The doors of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame opened Sept. 18 for six members of the class of 2019.
Entering the exclusive hall were: racquetball and softball star Otis Chapman, tennis player Tom Lucci, hockey coach John Malloy, golfer Rob Moss, Tony Miller, who led Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School to state championships in basketball and football before enjoying a great basketball career at Marquette University, and the biggest name of all – former Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.
To be voted into the hall, inductees had to either grow up in Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula or Medina county or have athletic success in those counties and continue to live here.
Meyer, who launched his football career at Ashtabula St. John High School, is the winner of two NCAA titles at the University of Florida and one crown at The Ohio State University. Arguably, he should be included in the top 10 of college football coaches.
He could not have been more cordial and seemed to enjoy the evening as much as anyone. During the cocktail hour, he posed for every picture and signed every autograph that was requested of him.
Meyer likes his studio job with Fox, but he didn’t close the door on any coaching opportunities. I introduced each inductee and each followed with a five-minute acceptance speech. Then I asked five-to-ten minutes of questions.
The highlight of the evening was when Meyer talked about his love for the Cleveland Indians, especially Rick Manning and Duane Kuiper.
Meyer, who played shortstop at Ashtabula St. John, recalled when he received a call from a scout for the Indians. The scout wanted to know if Meyer could come to the Stadium Club to meet some people during a day off for the team. The Stadium Club was on the second floor and when the elevator opened, former General Manager Gabe Paul emerged and was introduced to Meyer.
“I hear you are a pretty good shortstop. Come with me,” Paul insisted.
They took the elevator to the ground level and walked to the shortstop position. Paul walked away and let Meyer soak it all in. Meyer was convinced and told all of his friends the Indians were going to pick him in the draft. That was not the case as Meyer was finally selected in the 13th round by the Atlanta Braves.