50 Classes of ASHOF Class of 1979

Class of 1979

Published Wednesday, July 26, 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 10th of 50 Classes of ASHOF

Class of 1979



William Otey Crisman Jr. 

William Otey Crisman, Jr. was born in 1913 to the famous golf family. At 10 years old he won his first men's tournament at the Montgomery Country Club. He played in the U.S. Open seven times and in the PGA Championship five times. He won the Southeastern PGA in 1943, 1945, 1946 and 1948. In 1953 he closed his playing career by winning the Panama City Open. In 1946 he had designed and manufactured a first of its kind; a mallet style putter with a hickory shaft.  The putter head was also ahead of its time, as a soft metal brass insert was embedded in the aluminum head.  Two lead weights on either side of the insert created a "center balance," reducing torque and improving solid contact.  His fellow touring professionals began requesting an "Otey" of their own, and the rest is history.  Hundreds of PGA, LPGA, and Amateur titles can be documented with his American Made, handcrafted brand.  70 years later, most modern putters now use an "insert" to improve results. He was ahead of his time, with performance and design. 



Neil "Dick" McGowen 

 Neil "Dick" McGowen was born August 19, 1919 in Sipsey, AL.. He played football and baseball at Auburn from 1937 to 1940. He was named to the All-Southeastern Conference team in 1940 after averaging 43.55 yards on 80 punts. He still owns the Auburn single-season record for punting yards with 3,883 set in 1939.   At the inaugural game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 30, 1939, he threw the first touchdown pass in the stadium and kicked the extra point as Auburn tied Florida, 7-7.  He also played baseball at Auburn as a catcher and outfielder.  In 1948 he came back  to Auburn as an assistant coach until 1951 when he was named the freshman football coach and head baseball coach. After the 1957 season, he relinquished his baseball duties to become a varsity football assistant coach until 1965 when he left coaching.  He was a staff member for the 1957 National Championship team and in seven years as Auburn's head baseball coach, he led the Tigers to a 90-76-2 record.  He passed away on July 30, 2003.

Leroy G. Monsky, Sr. 
Leroy G. Monsky, Sr. was born April 21, 1916 in Montgomery, AL.  He played football at the University of Alabama from 1935–1937.  He was a consensus All-American in 1937 at the guard position. He was the captain of the 1937 Alabama football team that played in the 1938 Rose Bowl. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 1938 NFL Draft by the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He passed away on August 12, 1981.
H. L. Ogle 
H. L. Ogle was born on January 31, 1906 in Gainesville, Georgia. At Birmingham-Southern he earned four letters each in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was selected All-Southern as an end. He was awarded the Porter Cup as best all-around athlete at Birmingham-Southern. After graduating from Birmingham-Southern he became a high school football coach at both Hanceville and at Decatur High Schools  He coached a total of  35 years. He introduced the "T" formation to Alabama high schools in 1942. He was the winning coach in the first Alabama high school all-star game. He had four undefeated state champions teams. The Decatur High School football stadium is named after him.  He passed away on July 11, 1984.


Torance Albert (Bo) Russell, Jr. 

Torance Albert (Bo) Russell, Jr. was born January 23, 1916 in Birmingham, AL. In 1934, as a walk-on, he earned a football letter on Ralph Jordan's freshman Auburn team and a scholarship the following year under Jack Meagher. He reached All-Star status in 1938 as captain. His teammates chose him as their most valuable player that year. He played pro football with the Washington Redskins in 1939 and 1940.  He  played tackle and kicker for the Redskins and scored 38 points as a kicker. The the Birmingham News-Age Herald  named him to their All-Time Team in 1943. As an avid golfer, he helped coach fellow ASHOF Inductee Charlie Boswell in several golf tournaments.  He was also an SEC football official.  He passed away February 1, 1997.



Rudolph Preston York
 Rudolph Preston York was born August 17, 1913 at Ragland, AL.He played twelve seasons in the Major Leagues, most of the which with Detriot Tigers.  As a rookie with the Tigers in August of that season he beat Babe Ruth's record for most home runs in a month with 18 (that record stood for 61 years).  He finished his rookie year with 35 home runs, 103 runs batted in (RBIs), and a .307 batting average.  In 1940 he helped lead the Tigers to the American League pennant,  with 33 home runs, 134 RBIs, and a .316 batting average.  The Tigers eventually lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.  He was a member of the Tigers team that won the 1945 American League pennant and the World Series.  His best season was 1943, when he led the league in home runs (34), RBIs (118), slugging percentage (.527), and total bases (301).   He was traded to the Boston Red Sox prior to the 1946 season.  His single best day in the majors came as a Red Sox on July 27, 1946, when he hit two grand-slam home runs and drove in ten runs against the St. Louis Browns. The Red Sox won the American League pennant, and he won the first game of the World Series with a tenth-inning home run. He hit another home run in the third game, but the Red Sox lost the series.  He ended his professional playing career as one of the top sluggers of his time, finishing with 277 home runs, 1,152 RBIs, and a .275 batting average. From 1937 to 1947, no one in the American League hit more home runs or had more RBIs than he did.  He continues to hold the World Series record for most assists by a first basement (8 in 1945).  He played in six All-Star games.  He passed away February 5, 1970.