Ken Griffey Jr., who starred for the Mariners from 1989-99 and entered the Baseball Hall of Fame two years ago, Monday was named to the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame, along with seven others: Washington State University football coach Mike Price, WSU running back Reuben Mayes, Sonics coach George Karl, jockey Alfred Johnson, Olympic heptathlete Kelly Blair LaBounty, softball pitcher Louise Mazzuca and Seattle baseball pioneer Dan Dugdale.
“It’s a memorable class,” said HOF executive director Marc Blau. “Griffey was an obvious ‘lock,’ but the class also honors seven diverse people. Our panel of voters, most of them sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the state, always puts effort into their selections.”
Griffey entered Cooperstown in 2016 with a record 99.3 percent of the vote. He was a 13-time all-star in his 22-year major-league career across parts of four decades. “The Kid” was a Mariner for 13 years and is sixth on the all-time list with 630 home runs, 417 as a Mariner.
Everett native Price led WSU to Rose Bowl appearances in the 1997 and 2002 seasons. He had an 83-76 record in Pullman in 14 seasons and was 3-2 in bowl games.
Mayes, a Canadian, was a star running back who rushed for a then-NCAA record 357 yards against Oregon in 1984. He was a consensus All-America in 1985 and NFL offensive rookie of the year in 1986 for New Orleans. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his seven-year NFL career, the final two years as a Seahawk.
The Sonics made the NBA playoffs each of the seven years Karl served as head coach and lost the 1996 championship series to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls 4-2. Karl’s record as Sonics coach was 384-150. He also is credited with helping elevate high-school basketball in Seattle by assisting with the Friends of Hoops program.
Johnson grew up outside Spokane and rode the winners of the Kentucky Derby in 1922 and 1926. He also had back-to-back victories in the Belmont Stakes in 1925-26. After he left the saddle, he was a trainer for Spokane native Bing Crosby, among others, Johnson is in the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame. He died in 1966.
LaBounty was a three-sport star at Prosser High School as Kelly Blair and is considered one of the best female athletes in state history. She was a two-time NCAA heptathlon champion at Oregon and finished eighth in the 1996 Olympics. She made the 2000 Olympic team but was unable to compete because of injuries. She is married to retired Seahawk Matt LaBounty, who played at Oregon.
Mazucca was a Stadium High of Tacoma graduate who pitched three of her career 35 no-hitters in the 1960 American Softball Association national tournament. She was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2007. She was a resident of Tigard, OR., when died March 27 at 78.
Dugdale was called “the father of professional baseball in Washington state” by the late Post-Intelligencer columnist Royal Brougham. The former major-league catcher organized the Pacific Northwest League, owned various teams in the early 20th century, and built ballparks, notably Dugdale Park. He died in 1934.
Induction ceremonies will take place at a future WSU home football game for some inductees, and the rest at Mariners game to be announced.
Photos and plaques of Sports Hall of Fame members are on display in the Tacoma Dome at the Shanaman Sports Museum.
George Karl? Are you kidding?
His smirk and ego aside, I was of the view that George Karl could take five guys off the street and within a few weeks have them competitive. He was a true teacher of the game and an excellent strategist. He also beat cancer (twice), as did his son.
George is a complicated guy. A generous man with his time and knowledge, and deeply insecure and self-destructive.
Thank you for mentioning George Karl’s support of youth and high school basketball. He wrote big checks to sponsor those programs long after he left the Sonics.