AS HE SLIPPED
on the jacket to the flash of cameras and the applause of many Sunday evening, he would forever be known as a legend.
This was not the Green Jacket, perhaps the most famous jacket in the history of jackets.
This jacket was red, bright red. You could call it Jay red.
Pete Adkins became just the 25th Missouri Sports Legend on Sunday during a ceremony at Capitol Plaza sponsored by Central Bank, as he joins the likes of Stan Musial, Lou Brock, George Brett and Len Dawson.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Adkins said to the gathering of about 800, "I'm indebted to all of you, for the kind applause and for you being here for all of the inductees.
"We're different, we're a special breed up here. We're coaches, we're players."
Adkins won 405 games as a high school football coach, 354 of those with the Jefferson City Jays. A bronze bust of Adkins was unveiled, a bust that will be placed in the Walk of Legends at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield.
(For more on Pete's story, please go here: http://www.connectmidmissouri.com/news/story.aspx?id=854398
"Back when I first came to Jeff City (in 1958), people claimed I was recruiting," Adkins said. "Gov. Blair, Gov. Hearnes, my good friends were helping me out. That wasn't true.
"Because look here (Adkins scanned the other Hall inductees sitting at the main table) ... I missed Joe Crede, he was right down the road and I didn't get him, and he would have made a helluva tight end.
"And then over here, Tony Galbreath, just 23 miles away in Fulton ... I didn't get him. I would have loved to get into Bob Fisher's pocket and gotten him."
This was received with warm laughter.
"But we didn't do that, we did it the hard way," Adkins continued. "And the hard way, of course, is that we outworked everybody on our schedule, or at least we tried to."
Adkins' career started with a seven-year stint at Centralia.
"I coached football, basketball, track and sometimes golf," Adkins said, "and I taught six classes a day. I made a whopping 2,800 dollars a year.
"But our players learned how to work and they learned how to win. The same thing happened in Jeff City."
Adkins recognized his assistant coaches and several dozen former players who were attendance --- and who were along for this grand ride with the Jays.
"We felt like we could out-coach any team in the state of Missouri and around the Midwest," Adkins said, "and we did that most of the time. These coaches, along with our players, they knew that when we took the field, we were going to win.
"And you know, most of the time, our opponents also knew that. That's what made it so sweet on Friday nights.
"To the Jay fans and all the fun we've had together, I'd love to do it all again."
Wouldn't we all.
This should also be noted: It was announced by Jason Jett of Central Bank that the Pete Adkins Scholarship Fund now has a staggering bank account of $262,500.
Amazing. In some respects, Jay Pride is alive and well.
No jacket required.
JOE CREDE FOUND out he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame the only way fitting --- from a good friend and fellow Hall of Famer.
"I got a call on my cell phone as I was down planting in one of my bottoms," said Crede, now a farmer/cattle raiser in Westphalia. "I was on the tractor and I wondered: 'Who is this, now?'
"I looked at it, turned the tractor off ... I needed a break, anyway ... it was Tom Henke. So we spoke about farming and hunting and baseball, and how everything was going.
"And at the end of the conversation, he mentioned that I'd been selected to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame."
From the Taos Terminator to the Fatima Flash. Great stuff.
"I was taken aback, at first," he said. "After I hung up the phone, I thought to myself: 'What an honor it was to have the person who inspired me, and the person that made me realize it was possible to be a big-league baseball player as a guy coming from a small town --- to hear the news from him, well, that made it even more special."
During his playing days at Fatima, Crede led the Comets to three district titles and two trips to the Final Four. He holds a Missouri state record that will likely never be broken, when he hit three home runs in ONE INNING.
He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1996 and made his major league debut with the big club in 2000.
Playing third base, he slugged 22 homers and had 88 RBI in 2005 and helped the White Sox to the 2005 World Series championship. The following year, he won the Silver Slugger Award after batting .283 with 30 home runs and 92 RBI.
He was named to the 2008 All-Star team
and played in the last All-Star Game ever played at old Yankee Stadium.
"I've had successes, but I've had twice as many failures," Crede said modestly. "Baseball is not a game for the faint of heart."
Crede recalled a time when he was battling a slump.
"Ozzie Guillen, one of the most colorful managers of all time, was going to remind me --- in front of all my teammates --- just how bad I was going," Crede said.
"He came over to me before a game, put a hand on my shoulder and said loud enough for everyone to hear: 'Don't feel bad or sorry for yourself because you're going through a slump. I want you to feel bad and sorry for me.'"
Crede asked why.
"Ozzie said: 'Because I'm the one who keeps put your name in the lineup every day.'"
Crede played nine years for the White Sox and one year for the Minnesota Twins, before retiring after the 2009 season.
"I had a lot of ups and downs in my career," Crede said, "but I had one thing I could rely on, and that was my family. They were always there when I needed help.
"They made me realize that baseball was just a game, and that family was the most important thing in life."
The Fatima Flash is certainly no flash in the pan. He gets it. Just like all of the other inductees Sunday night, Crede is a Hall of Famer both on and off the field.
Whatever field he might be in.
AMONG THE OTHER inductees were Ray Hentges and the Helias wrestling program (Mike Jeffries). Belong is the link for their stories:
Dennis and Roberta Licklider were also inducted into the Hall for their successes with the Jefferson City track and field program. Here is the link for that story:
Bob Burchard has transformed the Columbia College men's basketball NAIA program into one of the best in the nation, and here is his story:
Here are bios for the other inductees:
One of the most decorated athletes in University of Missouri history, Bradley lettered in football from 1977-80, and in baseball in 1979-81. Bradley quarterbacked the Tigers to three bowl games. He was a three-time Big Eight Conference Offensive Player of the Year and set the conference total offense record at 6,459 yards, which stood for 10 years. In baseball, he starred as an outfielder on teams that won the Big Eight championship in 1980. He reached the Major Leagues with Seattle in 1983, and played with the Mariners through 1987. He was named to the 1985 American League All-Star Team, hitting a career-high 26 homers that season.
Raised in Fulton, Galbreath was an All-Big Eight running back in 1974 and team captain in 1975 at the University of Missouri. With more than 1,600 career rushing yards, Galbreath is the only back in Mizzou history that played just two years as a Tiger, but also ranks among the school's top-10 rushers. He played on a Super Bowl championship team with the New York Giants, and also saw NFL action with the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings. He is also a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.
Higgins was born and raised in Jefferson City. He spent seven years in the minor leagues before breaking into the majors with the White Sox in 1966. The righthander would later spend time with the Washington Senators, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. For his career, he compiled a 22â??23 record in 241 appearances, mostly as a relief pitcher.He retired in 1972 with a 3.42 ERA, 46 saves and 339 strikeouts.
DR. CHRIS LESLIE
A graduate of Jefferson City High School, Southern Methodist University and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Leslie was the team physician for the Camdenton R-III School District for 23 years. While providing on-field care for the schoolâ??s athletes, his practice soon expanded to providing medical care to playerâ??s families as well. Additionally, he worked with the local school district and community hospital in providing preventative sports medicine education. As an athlete, Leslie participated in the AAU swimming program throughout his high school years and then became a four-year letterman on the swim team at SMU in Dallas. He is the son of Hall of Fame member Dr. Jim Leslie.
Weber, an All-American pitcher for the Missouri Tigers, holds the lowest career ERA in NCAA history (0.56). During his senior season in 1964, he posted a 0.50 ERA and tallied a school record of 11 wins. He struck out 90 batters to lead Mizzou to a 26-5-1 overall record, advancing MU to the College World Series. His 11 victories that season stood as a record at MU for 44 seasons, until 2008. His strikeout total was also a school record for 26 seasons. In 1964, Weber, from Jefferson City, was All-Big Eight, All-District V and All-American. He was chosen as one of three pitchers to be on the United States Olympic baseball team in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Afterwards, Keith signed a contract with the New York Mets. Weber, who was inducted into the MU Hall of Fame in 1998, passed away in February, 2011.
LINCOLN TRACK AND FIELD PROGRAM
Under the guidance of coach Victor Thomas, the Lincoln University Track program has sprinted to tremendous success. The womenâ??s program has won 10 NCAA National Championships, the first coming in 2003 at the outdoor national championships when Thomas' athletes won seven events, one short of the record for first-place finishes at the Division II level. The program has produced 73 national champions, 26 relay champions at the national level 5 MIAA Championships since returning to the conference in the fall of 2010, and over 580 All-Americans.