50 Classes of ASHOF Class of 1980

Class of 1980

Published Wednesday, August 2, 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 11th of 50 Classes of ASHOF

Class of 1980



Hank Arron

Henry (Hank) Aaron born February 5, 1934 in Mobile, AL. He played 23 seasons in the Major Leagues for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1954 through 1976.  He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.  On April 8, 1974 he hit his 715 home run breaking Babe Ruth record.  He ended his career with 755.  1957 was arguably his best season. He hit .322 that year with 44 home runs and 132 RBI, captured the National League MVP Award and led the Milwaukee Braves to their first World Series Championship since 1914. He holds the record for the most seasons as an All-Star, the most All-Star Game selections (25), and is tied with (fellow ASHOF inductee) Willie Mays and Stan Musial  for the most All-Star Games played (24).  He was a Gold Glove winner three times.  He is a two time National League (NL) Batting Champion,  four time NL Home Run Leader and four time NL RBI Leader.  He had a career batting average of .305.  He holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBI) (2,297), extra  base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856).  He is also in the top five for career hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least seventeen seasons with 150 or more hits.  He is second in at-bats (12,364), and in third in games played (3,298).  In 1963 became the third player to steal 30 bases and hit 30 home runs in a single season. Major League Baseball named him one of the Top Four Living Baseball Players.  He was named to Major League All Century Team.  He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall or Fame in 1982.  He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.



Robert Randall Bragan 

Robert Randall Bragan was born October 10, 1917, in Birmingham, AL.  He played a number of years in the minor leagues and came up to majors with Philadelphia Phillies in 1940.  He spent two years with the Phillies playing both shortstop and catcher.  He was traded to the Brooklyn Dodger and was their back up catcher for them for two season.  For the next two years he served our country as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry in World War II.  He returned to the Dodgers for the 1947 season when they won the National League pennant, but lost the World Series to New York Yankees.  He went back to the minors as a player manager of the Fort Worth Cats.  He also manager in the major leagues with Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. His versatility allowed him to be successful as a broadcaster, telecaster, and columnist.  In 1969 he became Commissioner of the Texas League.  He was so successful as Commissioner, in 1975 he was elected President of the minor leagues' governing body, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.  He served in that capacity for three terms.  He joined the Texas Rangers front office in 1979 and continued to make appearances and speaking engagements on behalf of the ball club well into his 80s. From 1992 until his death in 2010 at the age of 92, he was the CEO/Chairman of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, which provides college scholarships to students from public schools across the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  The Foundation has provided over one million dollars in scholarships over the years.  He was known as Fort Worth's Mr. Baseball.  He passed away on January 21, 2010.


Jacob Clifford Harper 
Jacob Clifford Harper was born August 25, 1913, in Pine Apple, AL. He served for 18 years as the first full-time Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director, where he introduced the first complete organization of prep athletics statewide. He coached 10 years at Spring Garden, Georgiana, Evergreen and Sardis where his team won a state title in 1936.  He developed illustrated football and basketball rules books which are still used nationally.  In 1996 he went to work for the Southeastern Conference to deal primarily with rules and officials. The SEC established the The Cliff Harper Award recognizing the highest individual points scorer for each gender at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. He was posthumously inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association in 1991.  .He passed away on May 26, 1980. 
Lee Roy Jordan  
Lee Roy Jordan was born April 27, 1941 in Excel, AL. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama at linebacker and center.  He earned All-Southeastern Conference honors at linebacker in 1961 and 1962.  He earned All-American honors in 1963.  He help lead the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season in 1961 and in so doing won the SEC and a National Championship.  In his final game for the Tide, Jordan recorded 31 tackles in a 17–0 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. For his efforts he was named MVP.  He was also named Lineman of Year that year (1962).  He was a member of the College All-Star team that defeated the NFL defending champion Green Bay Packers in 1963. He was the six overall pick in the 1963 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.  He became an instant starter at middle linebacker and anchored what became known as the Dallas "Doomsday Defense." In his 14 seasons with the Cowboys, he was a two-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler. He also helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowls (winning Super Bowl VI 1972) and five NFC Championships games. He was First Team All-Pro in 1963 and Second Team All-Pro in 1973.  In that same year he was named NFC Defensive Player of Year.  When he retired, he became the Cowboys all-time leader in solo tackles (743).  During his career he intercepted 32 passes, returning three for touchdowns. He was selected to Cowboys Silver Season All-Time Team. In 1989, he became the seventh member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.


Frank Kendall 

Frank Kendall was a part of high school athletics in Alabama for 47 years. In 1932 "Swede" took on his first coaching assignment for two years at Pell City High; then for four years he was at Tuscaloosa County High. The next 20 years he was at Tuscaloosa City High. In football his record was 112-53-15. He had five undefeated seasons and had two winning streaks of 28 and 19 games. In track and field he coached two state championship teams and was runner-up four time. He is deceased.


Admiral Donald B. Whitmire
Admiral Donald B. Whitmire was born July 1, 1922, in Giles County, Tennessee. He was a tackle at the University of Alabama (1941-'42) and the U.S. Naval Academy (1943-'44).  He was an All-American in 1942, a consensus All-America 1943, and unanimous All-America 1944. He was voted to the All-Time SEC Team in 1968.  He was named to the Crimson Tide All-Time Cotton and Orange Bowl teams.  The Washington Touchdown Club in 1944 awarded him the Rockne Trophy as the nation's best lineman.  He was also awarded the Academy's Thompson TrophyHe is one of only four college football players to ever be named as an All-American at two different schools. At the Naval Academy he served as Brigade Commander, the highest rank a midshipman can attain. He was selected for the Helms Hall of Fame and inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 1956.  He served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He commanded an amphibious troop transport in 1967. In the mid-1970's he commanded one of the Seventh Fleet's amphibious groups and participated in the evacuation operations of Saigon (it was the biggest evacuation in world history, with 82,000 men, women and children escaping to freedom).  A submariner, he had also commanded submarines and a submarine division in the Atlantic.  He also had commanded an amphibious squadron in the Mediterranean. His last assignment before retiring from the Navy in 1977, was on the Atlantic Fleet staff.  He was was presented with a Patriotism Award by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.  He past away on May 3, 1991.