For the past 58 years, the Robert “Tick” Cloherty – Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has honored and inducted over 735 incredible men and women who have made a lasting impact in Pennsylvania through extraordinary athletic achievement and contributions. Whether these activities have been achieved on or off the field, we honor them here.

Jack Twyman

Year Inducted:1969

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After failing three times to make his team at Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the late 1940’s. He went on to be a star at the University of Cincinnati and averaged 19 points a game in an 11-year NBA career with the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals. He joined the Royals in 1956. Although not great friends, He became the legal guardian of teammate Maurice Stokes After stokes suffered a head injury in 1958 and was paralyzed the final final 12 years of his life.

Edward J. "Eddie" McCluskey

Year Inducted:1969

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Bob Friend

Year Inducted:1969

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(November 24, 1930 – February 3, 2019) was a right-handed big-league pitcher between 1951 and 1966 (197-230), most notably as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. A four-time All-Star (1956,1958, 1960), Friend was an integral member of the Pirates team that defeated the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series. Known as a workhorse pitcher who would go nine innings, he had 1,734 career strikeouts. With Vernon Law, especially in 1960, he was considered part of the best 1-2 combination in baseball. He played for the New York Yankees and New York Mets in his final season of 1966. As of 2019, he still held Pirates records for career innings pitched and strikeouts. He is the first man to lead the league in ERA while pitching for a last place team.

Dick Groat

Year Inducted:1969

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One of the finest athletes of his time. Groat played shortstop for the Pirates for nine years (1952, 1955-62), sparking the team to a world championship in 1960 when he led the team in hitting with a .325 average and was named MVP. Groat posted a .286 over his 14-year major league career, batting ,300 or better four times. A graduate of Swissvale High School Dick was an All-American In Baseball and Basketball at Duke University.
A six foot Guard, he led the nation in scoring his senior season, averaging 26 points per game. He played one season in the NBA before making baseball his career.

William McKechnie

Year Inducted:1968

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Lloyd James “Little Poison” Waner

Year Inducted:1968

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Lloyd James Waner (March 16, 1906 – July 22, 1982) nicknamed “Little Poison,” was a big-league center fielder. His small stature at 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) and 132 pounds (68 kg) made him one of the smallest players of his era. Along with his brother, Paul Waner, he anchored the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield throughout the 1920s and 1930s. After brief stints with four other teams (Braves, Reds, Phillies, Dodgers) late in his career, Waner retired as a Pirate. Waner finished with a batting average over .300 in ten seasons. He earned a selection to the All-Star game in 1938. Lloyd with 2,459 hits and Paul Waner with 3,152 hits set the record for career hits by brothers in major league baseball. Lloyd was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1967. He worked as a scout for the Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles after retiring as a player.

Dr Micheal Zernich

Year Inducted:1968

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Ferdinand Henry John "Fritzie" Zivic

Year Inducted:1968

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Ferdinand Henry John (Fritzie) Zivcich (Zivic) was an American boxer of Croatian descent who held the World Welterweight Championship from October 4, 1940 until July 29, 1941. As a young man, he followed the example of his four elder brothers who boxed and became known as the “Fighting Zivics”. He lost to Billy Conn, 1939 World Light-Heavyweight Champion, before 5,163 In a ten-round split decision at the Duquesne Gardens in Pittsburgh. In January 1939, Zivic defeated Jackie Burke, former Utah Intermountain and Pacific Southwest Welter-Weight title holder in 1939 and avenged a loss to former Junior Welterweight Champ Johnny Judick with a sixth round knockout. He defeated another Pittsburgh boxer, Sammy Angott in an elimination match to determine who would face Henry Armstrong for the World Welterweight Title noted above. Fritzie received a $3,200 Purse for his win, his biggest ever.

Maurice Stokes

Year Inducted:1967

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Maurice gained fame as a phenomenal high school player at Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse, graduating in 1951. He achieved college stardom at St. Francis College, where he scored 2,282 points. The 6- foot- seven, 270 pound Stokes played three years in the NBA and was rookie of the year in 1956 with the Rochester Royals. His career was cut short by a head injury suffered in the last game of the 1958 season. The injury resulted in a form of sleeping sickness that left him paralyzed until his death at the age of 36 in 1970.

Wilbur Cooper

Year Inducted:1967

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Wilbur Cooper (February 24, 1892 – August 7, 1973) was a big-league starting pitcher who played most of his career for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1912-24). A four-time winner of 20 games in the early 1920s, he was the first National League left-hander to win 200 games. In 1916 he set a team record, still unbroken, with a 1.87 earned run average. He won at least 17 games each year from 1917 through 1924, peaking with seasons of 24, 22 and 23 wins from 1920 to 1922, and led the league in starts and complete games twice each, and in wins, innings and shutouts once each. He worked quickly in his starts, often not getting the signal from his catcher until he had already begun his windup. He established NL records for left-handers – second only to Eddie Plank among all southpaws – for career wins (216), innings pitched (3466⅓) and games started (405); all were broken within several years by Eppa Rixey. His career earned run average of 2.89 is also the lowest of any left-hander with at least 3000 innings in the NL. He still holds the Pirates franchise records for career victories (202) and complete games (263); he also set club records, since broken, for innings (3,201), strikeouts (1,191), and games pitched (469). Cooper, who batted right-handed, was also a fine fielder and hitter. Fellow teammate Pie Traynor recalled that Cooper would often bat in the #8 slot when he was starting; in 1924, he batted .346 in 104 at bats. He had a career .239 average with 6 home runs and 106 RBI.

Dr. John Bain "Jock" Sutherland

Year Inducted:1966

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A native of Coupar Angus in Scotland, Sutherland got his start in football by playing end at the University of Pittsburgh, commonly known as Pitt, under legendary coach Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner. Sutherland was named an All-American and played on Pitt's national championship teams in 1915 and 1916.

Sutherland also played on Pitt's undefeated 1917 team. The 1917 team was known as "The Fighting Dentists" because on occasion every position was filled by dental students. Began his career as a Head Coach at Lafayette College and then going to the University of Pittsburgh where he coached his team to national prominence..

William "Billy" Conn

Year Inducted:1966

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In the Heavyweight championship fight for the Title in 1941 Conn, a light-heavyweight, was far ahead of Heavyweight Champion Joe Lewis before being knocked out in the 13th round.

James "Jim" Daniell

Year Inducted:1966

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Educated in the Mount Lebanon Public Schools, Kiski Prep School and Ohio State University in 1942. Was the captain of his high school team in 1935, Kiski Prep team in 1937 and Ohio State in 1939,’40.’41. He was named to several All-American Teams, and played in the East-West Shrine Game in 1942. Going in to the Navy, he played for Navy training station team in 1942.

Thomas "Tommy" Davies

Year Inducted:1966

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Tommy was an All-American at the University of Pittsburgh in 1918,’20 and ’21 gaining 4,620 yards. Assistant coached at the University of Pennsylvania. Head Coach at Geneva, Allegheny, Rochester University, Scranton University, and Western Reserve.

Johnny Woodruff

Year Inducted:1966

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John Woodruff, a former track standout at Connellsville High School, blazed into the record books with his Gold Medal victory in the 800 meters at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

In his high school days, Woodruff had wanted to play football, but his mother felt the practices took up too much of his time, so he was encouraged by a coach to join the track team.

Meanwhile, Woodruff had decided to quit school.

As he recalled, “This was Depression times and there was very little money in our house, so I figured if I could find some kind of job I could earn a little bit of money and help out at home. I quit school, but when I went looking for work, nobody was hiring. I was turned down everywhere. So I decided to go back to school.”

In spring, when it came time for track to begin, Coach Joseph “Pop” Larew approached Woodruff about trying the sport. His mother agreed, since he would be getting home earlier than he had in football and could get his chores done.

The first time he ever ran in scholastic competition, Woodruff won both the 880-yard and mile runs and, before he graduated in 1935, he owned new school, Fayette County, district and state records, plus, in 1935, he broke the national school mile record with a 4:23.4 winning time.

His athletic ability caught the attention of local schools and Pitt and Ohio State were at the top of his list.

“I was interested in Ohio State because Jesse Owens was there, but there were some business people in Connellsville who were also Pitt men and they got me a scholarship to Pitt. If it wasn't for that scholarship, I couldn't have made it. I was the only one from my family to go to college.”

Times were tough and Woodruff struggled to get by in college.

“I reported to Pitt with 25 cents in my pocket. Some people in Pittsburgh helped me get a room at the YMCA in the Hill District and I had to fight the bedbugs for sleeping space. Pitt track coach Carl Olson gave me $5 and since hamburgers were a nickel and hot beef sandwiches were 20 cents, I made that do a week.”

Woodruff was only a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh in 1936 when he placed second at the National AAU meet and first at the Olympic Trials, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. In one of the most exciting races in Olympic history, Woodruff became boxed in by other runners and was forced to stop running. He then came from behind to win in 1:52.9. The New York Times described the race:

He remembered the anguish of his Olympic race: “Phil Edwards, the Canadian doctor, set the pace, and it was very slow. On the first lap, I was on the inside, and I was trapped. I knew that the rules of running said if I tried to break out of a trap and fouled someone, I would be disqualified. At that point, I didn’t think I could win, but I had to do something.”

Woodruff was a 21-year-old college freshman, an unsophisticated and, at 6-foot-3, an ungainly runner. But he was a fast thinker, and he made a quick decision.

“I didn’t panic,” he said. “I just figured if I had only one opportunity to win, this was it. I’ve heard people say that I slowed down or almost stopped. I didn’t almost stop. I stopped, and everyone else ran around me.”

Then, with his stride of almost 10 feet (3.0 m), Woodruff ran around everyone else. He took the lead, lost it on the backstretch, but regained it on the final turn and won the gold medal.

It was another gold medal for the United States’ so-called Black Auxiliaries — the Nazis’ term for the black athletes — and another thorn in the side of Adolf Hitler, who greeted every white winner, but none of the blacks.

Every winner in the 1936 Olympics received an oak tree from the Black Forest of Germany, presented by the German government. John brought his home, and presented it to the city of Connellsville. It was planted at the south end of the city football stadium, where today it still stands more than 60 feet straight and tall.

During a career that was curtailed by World War II, Woodruff won one AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) title in the 800 meters in 1937 and won both the 440-yard (400 meter) and 880-yard (800 meter) IC4A titles from 1937 to 1939. Woodruff also held a share of the world 4x880-yard (800 meter) relay record while competing with the national team.

Woodruff graduated in 1939, with a major in sociology, and then earned a Masters Degree in the same field from New York University in 1941. He entered military service in 1941 as a Second Lieutenant and was discharged as a Captain in 1945. He reentered military service during the Korean War, and left in 1957 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was the battalion commander of the 369th Artillery, later the 569 Transportation Battalion New York Army National Guard.

Woodruff also worked as a teacher in New York City, a special investigator for the New York Department of Welfare, a recreation center director for the New York City Police Athletic League, a parole officer for the state of New York, a salesperson for Schieffelin and Co. and an assistant to the Center Director for Edison Job Corps Center in New Jersey.

He passed away on October 30, 2007 at the age of 92.

Chick Davies

Year Inducted:1965

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Chick Davies served as the head men’s basketball coach at Duquesne University from 1924 -1948, compiling a record of 314 – 106. His teams played in one NCAA Tournament and three National Invitation Tournament. He led Duquesne to the 1940 NCAA Final Four as well as the 1940 NIT championship game, where the Dukes lost to Colorado.

Frank "Butch" Snyder

Year Inducted:1965

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Frank “Butch” Snyder was the oldest of eight children born to German parents in Erie, PA He began working in bowling alleys in the early 1900’s. In 1918, he bowled his first tourney at age 31 and went on to maintain a 192 average while competing in ABC competition for 42 years. He and Mike Flick captured the 1927 ABC doubles title. Butch was a member of three state Championship teams.
He was a popular lane manager and was proprietor of the Commodore Bowling Alley in Erie for many years. In November, 1965, at the age of 78, he was recognized as a PA State All-Star. Butch finished his ABC career with an average of 190.83 in 46 years of competition.

Charles D. "Charley" Hyatt

Year Inducted:1964

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A Native of Syracuse, New York, Charley was an exceptional Shooter. Scoring a then outstanding 880 points throughout his career at the University of Pittsburgh. He was named an All- American three consecutive years and was the Helms Foundation Player- of-the-Year in 1930. The year he led the nation with a 12.6 points per game average.

Honus Wagner

Year Inducted:1964

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Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner (February 24, 1874 – December 6, 1955), nicknamed “Hans,” has the distinction of having the most expensive baseball card on the market – a T206 1909-11 by Sweet Caporal cigarettes. Wagner was also nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” due to his superb speed and German heritage. Perhaps the greatest right-handed hitter he had remarkably long arms. The greatest shortstop of MLB’s All Century Team, Wagner was also one of the greatest hitters of the century with a .329 batting average, 3,430 hits and all in the dead-ball era. His big-league career (1897-1917) started with the Louisville Colonels and with the Pittsburgh Pirates when they obtained his contract in 1900. In 1917 he played and managed the Pirates for the last five games of the season in 1917. His phenomenal career included eight National League batting titles (1900, 03, 04,06-09, 11), five-time RBI leader (1901,02,04,07,08), and five-time stolen base leader (1901,02,04,07,08). Honus was one of the original five induction members to the Baseball of Fame in 1936. He was a hitting coach for the Pirates from 1933 through 1952 and a beloved ambassador of the game. Wagner coached baseball and basketball at Carnegie Institute of Technology. Two biographies of Wagner are worthy for review: Honus Wagner: On His Life and Baseball by William Cobb (2006) and Honus Wagner A Biography by Dennis and Jeanne DeValeria (1998). According to Hall of Famer John McGraw, "It's too bad the present generation really has no adequate picture of Wagner, no complete impression of his greatness and genius."

Pete Dimperio

Year Inducted:1964

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Dimperio was born in 1905 in Pittsburgh, where he attended Fifth Avenue High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from Thiel College in Greenville and a master's degree in physician education from Springfield University in Illinois. He and his wife, Adeline, also had a daughter, Peggy. From 1946 to 1966, Dimperio had a record of 118 wins and five losses, and he took his foootball team to the City of Pittsburgh championship 21 years in a row and at the time was one of the most successful high school football coaches in America.