Who are the next Hall of Famers?

600388.png

Who are the next Hall of Famers?

It seems like only yesterday -- Nov. 5, to be exact -- that a lot of old-timers gathered in the Colonnade Room at Memorial Stadium in Champaign to induct the inaugural class of the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum in Pinckneyville.

Now it is time to nominate players for the second class of Hall of Famers. But this assignment will be even tougher. The list of inductees for the Class of 2012 will be limited to 10 in the pre-1960s era, 10 in the post-1960s era and five women.

It was easier to pick 30, 20 and 10 for the inaugural class. There were few complaints when they were announced. Ask yourself: If I'm picking an all-time Illinois team, who would be on it? There are no ifs, ands or buts in that discussion.

But now the list of candidates is almost as long and as distinguished but the number of Hall of Fame spots is much smaller.

If you could pick one pitcher to start the seventh game of the World Series, would you give the ball to Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton or Bob Feller?

If you needed one basket to win the seventh game of the NBA championship, would you pass the ball to Michael Jordan, Larry Bird or Jerry West?

Get the point?

Who are the leading candidates in the pre-1960s era?

My 10-man list includes South Shore's Jake Fendley, Peoria's Lynch Conway, Galesburg's Bumpy Nixon, Champaign's Rod Fletcher, Galva's Rich Falk, Paris' Bob Owens, Carrier Mills' Catfish Rollins, Wells' Abe Booker, Princeton's Joe Ruklick and Bloom's Homer Thurman.

That's a good starting point for a good debate, right?

But what about Peoria Central's Hiles Stout, Herrin's John Tidwell, Quincy's Perry Barclift, Mount Vernon's Junior Kirk, Dongola's Joe Aden, Decatur's Bob Doster and Campbell Hill's Arlen Bockhorn?

Are you forgetting Taylorville's Billy Ridley, Elgin's Flynn Robinson and Don Sunderlage, Fenger's Sammy Esposito, Marshall's Irv Bemoras, DePue's Ron Zagar, Ridgway's Roger Suttner, Rock Island's Richard Litt, Springfield's Tom Cole, Tilden's Johnny Kerr, West Frankfort's Cotton Hughes, Campbell Hill's Dean Ehlers and Stewardson's Scott Steagall?

Remember, a good rule of thumb when trying to separate one Hall of Fame candidate from another, is to ask yourself: If you have to ask who, then you have to ask why. In other words, a true Hall of Famer doesn't need an introduction. Merely the mention of his name should warrant a nod in the affirmative. Do we need to discuss the credentials of Isiah Thomas or Dike Eddleman?

So who are the leading candidates in the post-1960s era?

My 10-man list includes Thornton's Lloyd Batts, Hales Franciscan's Sam Puckett, St. Anne's Jack Sikma, Fenwick's Corey Maggette, Galesburg's Joey Range, Dunbar's Billy Harris, Richards' Dwyane Wade, East St. Louis' Darius Miles, Manley's Russell Cross and Moline's Steve Kuberski.

But what about Collinsville's Bogie Redmon and Rodger Bohnenstiehl, Carver's Terry Cummings and Tim Hardaway, Eldorado's Mike Duff, Marion's Greg Starrick, Quincy's Michael Payne and Jacksonville's Andy Kaufmann?

Are you forgetting Benton's Doug Collins, Springfield Lanphier's Ed Horton, Farragut's Ronnie Fields, Mount Carmel's Antoine Walker, Thornwood's Eddy Curry, Peoria Manual's Sergio McClain, Westinghouse's Eddie Johnson, Hersey Hawkins and Kiwane Garris, Lincoln's Norman Cook, King's Rashard Griffith, Du Sable's Maurice Cheeks and Ottawa Marquette's Bob Guyette?

Benton's Doug Collins, who went on to have an outstanding career at Illinois State and the NBA, is a partial answer to an interesting trivia question: Which five All-NBA players didn't make All-State? Collins, Du Sable's Maurice Cheeks, Elgin's Flynn Robinson, Tilden's Johnny Kerr and Thornridge's Kevin Duckworth.

Remember, the first criteria for selection into the Hall of Fame is high school performance.

Hey, you could pick five players from this group and take on any all-star team--Dunbar's Ronnie Lester, West Aurora's Kenny Battle, Vocational's Juwan Howard, Simeon's Deon Thomas, Ridgway's Ron Stallings, Hirsch's Rickey Green, Marshall's Rich Bradshaw, Whitney Young's Quentin Richardson, East Rockford's Skip Thoren and Madison's Don Freeman.

See how tough it is?

The girls selection committee, chaired by former Chicago Sun-Times high school sports editor Steve Tucker, who also is a former member of the selection committee for the McDonald's All-America Game, nominated five for Hall of Fame induction.

They are Marie Christian and Cappie Pondexter of Marshall, Natasha Pointer of Whitney Young, Diana Vines of South Shore and Alicia Ratay of Lake Zurich.

Christian, Illinois' Player of the Year in 1983, led Marshall to four Final Four appearances in a row, including the state championship in 1982.

Pondexter, Illinois' Player of the Year in 2001, led Marshall to a state title in 1999. She recently was voted one of the top 15 players in the 15-year history of the WNBA.

Pointer, Illinois' Player of the Year in 1995, led her team to the state quarterfinals in 1995 and once scored 56 points in one game. She also played on a Final Four team at Rutgers.

Vines, an All-Stater in 1985, was the first city product to score more than 2,000 points in her career. She also was the first Chicago player to be recruited by legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.

Ratay ranks No. 13 on the state's all-time scoring list with 2,740 points from 1995 to 1999. Regarded as the best three-point shooter in state history, she led Notre Dame to the NCAA title.

Others who were considered were Allison Curtin, Taylorville; Michele Savage, IHM; Nancy Kennelly, Maine West; Connie Erickson, Niles West; Kim McQuarter, Tony Foster and Jennifer Jones, Marshall; Tauja Catchings, Stevenson; Terri Zemaitis, Downers Grove South; Shirley Joiner, Phillips; Carol Owens, Chicago Notre Dame; Bebe McBride, Senn; Sarah Kustok, Sandburg; and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, East St. Louis Lincoln.

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

miguel_montero_cubbies.jpg
AP

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

Kris Bryant’s sprained ankle is more bad news for Cubs: ‘You can’t cry about it’

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's next for Blackhawks as free agency looms?

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Nationals today on CSN

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

Bulls Talk Podcast: An NBA gone wild and Zach LaVine sit down interview

How Rick Renteria has tried to help White Sox players combat travel fatigue

What pushed Theo Epstein over the edge in making Miguel Montero decision: ‘It screamed out’

 

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]

The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”