When speaking with fellow Texans and referring to Atlanta, Texas you often times get the response that “We didn’t know there was an Atlanta in Texas”.
You then reply with a description of just where Atlanta is located on the map of the Lone Star state. However, in other instances their reaction is “oh yes, we know about those Rabbits, y’all have been really good in sports”.
The latter response is exactly why the Atlanta Athletics Hall of Fame has been established. Recognizing and carrying on a storied tradition over the last hundred plus years is our purpose.
Over the last five weeks, the Citizens Journal has run five articles concerning four Atlanta athletes and a coach who deserve the honor of being in the inaugural class of inductees.
A committee of seven Atlanta citizens made the selections based on their knowledge of Atlanta sports history and some careful research. The committee desired to go back in time as far as possible to determine those early great athletes.
This led us to our first major league baseball player, Hubbard Northen who made the “Bigs” in 1910. Then following World War I service, the Father of Atlanta football, Coach Ed Rabb in whose honor the Rabbits mascot came about.
Lewis “Bear” Allday was next as the first hometown football star who went on to national fame with Centenary College in the late 1920’s and then in baseball with the Texas League.
A member of the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, Jimmie Lee “Earthquake” Hunt, originally starred during the mid 1950’s for Booker T. Washington High School. He played for Prairie View A&M and had a fabulous 12-year career in professional football as a defensive lineman.
Our female pick came from the more recent years. Sarah Haydel Carter had a stellar cross country and track career with the Lady Rabbs in the late 1990’s. As a young distance phenom she earned the runner-up spot in State cross country. Running at the State track meet in the old venue at Texas Memorial Stadium she twice swept the 1600 and 3200 meter distance runs to earn four gold medals.
Our criteria for induction has been simple: the student-athlete must have lettered in a high school sport, performed in an outstanding manner at whatever sports level, have been out of high school for 10 years and be an exemplary citizen.
We have an abundance of super athletes to pick from and entry will be very competitive. Our plan is to involve the public next year by seeking nominations.
Then each nominee will continue to be among nominees even if not selected on their first round.
Plaques highlighting each inductee’s accomplishments will be placed in the entrance hallway under the press box at Rabbit Stadium. Lettering above the plaques will be Atlanta Athletics Hall of Fame.
An induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Sept. 14, at the Atlanta Rabbits – Pleasant Grove Hawks football game. Hopefully this event will draw a good crowd as Pleasant Grove comes in as the defending 4A Div. II State Champs.
The Hall of Fame should carry on our most outstanding athletic traditions and be a motivator for young athletes coming up through the years. In the past 30 years Atlanta’s sports achievements have been numerous.
During these three decades, football has produced a State finalist (1994) and State Champions (2003). Baseball earned a State crown in 1998 and track has added six State winners beginning in 1989.
Such athletic feats rank us among the best athletic programs in Texas. A number of schools and towns with less to brag about have a Hall of Fame.
Now we have one as well. Our hope is that you will take pride in and support it now and in the years to come.
We hope the Atlanta public and every sports fan will help with their donation of funds. All donations will be tax exempt. Checks made out and addressed to Atlanta Athletics HOF can be sent to P.O. Box 637 in Atlanta.
Please help us make this a first class endeavor as we honor the athletes who have achieved so much over more than a century of competition.