Gone Way Too Soon!

By Bill Blackwell   Working at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum we deal with death way too often.  Many of our inductees had their glory days in the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s and it is always a sad day when we lose one of these heroes.  This morning I was shocked to hear of the death of Tommy Hanson, only 29 years of age, six feet six inches and 220 lbs. and a fit athlete.  In 2009 while working for the Braves triple A franchise in Gwinnett...

Another of the Greatest Generation Departs

It is happening far too quickly. We lost the third member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame within the past five weeks.  This time it was Leon Bramlett, who follows fellow Hall of Fame members Bert Jenkins and Tom Goode to those pearly gates.  Leon, was a Clarksdale, MS native and graduated from Clarksdale High in 1941.   Following graduation Leon attended Ole Miss and played football in 1941, transferred to Alabama and played in 1942 for the Crimson Tide and then went to the US Naval Academy.  In...

Meet Janet Marie Smith

How does a state with a small population and low per capita income produce so many great writers, actors and athletes? At the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, we tell the stories of the Walter Paytons, Jerry Rices, Steve McNairs, Archie Mannings, Boo Ferrisss and so many more greats from Mississippi that have become World Class athletes in their chosen sports and all hail from our great state. On November 5th we add an Architect to those stories. You may not be familiar with the name, Janet Marie...

The Curse of Vicksburg?

  It was brought to my attention last week that in 1908, the last time the Cubs won a World Series, they did their spring training in Vicksburg, MS.  In that era training in the spring was much different than it is today.  Teams would find someplace with a better climate than their northern weather and do exercises and start throwing and hitting against each other.  They would then start a slow move northward playing games in towns along the way to where they would start their season.  Sometimes the...

Yogi Passes

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by Bill Blackwell The news this morning that Yogi Berra, one of my childhood idols had passed away at 90 years of age brought back a swirl of memories.  During my days in baseball I was fortunate enough to have met Yogi on several occasions, first with the Astros where Yogi served as a coach and good will ambassador for his friend and neighbor Dr. John McMullen, the owner of the team and later when I worked in the Yankee organization after “the Boss” and Berra had settled their feud...

Jason Day’s humble goal was to keep his PGA card

Mississippi's Sanderson Farms Championship has often served as a springboard to success for some of the biggest names on the PGA Tour. Former Clarion-Ledger sports editor Rusty Hampton, now a board member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, was on the Annandlae practice range in 2008 when he encountered a 20-year-old named Jason Day. Now, $27.5 million later, Day is golf's No. 1 ranked player in the world. What follows is Hampton's resulting column. • MADISON - Mississippi's PGA Tour tournament has existed for 41 years as an alternative...

Book relives the legend of MSHoF’s Dobie Holden

By Chuck Abadie               POPLARVILLE – In reading “The Spirit of the Pearl: The Life, Legend and Legacy of T.D. ‘Dobie’ Holden,” one finds that it is possible for a football coach to win the respect of his players and lead them to eight state championships and one national championship without compromising faith and family.             An excerpt: “Dobie Holden knew that the winning spirit went far beyond the athletic field to the field of life, and that success in the former could help promote success in the latter. He...

The day Alan Nunnelee ‘found’ the Golden Egg

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(Editor's note: Rep. Alan Nunnelee died at age 56 this past week after a protracted and courageous battle with brain cancer. Nunnelee was highly regarded as a kind and caring man across the aisles both in Mississippi and in Washington D.C. He was unabashedly a Mississippi State Bulldog. Here, Checky Herrington, a good friend of Nunnelee's since their days as students at State, recalls the time the Golden Egg was "lost." Says Herrington, "Alan was a good friend and as nice then as he was later in life — a...

Remembering the Hinds champions of 1989

Author's note: This story is one of many about the record-setting, history-making Hinds Community College baseball team of 1989 and is an excerpt from Diary of a Mad Baseball Coach by Rick Clarke, the head baseball coach at Hinds from 1983-2005. The 1989 season marked the merger of the predominately white Raymond campus and the all-black Utica campus. teams of Hinds Community College. Merging these two baseball programs, each successful on their own, was not a simple task. But the ’89 team did things that no other Mississippi Community College...

Swayze Waters’ take on UAB situation

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Jackson Prep grad Swayze Waters was recently named the most valuable special teams player in the Canadian Football League where he led the league in punting and kick scoring. He took up two places on the All-CFL team: punter and placekicker. Joy and pride over those accomplishments have been diminished by the recent news that UAB, his alma mater, is shutting down its football program. What follows are his thoughts on the matter. In 2005 I joined the UAB family. I signed a letter of intent on National Signing Day...