Tillie Valus Pekarcik

Induction Year : 1984

Sport: Softball

From the late 1920s through the mid ’30s, her booming home runs earned her the title of the Babe Ruth of women’s fast-pitch softball. Helped lead Fleming Furniture and Blepp-Coombs teams to state championships while starring not only at bat but in the field, playing second base and excelling on double play pivots.

Roger Peckinpaugh

Induction Year : 1984

Sport: Baseball

A major league shortstop for 17 seasons, Roger Peckinpaugh played for the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Washington Senators and Chicago White Sox between 1910 and 1927. Played in three World Series with the Yankees (1921) and the Senators (1924, 1925). Managed the Indians from 1928 until mid-1933 when he was promoted to general manager. Returned to manage the team for the 1941 season.

Pete Rademacher

Induction Year : 2007

Sport: Boxing

There are records and there are DiMaggio’s 56 and Cy Young’s 511; the virtually untouchables. And then there is Pete Rademacher’s mark. It will never be beaten. The best anyone could ever do is match it. After winning the 1956 Olympic heavyweight boxing champion, Pete became the first, and still only, boxer in history to fight for the championship of his division in his first professional match. There is no fairytale ending to the story; although he was knocked down in the second round, defending champion Floyd Patterson bounced up to win on a 6th round TKO in their 1957 bout.  But the fact that the match took place at all is still a topic of wonder among fight fans. So, for that matter, is Rademacher. A star varsity boxer and two-year football starter at Washington State in 1950-51, he was not without experience as an amateur, winning four Seattle Golden Gloves titles, the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1953 and the Chicago Golden Gloves and All-Army and All-Service championships in 1956 before qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team. In Melbourne, he won all three of his Olympic bouts by knockout, earning the gold medal with a first round win over favored Russian opponent Lev Moukhine in a highly charged atmosphere. Soon after, he began negotiating for his improbable shot at the professional heavyweight crown. Amazingly, he was able to pull it off by enlisting backers to post a $250,000 guarantee. After the Patterson bout he would go on to fight 22 more times as a pro, winning 14 (8 by knockout) and losing 7 before retiring in 1962. Two of those bouts were at the Cleveland Arena and both ended in victory. Afterwards he went into business at Keifer-McNeil in Akron, retiring as its president in 1987, and frequently refereed boxing matches in Northeast Ohio. For over 40 years he has made his home in Medina.

William Reith

Induction Year : 1996

Sport: Fencing

William Reith learned to fence quickly and well at Fenn College in the mid-60’s, winning the All-Ohio epee title and finishing fourth in the Midwest Championships as a junior and going 41-7 as a senior. He continued in Open competition after graduation and competed on U.S. World Championship teams in 1974, 1975 and 1977 and as a member of the 1975 gold medal winning USA Pan-American Games epee team. He won the title of U.S. Fencing Masters national Senior Olympics Epee Champion. A successful coach, he developed fellow Hall of Fame inductees Steve Trevor and Jon Normile and now coaches the Cleveland State men’s and women’s fencing teams.

Jon Normile

Induction Year : 1996

Sport: Fencing

One of Greater Cleveland’s most accomplished fencing products, Jon Normile competed in epee for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1992 in Barcelona and was an alternate on the 1988 and 1996 teams. He was U.S. National Epee Champion in 1988 and 1991, National Junior Olympic Epee Champion in 1987 and at Columbus University in 1988. In addition, he won the silver medal in the 1991 Pan- American Games and was the 1996 silver medalist in the U.S. National Fencing Championships. A native of Berea, he is a graduate of Berea High School.

Roger Penske

Induction Year : 1999

Sport: Auto Racing

Born and raised in Shaker Heights where he attended Shaker Heights High, Roger Penske developed a love of cars and speed which launched a career leading to his emergence as one of the most influential figures in the history of auto racing. During his short span of six years as a driver, for which he is honored by the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, he won a total of 34 road racing titles, driving Porsche, Fiat, Maserati, Cooper, Ferrari and Chaparral machines, and was named Sports Illustrated’s Driver of the Year in 1962. After tabling his own competitive driving to concentrate on responsibilities in an expanding business empire, he launched Team Penske, the most successful team in the history of championship car racing. Team Penske established records for most victories (99), national championships (9) and Indianapolis 500 victories (10).

Sam Rutigliano

Induction Year : 2009

Sport: Football

It seemed that Sam Rutigliano never met a person he didn’t like.  And if he ever did, it’s likely he still found time to talk to them.  Unlike too many of the football coaches at this time, Rutigliano was as outgoing and gregarious as any coach the Cleveland Browns have ever had during his tenure as head coach from 1978 to 1984.  While his Cleveland coaching ledger might show a 47-50 record, the entire North Coast is forever linked with Rutigliano’s 1980 Kardiac Kids team.  The silence was deafening on that bitter Sunday after Red Right 88 wound up as the heartbreaking interception that ended the Cleveland season, but Rutigliano has done more than his share to put the game and life in perspective since then.  When the NFL was drifting into society’s infatuation with cocaine in the 1980’s, Rutigliano made his most important off-the-field call by establishing the team’s anonymous support group, the Inner Circle.  It remains more important to Sam than any win or loss.  The native of Brooklyn N.Y., whose East Coast accent has become familiar in these parts, put together a football resume that included playing college football at Tennessee and Tulsa, high school in New York. college coaching at Connecticut, Maryland and Tennessee, and NFL positions with Denver, New England, the New York Jets and New Orleans before taking the Browns head coaching job.  After doing some broadcasting work, he was served as the head coach at Liberty University for 11 seasons until 1999.  Now we see and hear him on local radio and television shows as he dissects the home team.  It would have been nice to get one more win at the end of that long ago special season, but Rutigliano has shown himself to be a special winner when it comes to the courageous matters in life.

Kirk Reid

Induction Year : 1976

Sport: Tennis

Two-time winner of the National Clay Court Father-Son Doubles Championships and a National Clay Court champion in the Senior 45 doubles, Kirk Reid won ten Greater Cleveland singles crowns and 12 doubles titles between 1920 and 1932. He also captured 20 Ohio and New York State or Regional championships, plus approximately 60 lesser titles. Kirk ranked as high as 13th nationally in men’s singles, third in Senior 45 singles, fifth in father-son doubles and sixth in Senior 45 doubles.

Helen Perry

Induction Year : 1976

Sport: Swimming & Diving

Helen Perry was the U.S. national AAU 100-yard backstroke champion in 1939 and 1941, setting an American record in 1940 and breaking that record in 1941. She won national junior championships in diving, backstroke, the 150-yard individual medley and the 100-yard freestyle during an illustrious career that stamped her as one of the most successful female athletes to come out of Cleveland. Helen was named the Outstanding Athlete in Northeastern Ohio District by the AAU in 1937 and 1941.

Judy Norton

Induction Year : 1976

Sport: Swimming & Diving

Judy Norton was the U.S. national junior 100-meter backstroke champion in 1961 and a member of the national indoor championship 4 x 100-yard freestyle relay team for the American Swim Team in 1962 and 1963. She was a member of the U.S. Pan-American Games Swim Team, and was named Athlete of the Year by the Cleveland Athletic Club in 1963.