Local athletes up for Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame

| Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This year, the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will celebrate a milestone when it inducts its annual class as the organization turns 50 years old.

And that event could certainly have a strong local flavor.

There are several individuals from the area who are among the list of nominees for the Class of 2012.

Included in that list are Dale Hamer, Sam Havrilak, Ron Necciai, Bruce Dal Canton, Abe Everhart and Robert "Red" Worrell.

This year's event will be hosted by the Western Pennsylvania Chapter and will be held Nov. 11 at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Warrendale.

Here is a brief synopsis of the local nominees:

> > Hamer, a graduate of Bellmar High School and a Fairhope native who now lives in Murrysville, served as an NFL official from 1978 through 2001. He also worked as a replay official in 2002.

> > Havrilak, a Monessen High School graduate who went on to star at Bucknell as a quarterback, played six years in the NFL (1969-74) with the Baltimore Colts and New Orleans Saints. Havrilak played quarterback, wide receiver, running back and special teams. He also played in Super Bowl V for the Colts. He is now a dentist living in Baltimore.

> > Necciai graduated from Monongahela and lives in Rostraver Township. He pitched for the Pirates, but his real claim to fame came on May 13, 1952, when he struck out 27 batters in a 9-inning no-hitter for the Bristol (Va.) Twins against the Welch (W. Va.) Miners in the Appalachian League. His career also included several standout sandlot seasons.

> > Dal Canton was a California native who died in 2009. After graduating from California High School, he went on to play collegiately at California State College and then enjoyed an 11-year career as a pitcher in the major leagues with the Pirates and Kansas City. He also worked as a coach and manager in the Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves organizations. He was involved in professional baseball from 1967 until his death.

> > Everhart was one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in Pennsylvania history. In 29 years at Uniontown, he guided the Raiders to a record of 549-149, winning four WPIAL and two PIAA titles along the way.

> > Worrell was a multi-sport star at Centerville High School in the 1950s. He started for four years in football, basketball, baseball and track before graduating in 1957. He was named a first team Scholastic All-American in 1956 and was the WPIAL Player of the Year in football in 1955 and 1956. He set the state shot put and discus records in track. He went on to play football at Penn State, where he led the freshmen team to a 6-0 record. He was killed in an accident at his home on Dec. 22, 1957. In 1958, the Red Worrell Memorial Award was introduced and goes to the most improved player at Penn State.

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1962 to perpetuate the memory of athletes, male or female, who have brought lasting fame and recognition to the State of Pennsylvania through their athletic achievements.

Some of the Hall of Famers enshrined by the organization include area natives Ken Griffey Sr., Lou "Bimbo" Cecconi, Fred Cox, Arnold "Pope" Galiffa, Bill Malin-chak, Bap Manzini, Myron Pottios, Jim Russell, John Luckhardt and Dick Haley.

Cecconi was among the 2011 inductees that also included Blair Thomas, Troy Vincent and Vince Papale.

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