Founding of the Hall
The Milwaukee Arena was brand new back in 1951, a state-of-the-art facility for sports and other entertainment.
It needed a permanent resident, and got one when the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame was inaugurated. For more on the founding of the Hall, go to the features link at the bottom of this page.
The First Class
The first induction ceremony of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame was a gala affair. Dignitaries joined sports fans from around the state at the spanking new Milwaukee Arena for a banquet and the unveiling of the bronze plaques honoring “the first class” to go into the Hall.
Joe Krueger, city treasurer of Milwaukee and the founder of the Hall, always had a flair for the dramatic. One-by-one, he introduced the men yes the first class included all men and read the inscriptions on the plaques, which would hang in the foyer of the Arena.
That first class included the first batter in World Series history, Ginger Beaumont; baseball greats Addie Joss, Al Simmons, Charles “Kid” Nichols and Al Simmons; bowler Chuck Daw, football legends Bob Zuppke, David Schreiner, Pat O’Dea and Ernie Nevers; wrestler Ed “Strangler” Lewis; boxer Richie Mitchell and Olympian Ralph Metcalfe, who along with Jesse Owens had put down Hitler and Nazism with great performances in the 1936 Games.
For more on that first class, go to the features link at the bottom of this page.
The Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame is dormant as this is being written, but the stories of the more than 100 members of the Hall are very much alive.
Plus, a group calling itself the Wisconsin Sports Legacy Group, has started a Revive The Hall movement to restore the Hall. You can access a Facebook page about that effort by clicking here. If you can help in anyway, leave a message on that FB page or on the message board for this site at the botton of this page.
Immortalized in Bronze started as a book idea about the Hall of Fame members. It has never been published in book form, but is being established here as a way of conveying some of those Hall of Famers stories. Perhaps the effort also will lead to a revival of the Hall and the book idea.
The Milwaukee Arena was brand new back in 1951, a state-of-the-art facility for sports and other entertainment. It needed a permanent resident, and got one when the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame was inaugurated. Large bronze plaques of the inductees hung in the entrance-way and stayed there for most of five decades, until they moved to the Walk of Fame, a large outdoor promenade outside the Arena, now called the U.S. Cellular Arena.
The Hall has been through several administrative groups over the 50-plus years since its founding. Financial restraints and other difficulties have led to its dormancy, but the stories of the Hall of Famers live on.
See some of those stories by checking out the links to the stories in the left hand column of this site and below.
Featured HOFers Of Month
They called him The Kid when he first came up, a fresh-faced, blonde-maned kid from California, just 18 years old.
The nickname stuck with Robin Yount for the rest of his 20-year career. While Yount kept a youthful approach to the game, he became a two-time MVP, a Hall of Famer in the state and in Cooperstown, and a legend among Wisconsin baseball fans.
“I was just comfortable in Milwaukee,” Yount said of his years with the Brewers in Wisconsin. “It was a good family town. The fans there treated me great. I liked the organization.”
Yount was a good fit for Milwaukee in many ways. He was a shy young guy when he first came up, and playing in a town that was not in the national media spotlight helped him develop at his own pace.
He helped put the Brewers and Milwaukee in that national spotlight, however, as he served as a key element in building the franchise into a pennant-winner. For more, go to the Immortalized in Bronze features link below.
Also Archived on the link are stories about: Ginger Beaumont, Addie Joss, Strangler Lewis, Richie Mitchell, Kid Nichols, Chuck Daw, Ralph Metcalfe, Don Hutson, Johnny "Blood" McNally, Billy Sullivan, Pat O'Dea, Ernie Nevers, Ed Konetchy, George McBride, Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Alan Ameche, Clarke Hinkle, Oscar Robertson, Wisconsin Olympians, Chris Steinmeta and Al Simmons stories are archived in features below.