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Author: Scott A. Merriman
Title: Sports History
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
December 2004

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Source: Sports History
Scott A. Merriman

vol. 7, no. 3, December 2004
Article Type: Site Review

Sports History

Scott A. Merriman, Ph.D.

University of Kentucky.

This column focuses on websites dealing with sports history, particularly those halls of fame which exist. In the dead of winter, many people's interest turn to sports, and the nominees and inductees are announced for many halls, including professional baseball and professional football. Thus, I figured this would be a good time to do a column on sports halls of fame.

Those people wanting to nominate sites for future columns, or to suggest topics, can email me at: If one would be interested in writing a guest column, they can email me at the same address. Thanks.

Professional Baseball Hall of Fame

This website discusses the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The site combines baseball history and the Hall of Fame itself. The rotating exhibits at the museum are prominently featured, along with the members of the Hall. The site also discusses the rules for induction. Among the items available for the Hall of Fame members are their lifetime statistics, their biographies, pictures of their plaques, and desktop wallpaper. For those interested in analyzing the history of baseball elections, the results of the past votes are available. An online catalog of the museum's holdings is accessible here. The baseball history here is good, if sometimes not overly evaluative. The exhibits at the museum are also portrayed, and among the current exhibits are one on Ichiro Suzuki and another on Sports Illustrated. Information about visits is here as well.

Basketball Hall of Fame

This hall of fame (located in Springfield, Massachusetts), unlike baseball and football's hall of fames, represents all of basketball in one hall. (The other halls have separate halls for college and professional). Among the items on the site are information about the Hall of Famers, running from James Naismith, who invented basketball, to Medowlark Lemon, to Phog Allen, to Lynette Woodward. Five whole teams are also honored as members, including the Harlem Globetrotters, the New York Rens and the Buffalo Germans. Three people, Lenny Wilkens, Bill Sharman and John Wooden, are honored both as players and as coaches. The history here, outside of the hall, is generally good if not extensive and includes interesting sections on the original rules of basketball and the story of how the Hall of Fame was founded.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

This hall of fame, located in Canton, Ohio, honors the game of pro football. The site includes information about visiting the hall, the history of the hall, and the hall of famers. Like most other halls, it lists the inductees, provides short biographies of them, and details the induction process. Information about this year's class is featured prominently, as the finalists were just announced. History of the NFL is provided, although it is not featured prominently. Among the most interesting parts of the general history is the top 20 rankings of people in each category (rushing, passing, scoring, coaching, etc.) and a discussion of these rankings.

College Football Hall of Fame.

This hall of fame, located in South Bend, Indiana, home of Notre Dame, honors college football heroes. The very location indicates what the shrine thinks of Notre Dame Football and that program is covered at a high level. The site includes articles on current and past football greats and on the exhibits currently on display at the hall. The hall has a traveling bus that goes around showing a "mini-hall," so if you can not get to the hall, you might be able to get to the RV. The site also has links to a variety of football related groups, including the American Football Coaches Association, and to a variety of awards, including the Harlon Hill award, given to the best player in Division II football.

Hockey Hall of Fame

This hall of fame, located in Toronto (Canada), focuses on all levels of hockey. In addition to discussing the Stanley Cup (and having a replica of it), it also discusses the trophies that are won at other levels of hockey (including the Olympics and junior hockey). One can learn who has won these trophies over the years and virtually tour them. The Hall does not discuss the current NHL strike much, in the apparent hope that if they ignore it, it will end. This site seems a bit more commercial than some others, as it has numerous product endorsement and ad placements, but fortunately no pop-ups or banner ads that I saw. The site has articles on many "legends of hockey" (to use their term) and videos of some of the same stars. An interesting site for those who are fond of the frozen sport.

National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum

This hall of fame, located in Oneonta, NY, features what the rest of the world calls "football." Among the information here that one might not expect is information about a high school tournament hosted by the museum, and a national soccer schedule. The site also features the more expected list of hall of fame honorees and information about visiting the hall. This hall is focused on professional soccer, both men's and women's, and has links to a variety of worldwide soccer organizations.

North Caroline Auto Racing Hall of Fame

There is, as of the time of this writing, no official NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) Hall of Fame, as NASCAR is planning on building one of these soon. However, North Carolina is, in many ways, the home of auto racing (or at least it is seen in many quarters as the birthplace of auto racing), and so this seems like a decent substitute for the time being. The hall is located in Mooresville, and has been inducting members for nearly ten years now, both in the driver category and crew chief. Among the inductees are Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, and, inducted this year, Dale Earnhardt. Over thirty cars are on display at the museum, and, online are pictures of some of them, along with some history, and a news archive which tells stories about the hall. Not as much online as some other halls, but perhaps the new NASCAR hall, when it is built, will solve this problem.

NCAA Hall of Champions

This hall of champions (a slight name change from many of the others, titled halls of fame) is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The hall covers champions in all sports, from the well known, like football and basketball, to the lesser known, like fencing and rowing. A virtual tour is available in video form, and the site also highlights the current special exhibits, like "Make the call" where you get try your skill against those of a referee on video from a real game.

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

This hall of fame, located in New Castle, Indiana, celebrates the best in Hoosier basketball, including the stars of tiny Milan (commemorated in "Hoosiers"). The hall focuses on people of all levels of basketball who have some connection with Indiana. The hall has been inducting people since 1962, and lists the inductees by year or alphabetically, and has a small bio on each. It also presents information on "Mr. Basketball" and "Ms. Basketball" (awards given each year to the top high school athlete in basketball). One of the better statewide hall of fame websites and the website for truly one of the states most interested in (or obsessed with, depending on your point of view), high school basketball.

National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame

This organization works across the nation to help high schools promote athletics. Part of their association is a hall of fame which recognizes top high school athletes. The hall of fame recognizes people based on their accomplishments in high school, but it does note their accomplishments post-high school. Many of these athletes have been heard of by the general public due to their later accomplishments, including Larry Bird and Bill Bradley.

Bowling Hall of Fame

This hall of fame and museum is located in Saint Louis, Missouri. Unlike most other hall of fames, the site does not detail the accomplishments of the honorees, requiring a visit to the hall. Also unlike other halls, there actually are five different halls of fame united here, each honoring a different congress of bowling (a different tour). There is a good history of bowling and a trivia game. For baseball fans, in the same museum and for the same price of admission, there is a St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.