Every year, a special group of individuals is inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
These individuals have left their legacies on the Maine sports world.
But I don’t know if there will ever be a class with as many individuals who have had such a dramatic impact on the entire state in their respective sports as the class that was inducted this past Sunday:
Cindy Blodgett: Has anyone ever tried to figure the Clinton native’s mind-boggling financial impact, alone, on the University of Maine? The school-record 3,005-point scorer and All-American, in leading the Black Bears to four NCAA Tournament berths, filled the seats and created an electric atmosphere at the Alfond Arena that had been previously exhibited for just hockey. She was a human highlight reel.
The late Jack Butterfield: He made baseball important in the state thanks to his diligence and passion for the sport and his knowledge. The University of Maine’s third-place finish in the 1964 College World Series, accomplished without scholarships, put Maine on the map and paved the way for the future successes of John Winkin’s clubs. Butterfield was a terrific role model and teacher. He was as classy and dignified as they come and it is no surprise he became a high-ranking Yankee organization man.
George Hale: There is nobody who has done more to pioneer sports broadcasting and enable the state to embrace its sports heroes than Hale. His College World Series broadcasts will always be cherished. He’s one of the great story-tellers of all time.
Bob Kelley: One of the best coaches I have ever had the pleasure to play for. He transformed Bangor High into one of the state’s baseball powers by bringing out the best in his players, who revered him. His wit made every practice and game an enjoyable experience.
Jon MacDonald: The former Stearns High of Millinocket basketball great blazed a trail by being one of the first in-state athletes to play at a nationally-prominent school: the University of Maryland. Several more would follow in his footsteps.
Peter McCarty: His impact as a player and leader dramatically elevated Bangor High School from a two-win football program his first year into a state champion. The personable Fitzpatrick Award winner co-captained UMass and has compiled a distinguished coaching career at nine colleges including Maryland, Illinois, Stan-ford, Georgia Tech and currently as defensive line coach at Western Michigan.
Sam Pendleton: His remarkable soccer coaching career made Georges Valley High School in Thomaston a soccer power and, in doing so, created state-wide interest in the world’s most popular sport. He proved you didn’t have to play a sport to become a great coach in that sport if you are determined and willing to learn.
Ken Perrone: The man with unlimited charisma turned every program he touched into a winner, sometimes overnight. He made young men from all backgrounds want to play for him and be part of something very special. His 1970 state-champion Brewer High football was probably the best ever. He worked the same magic at Salem (Mass.) High.
Dick Scott: Undaunted by being a 17th-round draft pick, he not only won a World Series ring in his only major league season, he found his niche as a manager and is one of few Maine natives who has climbed the ladder into the front office of a major league franchise with Toronto as the director of player development. He also comes from one of the state’s greatest sports families with father Jack and brothers Mike and Tim.