Sean Pendergast

Ten Names I Ridiculously Omitted From The Houston Sports Hall of Fame

Posts like the one I did last Friday on the "32 No Brainers For The Houston Sports Hall of Fame" are where you really get the true feeling for the difference between a quick hit post and, say, writing a long form feature or penning a book. The latter two would normally involve exhaustive research resulting in no stone left unturned. Attention to detail would be absolutely meticulous.

Conversely, in the quick post world, I am cobbling the list together in a somewhat bleary-eyed state following a four hour radio show with a deadline of getting it done in time for me to watch the Rockets game later that night unfettered. So when I'm compiling a long list baked in my opinion, blind spots and missed names are bound to occur. My brain can only handle so much!

That's what happened on Friday's post. I am fully comfortable with all 32 names I listed in that piece. However, it was pointed out to me by several of you (thank you all for reading!) that I missed some obvious ones, and you're right. I did.

You can check the Friday post for the 32 names I see as obvious future Houston Sports Hall of Famers. Here are the ten names pointed out to me that I feel were obvious omissions on my part. (For the record, my blind spots, for whatever reason, were U of H football players, women's basketball, and individual women's sports. Also, pro wrestling, which is the oddest omission of all, if you know anything about me personally.)

Here we go....

ANDRE WARE, 1989 Heisman Trophy winner
Ware was the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner for an undefeated University of Houston team, and was a high school stud at Dickinson High School. How I forgot to add Ware, who's also been a fixture on Texans radio broadcasts since the team was conceived, is beyond me, but my excuse will be that, since none of the 1989 University of Houston games were on TV (old school SWC probation, y'all!), I didn't see them, and therefore, my brain thinks they might not have happened.

CASE KEENUM, CFB all-time leading passer
Keenum never won a Heisman, but he might be the most popular player in the history of the school, finishing in 2011 as the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, and completions. He went on to play his first few NFL seasons for the Texans, including a 2-0 record after Bill O'Brien summoned him off of a deer lease, literally, to play the final two games of the 2014 regular season. Keenum went on to start a handful of games for the Rams in 2015 and 2016, before breaking out this past season in leading the Vikings to an 11-3 record in his 14 regular season starts and a berth in the NFC title game.

CYNTHIA COOPER, 4-time WNBA champion, 2-time WNBA MVP
SHERYL SWOOPES, 4-time WNBA champion, 3-time WNBA MVP
TINA THOMPSON, 4-time WNBA champion, 9-time WNBA All-Star
While the Comets no longer exist, they are indeed, at least, a small part of this city's sports history, and when the WNBA was conceived in 1997, the Comets were the league's first dynasty. They won the first four titles in league history. Cooper was the marquee player on the first couple teams, and eventually Swoopes took that baton, while Thompson was always a steady All-Star level player. If there were ever such a thing as a "Big Three" in the WNBA, this was the first one.

ZINA GARRISON, legendary women's tennis player
While she never won a singles Grand Slam title, Garrison was one of the most prominent women's tennis players of the '80s and early '90s, with her Grand Slam peak being a finals berth in 1990 at Wimbledon, a run during which she defeated Monica Seles in the quarterfinals and Steffi Graf in the semifinals, before losing to Martina Navratilova in the finals. Garrison is a three-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, and a doubles gold medalist and singles bronze medalist at the 1988 Olympics.

SIMONE BILES, 4-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast
The Spring, Texas teenager was one of the darlings of the 2016 Olympics, bringing home the gold medal in the team, individual all-around, vault, and floor exercises, and bronze in the individual balance beam. Biles is a three-time world all-around champion (2013–15), three-time world floor champion (2013–15), two-time world balance beam champion (2014, 2015), four-time United States national all-around champion (2013–16), and a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014 and 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

MARY LOU RETTON, 1984 Olympic gold medalist
Before there was Simone Biles, there was Mary Lou Retton. Many gymnasts since 1984, including Biles, credit Retton's 1984 Olympic performance as a pioneering effort in women's American gymnastics, as her gold medal in the individual all-around was the first time an American women took home gold in that event. In 1984, she also won two silver medals and two bronze medals, making her one of the most popular athletes in America at the time.

BOOKER T, WWE Hall of Famer, six-time World champion
Growing up in the Houston inner city, and having spent 19 months in prison in the late 80's for robbing a Wendy's, Booker T is a great example for young kids that you can overcome mistakes and turn your life around. After getting out of prison, Booker took up professional wrestling, and by the late 90's he had won the WCW tag team championship with his brother, Stevie Ray. When WCW was bought out by WWE, Booker was one of the holdover talents, and he went on to headline shows and win the WWE heavyweight title. He was inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame in 2013.

PAUL BOESCH, legendary promote of Houston Wrestling
If we are going to include wrestlers from Houston, then we must include also the most successful wrestling promoter in the history of the city. Boesch bought out the territory in 1966 from the widow of its previous owner, Morris Sigel. Having handled announcing duties and numerous behind the scenes functions, Boesch saw it as the next logical step for him to run the territory, and he took it to new heights, making it one os the most successful outposts in the old territory (read: pre-Vince McMahon) system. Most famously to native Houstonians, Boesch's television program was the advertising launch point for iconic Houston businesses like I.W. Marks and Gallery Furniture.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast