn’t come any better.
  • 2. Angie Cohoon. Angie is the head clerk at Swetz’s Convinience Store in Point. She has a fantastic rapport with the customers, not to mention a great boss in Pam Swetz. Angie would be way up there on anyone’s list and deserves to be in a Hall of Fame.
  • 3. Leo Shopinski. Leo is my brother’s wife’s dad. He’s on the north side of 80 and is a service veteran. Leo worked many years at McDill Wrecking and still knows how to fix almost anything. He also has a great sense of humor. Leo belongs in a Hall.
  • 4. Bob “Ma” Pesch. “Ma” coached many many kids in Little League and school basketball. He’s like the Pied Piper. Everyone loves Ma Pesch. He also put Stevens Point on the national map in 1970 when he set a bratwurst-eating record at Milwaukee County Stadium, the former home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Bob Costas has said several times that the Ma Pesch bratwurst story is his favorite baseball story of all time.
  • 5. Kathy Spreda. Kathy is the front desk person at Trig’s. She always brightens up a day. Kathy is smart as a whip and super friendly to everyone. She knows her stuff.

NOTE: There’s no induction ceremony for the “Shoe’s Hall of Fame”. Those five people get into my Hall because they deserve to be in a Hall of Fame. I sincerely hope they consider it an honor.

SECOND NOTE: This could be the start of something neat. If any of you readers think someone else deserves to be into the Shoe’s Hall Of Fame”, let’s go for it. There’s a lot of nifty people out there in Stevens Point who deserve to be into a Hall of Fame Let’s give them their due. I can be reached at [email protected] or 715-344-2923. Thank you and have a great day.