AAE Sports Hall of Fame Names Inductees

By Tony McClean
Updated: July 9, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — The African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, which is dedicated to honoring black and other ethnic sports legends, will formally showcase their class of 2008 at The Adam Clayton Powell State Building on Saturday, August 16.

The luncheon will begin with a “VIP Reception with the Stars” at 12 p.m., followed by lunch at 1 p.m. and the induction ceremony at 2 p.m. The Adam Clayton Powell State Building is located at 163 West 125th Street.

This year’s class includes former boxer Alex (The Bronx Bomber) Ramos, former AFL star Abner Haynes, Olympic medalist Ralph Metcalfe, and seven others.

Ramos has over 30 years of experience in the sport of boxing, dating back to training at 11 years old in the Bronx, New York. He was one of the most celebrated amateur boxers ever to come from the State of New York, winning four New York Golden Gloves titles, and PAL National Champion.

Ramos was also an Empire State Games Champion, Junior Olympic Gold Medalist, AAU National Champion, and a member of the USA Boxing Team from 1978-1980. He became the USBA middleweight champion and the 1986 Californiamiddleweight champion.

A graduate of North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in 1960, Haynes chose to play for the American Football League’sDallas Texans and led the league in rushing attempts, yards, and TDs in its first year.

Haynes helped launch the AFL in 1960, when he was the fledgling league’s first Player of the Year, and its first Rookie of the Year. He captured the AFL’s first rushing crown with 875 yards, and also led the Texans in receiving, punt returns, and kickoff returns.

Haynes spent three years in Dallas and two with same franchise when it became the Kansas City Chiefs. The Kansas City Chiefs, and the North Texas Eagles will later retire his number (28) Jersey in honor of his many achievements.

Metcalfe served as a champion sprinter and free thinking politician. After excelling as a student and a sprinter at Chicago’s Tilden Technical High School and Marquette University (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin).

He competed in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics, held in Los Angeles and Berlin, respectively. In 1932, Metcalfe won the bronze medal in the 200-meter dash and took the silver in the 100-meter dash, losing to Eddie Tolan by a mere two inches.

In 1936, Metcalfe again finished second in the 100-meter dash, with Jesse Owens winning the gold. Metcalfe teamed with Owens to win gold in the 400-meter relay that year, helping to set a world record.

Among the seven community leaders honored at the event will be Joe Louis Reliford. Reliford, who will receive the Hall’s Trailblazer Award, at age 12 played one inning in a minor-league baseball game on July 19, 1952, with the Fitzgerald Pioneers, then a farm team for the Kansas City A’s, now called the Oakland A’s. He batted, from center field threw out a runner trying to advance to third base, and robbed the Statesboro Pilots’ best hitter of a home run.

Reliford broke the color barrier in the Georgia State Baseball League as a player, although he actually was a batboy! After the game, the opposing fans mobbed him in jubilation as they stuffed money into his pockets.

He paved the way for future Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Willie McCovey, among others, to play in Georgia. His great catch in 1952 was recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. The same year, Reliford received a resolution from the Georgia State Senate for unintentionally making American baseball history.

The complete list of inductees and other honorees can be viewed at www.afrosportshall.com. The event will be video taped and video streamed onto the Internet on TheWorldSportsNet.com.

Negotiations have begun to televise the event on a delayed basis. National, International and local print media, television and radio will be represented and interviews regularly will be conducted prior to and after the event.

NOTE: For further information, contact, Wendy Welch at 404-312-2100 at wendy@connectwelch.com or Arif Khatib at afrosportshall@aol.com or 510-508-3309 .