50 Classes of ASHOF Class of 1977

Class of 1977

Published Wednesday, July 12, 2017 4:00 pm

On April 28, 2018, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame will induct its 50th Class.  In celebration of this milestone, we will be sending an email out each week, over the next 50 weeks, beginning with the Inaugural Class of 1969, and culminating with the

Class of 2018.

This is the 8th of 50 Classes of ASHOF

Class of 1977


Percy M. Beard

Percy Morris Beard was born January 18, 1908 in Hardinsburg, Kentucky.  He attend Auburn University from 1925 to 1929. In his junior and senior years he won championships as a world-class hurdler. He set several records between 1928 and 1935.  Upon graduation in 1929 he remained at Auburn to teach engineering, meanwhile continuing to train and to compete for the New York Athletic Club. In 1932 he won the silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  He won the AAU 60-meter hurdles indoor titles in 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1935; and the AAU 110-meter hurdles outdoor titles in 1931, 1934, and 1935.  After leaving Auburn, he became the men's track coach at the University of Florida, starting with the 1937 track season and remaining through the 1964 season.  His Gators won two SEC track titles in 1953 and 1956.  He founded the Florida Relay in 1939.  In 1959, he pioneered the building of a new all-weather surface track at the University of Florida.  He also invented the brushed cement shot and discus ring used throughout the world. These inventions have contributed to great improvements in track records.  In 1973 the University of Florida renamed the track the Percy M. Beard Track. He passed away March 27, 1990.


Virgil Lawrence Davis

 Virgil Lawrence Davis was born December 20, 1904, in Birmingham, AL. He spent 16 years in the major leagues as a catcher, playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He had seven consecutive seasons in which he batted over .300.  For his career he hit over .300 ten times in sixteen years.  At the time of his retirement, his .308 career batting average was second all-time among major league catchers.  He led National League catchers twice in fielding percentage, once in assists and once in base runners caught stealing.  He was a member of the Cardinals team that was known as the "Gashouse Gang."   The "Gashouse Gang" won the 1934 World Series.  He was an assistant coach for both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs and had a brief stint as manger of the Pirates in 1946.  He passed away in August 14, 1984.

Willie Howard Mays Jr.
 Willie Howard Mays, Jr. was born May 6, 1931 in Westfield (Birmingham), AL.  The "Say Hey Kid" starred for the Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro Leagues. He played in the major leagues for both New York/San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets.  He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1951, Major League Player of the Year in 1954 and MVP of the National League in 1954 and 1965.  He shares the record for playing in 24 All-Star Games. He played in four World Series. He won a record-tying 12 Golden Glove awards beginning in 1957 when the award was introduced.  He won the National League Batting Championship in 1954. He was the National League Home Run Leader four times.  He also lead the National League in stolen bases four times.  He is one of five National League players to have had eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons.  He hit over 50 home runs in 1955 and 1965, representing the longest time span between 50-plus home run seasons for any player in Major League history.  He is fifth all time in home runs with 660.  He had a career batting average of .302.  He had 3,283 hits.  He had 1,903 runs batted in and stole 338 bases.  He was named to the Major League All-Century Team, as well as, Major League All-Time Team.  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. In November 2015, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House.
Holt Rast
 Holt Rast was born October 17, 1917 in Portsmouth, Virginia.   He played collegiately at the  University of Alabama from 1937 to 1942.  He  was a unanimous All-American pick in 1941. Along with teammates Don Whitmire and Jimmy Nelson, he was selected MVP of the 1942 Cotton Bowl Classic.  He was selected in the 18th Round (170 pick) in the 1942 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He did not play for the Bears, electing to entered the U.S. Army after his graduation in 1942.  He served in the  the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946 and was twice wounded. He received the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star and Silver Star.  He served as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1958 to 1966. Governor Wallace appointed him to assist in developing the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. In 1994, he was selected by the Southeastern Conference as an SEC Football Legend. He passed away on November 22, 1998.



Petey Sarron

 Petey Sarron was born November 21, 1906 in Birmingham, AL. He was Southern and Southeastern Amateur Boxing Champion. He was an alternate on the 1924 U.S. Olympic Boxing team. The Olympics were in Paris in 1924.  He turned professional in 1926.   He had a career record of 143 total fights 102 wins, 25 by knockout, 23 losses,  12 draws and five no contests.   On May 11, 1936, he ended Freddie Miller's title reign as World Featherweight Champion when he won a 15 round decision. He staged his first defense of the World Featherweight Title on July 22, 1936, winning a fifteen round unanimous decision against Cuban southpaw Baby Manuel.  On January 16, 1937, fighting as a lightweight he defeated Laurie Stevens in a non-title fight in a twelfth round knockout.  In his second defense of the NBA Featherweight Title he once again fought Miller and won a majority decision.  In his third title defense he lost to Henry Armstrong by a sixth round knockout on October 29, 1937.   It was the first time in twelve years he had been knock out.  He retired from boxing in 1939.  He passed away on July 3, 1993.


Edward Raymond Stanky
 Edward Raymond Stanky was born September 3, 1917 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He played in the Major Leagues for ten years (1943-1953).  He played both second base and shortstop.  In those years he played for five different teams (Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves, New York Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals). He was famous for his ability to draw walks; he drew 100 or more walks in each of six different seasons, 140 or more in two of them.  His best season was 1950 with the Giants, when he hit an even .300 and led the league in walks (144) and his on base percentage (.460). On August 30, 1950 he tied a major league record when he walked in seven consecutive at-bats (in two games).  He was also known as a master of the "delayed steal."  He played in three All-Star games during his career.  He appeared in three World Series in a five year span (1947 to 1951), with three different National League Champions (Dodgers, Braves and Giants), all of whom lost to their American League opponents. After his playing career he manged both the Cardinals and White Sox.  In 1952 he was named Major League Manager of the Year while with the Cardinals.  He coached at the collegiate level at the University of South Alabama from 1969 to 1983. He compiling a 490–195-2 (.714) record, with five NCAA Baseball Tournament appearances over 14 seasons. He passed away June 16, 1999.

Douglas Clyde Walker
 Douglas Clyde Walker was born February 17, 1899 in Ensley, AL. He played baseball and football at Birmingham-Southern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Howard where he graduated in 1922. He then went on to served as the head football coach at Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), Elon University, and at Wake Forest, compiling a career record of 127–93–10.  When he retired at Wake Forest after 14 seasons, he was their winningest coach in school history at that time. He coached in the Canadian Football League for eight seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, winning four divisional titles.  His overall record with the Alouettes was 59–48–1.  From 1960 to 1970 he was a scout for the New York Giants. He was elected into the Wake Forest Athletics Hall of Fame after his death in 1970.  He passed away July 16, 1970.