Each year, Sports of Boston will be inducting one retired Boston sports athlete to the Sports of Boston Hall of Fame. The inaugural inductee is none other than the “Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived,” Red Sox legend Ted Williams. One of the top players in NHL history, Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr, was enshrined in 2010, followed by Celtics greats Larry Bird in 2011 and Bill Russell in 2012.
For two years in a row, a Celtic legend has entered the Sob Hall of Fame. Last year it was Larry Bird, and this year it’s Bill Russell’s turn. From 1956 to 1969, Russell made himself known as one of the best centers of all time, and indeed one of the league’s top players. During his 13 years, Russell won an incredible 11 championships, including eight in a row from 1959 to 1966.
In 42.3 minutes per game (quite a lot for today’s players), Russel averaged 22.5 rebounds per game over the course of his career. That’s good for 21,620 overall, a staggering amount and second all-time only to the great Wilt Chamberlain (23,924). Russell also totaled 14,522 points (15.1 per game) and an even 4,100 assists (4.3 per game).
Russell is truly one of the icons of his time, and deserving of his enshrinement as the 2012 inductee in the SoB Hall of Fame.
In 2009, it was the Red Sox’ turn. Next year, it was the Bruins. This time around, it’s the Boston Celtics’ turn to send an athlete to the SoB Hall of Fame. That athlete is none other than the man himself, Larry Bird.
In 13 glorious seasons, Bird won three championship rings. During the run between two titles in 1984-1986, Bird won both Finals MVPs and all three league MVPs. He has an All-Star MVP and a coach of the year among multiple other awards to back up his career, not that he needs it. He nearly averaged a career triple-double, coming up a few assists per game short. All this was in a whopping 38.4 minutes per game, making Bird a real iron man, back problems aside
Not only did Larry Bird help the Celtics end a brief five-year championship drought, but he and Magic Johnson revitalized an NBA that was on the brink of collapse. The 50s and 60s were all about baseball, the 70s and 90s and 2000s all about football, but the 80s were all basketball. No one better represents that golden age than the most clutch shooter in Celtics history. – Matt G
Larry Bird. Guy couldn’t jump, couldn’t run, but boy could he shoot. All he did was win. – Aryeh
Last year, to mark the end of the first decade of the new millennium, we here at Sports of Boston opened our virtual doors to the Sports of Boston Hall of Fame to honor the greatest players in Boston sports history. In our inaugural ceremony, we enshrined the late and great Ted Williams, the Red Sox slugger who holds numerous team and major league records.
Now, in 2010, a new legend from a different sport will be joining Teddy Ballgame: Bobby Orr, whose name is always mentioned among the greatest hockey players of all time. There’s good reason, too. Despite playing just 12 seasons, Orr, a defenseman, is widely credited with revolutionizing his position. He won a record eight straight Norris Trophies as the NHL’s best defenseman. He’s the only defenseman to lead the league in scoring, and he did it twice (in 1970-71 and 1974-75). Orr also holds the single-season record for most assists and points by a defensman (102 assists, 139 points in 1970-71). [Read More]
“I vote for the greatest hockey player of all time, Bobby Orr.” – Dan Davis
“While his career was somewhat short, Bobby Orr didn’t take long to revolutionize the defenseman position in the NHL and beyond. His league records are too numerous to mention. His playoff heroics are too legendary to do justice in such a short blurb. But what Bobby Orr did for the game of hockey, especially here in Boston and the entire New England area, was like none other. He is the reason why so many locals were inspired to play hockey as kids, and still play to this day. Orr’s Bruins were the toast of the town. Like “Red Sox Nation” is today, “Bruins Nation” was widespread in the early 70′s, thanks to players like the great, “number 4, Bobby Orr.” – Brian Kintz
Not only did he bring Boston the last two Stanley Cups the city saw, but he revolutionized the game of hockey, particularly the way his position is played. – Erikk Hokenson
Matched up against the greatest athletes in Boston sports history, former Red Sox slugger Ted Williams stood tall above them all, becoming the first athlete to be enshrined in the Sports of Boston Hall of Fame. Williams was putting up video-game statistics before there were even any video games. He’s a real-life Hall of Famer, and is often considered the “Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.” How can we not enshrine someone considered the greatest ever?
In his career, Williams hit .344 with a major-league record .482 on-base percentage. He’s also second all-time (behind Babe Ruth), with a career .634 slugging percentage. His 521 home runs are the most in Red Sox history, but unfortunately he could have had at least 200 more. Williams missed years in his prime serving his country in World War II and the Korean War. [Read more]
“He played for an underdog Red Sox team nearly his whole career, was the last to hit .406, and was able to suspend his playing career to fight in the war, returning at the same high level. He hit for power and average. The fact that I’m voting for him without ever seeing him play “live” speaks volumes for his contribution to Boston sports.” – Mike P.
“I think that the SoB Hall of Fame needs to have Ted Williams. He was Teddy Ballgame. There is no doubt that he was the best baseball player to ever play for the Boston Red Sox, and with SoB, everyone knows that Boston fans love the Red Sox. People live and die with the Red Sox and what better person to represent the Boston sports world than Ted Williams. It was remarkable when he rode onto the field during the 1999 All-Star game and it was a tragedy when he died just three years later. One of the best hitters of all time and probably the best hitter in Red Sox history, he gets my vote for the first SoB Hall of Fame.” – Greg
The Sports of Boston Hall of Fame was instituted at the end of 2009 to honor the greatest athletes in the history of Boston sports. Each year, the SoB staff of writers and editors will elect a new player/coach/owner to the Hall.