The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2020 inductees Tuesday night, a class that includes basketball legends Kobe Bryant and Bo Ryan. Sixteen individuals and one team make up the group that represents eight sports.
This year’s ceremony will be virtual due to COVID-19. It will be held Nov. 5 and is titled “Inducting From a Distance.” Phillies public address announcer Dan Baker will host the induction, which will feature appearances from members of the Hall of Fame class and more.
Bryant, who starred at Lower Merion High before winning five NBA championships with the Lakers, will be inducted posthumously, having died in a helicopter crash in January. He is one of four basketball inductees. Ryan attended Chester High before winning four NCAA D-III men’s basketball titles, four Big Ten Coach of the Year awards at Wisconsin, and leading the Badgers to Final Four appearances in 2014 and 2015.
Former Ben Franklin High basketball coach Ken Hamilton is being inducted after leading the school to four Public League Championships from 1972-99. He retired as Philadelphia’s all-time winningest Public League coach.
Those three will be joined by Bob Rigby (soccer), Earl Strom (basketball official), Cherie Greer Brown (lacrosse), Herman Frazier (track & field), Lisa Raymond (tennis), and Rick Tocchet (hockey).
Tocchet, who played 11 of 18 NHL seasons with the Flyers, is a four-time All-Star and won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. He is now the head coach of the Arizona Coyotes after serving as an assistant coach during the Penguins’ back-to-back Cup runs in 2016 and 2017.
Two Eagles and another former NFL player were chosen. Palmyra High product Deron Cherry became one of the NFL’s top safeties in the 1980s. He made six Pro Bowls with the Chiefs and is a member of the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade team. Eagles two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jerry Sisemore and four-time All-Pro Vic Sears — who played offensive and defensive tackles from 1941-53 — are the other foot selections.
Tim Witherspoon’s induction seems long overdue. The two-time world heavyweight champion is a South Philly native, and he’s already a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Boxing Halls. Local promoter J Russell Peltz is also being honored, a year after celebrating 50 years in the business. Peltz promoted fights in the heyday of Philly boxing, featuring the likes of Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Bennie Briscoe, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, and Willie “The Worm” Monroe.
Two Phillies, Cy Williams and Dave Montgomery, round out the final two individual spots. Williams played for the Phils from 1918-30 and led the National League in home runs three seasons. He’s still eighth in Phillies history with 251 career homers. Montgomery, who died last year, went from working in the Phillies’ sales department to becoming a part-owner (1981), president (1997), and chairman (2015) of the organization.
The Philadelphia Athletics dynasty of 1910-13 received this year’s team honor. Those A’s won three World Series titles in four years. Five members of the team and manager Connie Mack already have been inducted in the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.