Sports Hall of Fame
The Manchester Sports Hall of Fame, which is located in the Old Manchester Museum, at 126 Cedar Street, became a reality on September 18, 1980, when eight men and one woman were officially inducted in the Silk Town sports shrine. More than 100 individuals were screened that first year and the current list of nominees is reviewed each year.
Today, over 257 honorees have met the criteria for induction. Any person who has resided in Manchester for at least three years and who has made significant contributions to sport over that period of time is eligible.
Honorees have come from 27 different sports, plus one in the "sponsor" category, the late Matt Moriarty. Members represent the ranks of archery, baseball, basketball, billiards, bowling, boxing, diving, equestrian, field hockey, football, golf, horse racing, horseshoes, ice hockey, motor sports, rifle marksmanship, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, waterskiing and wrestling.
The town's best includes the first unanimous choice and the first man singled out in 1980, Joe McCluskey. McCluskey, Bill Masse, and Peter Close all were Olympians wearing USA colors. McCluskey gained a bronze medal in the steeplechase event in 1932 in Los Angeles. He also represented his country in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
Masse brought home a gold medal as an outfielder with the USA's 1988 Olympic baseball team. Close competed in the 1,500 meters in the 1960 Games in Rome after winning All-American honors in track at St. John's University.
Professional Major League baseball players listed on the elite local shrine list include Herman Bronkie, Tony Lupien, Moe Morhardt and Tom Kelley.
Dave Hayes and Jerry Faye made the grade in the National Football League and Leo Katkaveck was in both the pro Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball Association.
Pat Bolduc's background included a stint with the World Champion Raybestos Cardinals in fast pitch softball.
Eric Hall gained world championship status among the archers.
Charlie Robbins gained 11 national long distance running titles, a total topped only by McCluskey, who won 24 during his long career in track. Only World War II prevented Robbins from being an Olympian.
Golfer Ron "Red" Smith competed twice in the U.S. Open.
Geno Auriemma is considered to be our nation's top women's basketball coach. Geno has led the UConn women to a record 10 national championships, enjoying many visits to the White House for his efforts. .
Mike Crispino has made it big time as a sportscaster in New York.
Duckpin bowler Cathy Dyak was the only female in that first year class of the Hall of Fame. In fact, Dyak was the only woman elected in the first 10 years.
Proof that women have made their presence felt is the fact that in the second decade, nine women were elected, headed by long-distance swimmer Marcy MacDonald. Marcy is the American record holder for English Channel crossings at 15. This includes swimming a double (France to England and back to France) on two occasions.
Click here for the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame Facebook page.