The Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame

Our mission is to celebrate Marylanders’ outstanding athletic accomplishments and promote the ideals as well as the traditions of Maryland athletics and its athletes.

About the Hall of Fame

Our Mission

To celebrate Marylanders’ outstanding athletic accomplishments and promote the ideals as well as the traditions of Maryland athletics and its athletes.

The Annual Induction Banquet

Each fall, the MDSAHOF holds its induction banquet to celebrate and honor the class of inductees. The class of inductees are announced each summer with the induction banquet being held in early November.

We Are a Charitable Organization

The Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame (MDSAHOF) is a tax-exempt, charitable organization formed under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code chartered by Congress and organized under the laws of the State of Maryland. Donations to the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame are tax-deductible as charitable contributions for U.S. federal income tax purposes. There are no donation limits or restrictions on contributions to the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame.

A Rich History

In 1956, under the sponsorship of the M Club Foundation, the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame (MDSAHOF) inducted its first class of “all-stars” and what a class it was: the inductees included the first modern Olympic champion in discus throw and shot put, Robert Garrett, and baseball greats Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Frank “Home Run” Baker.

They were inducted at the M Club’s sixth annual banquet on Dec. 13, 1956, at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. Bucky Miller served as chairman and Dr. Jonas E. Salk, the inventor of the flu vaccine, was the recipient of our Distinguished Citizen Award.

The Hall of Fame’s list of native-born — and more recently, “adopted” — Maryland sons and daughters has been growing ever since thanks to a group of individuals who has worked relentlessly as part of the MDSAHOF board of directors over the past 66 years to ensure the heritage of Maryland’s (and in some cases the world’s) highest athletic achievers. For the first 34 years of the MDSAHOF’s existence, its activities were overseen by the M Club Foundation at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 1956, Charley Ellinger was named president of the M Club Foundation and served as the organization’s first leader until 1963, when D. Chester O’Sullivan became the MDSAHOF’s chairman.

O’Sullivan was a man committed to sports. He was the longtime chairman of the Maryland State Athletic Commission and he gained recognition for his efforts to make boxing safer. He led the MDSAHOF for 33 years, until 1996.

During his tenure, the MDSAHOF was recognized in 1990 by a resolution of the Maryland General Assembly as the state’s official sports Hall of Fame. Under O’Sullivan’s leadership, athletes from 26 different sports, from the traditional baseball, football, and basketball to the less familiar skeet shooting, badminton, and jousting were among those inducted into the Hall.

In the 1960s, the Hall of Fame had its then induction luncheons at The Johns Hopkins Club on the university’s campus. It moved to Martin’s West in the 1980s and at that time a relationship was forged with the Babe Ruth Museum under the direction of current MDSAHOF board member Mike Gibbons. Gibbons, also the Babe Ruth Museum director, worked extensively with longtime sportscaster Vince Bagli and O’Sullivan to establish a permanent home for the MDSAHOF.

In 2005, under the leadership of longtime board member Jack Scarbath, who became MDSAHOF chairman in 1996, the Sports Legends Museum, then at Camden Yards, agreed to host the archives and collection of the Hall of Fame. “It was a $130,000 installation featuring a bio on each HOF inductee plus a large display case containing [MDSAHOF] artifacts,” Gibbons said. “The museum raised the balance of the gallery cost.”

Using biographical sketches and photographs of the more than 200 athletes inducted into the Hall, the museum, which is now seeking a new location, told the stories of the state’s greatest athletes, from auto racing to yachting.

“I thought I could bring to light various athletes from the past who should have been recognized by the people of Maryland,” said Scarbath, the Maryland Terrapin football All-American, recalling his days leading a Hall of Fame board that included Bagli; newspaper columnist John Steadman; Ed Athey, athletic director at Washington College; O’Sullivan; Tom Scott, college football Hall of Famer; and Bob Scott, athletic director at Johns Hopkins.

In November 2005, with the guidance of Sen. Mike Wagner, the annual induction banquet was moved to Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. That 2005 event included the induction of Cal Ripken Jr. and was emceed by media stars Pat O’Malley and Keith Mills. Pete Gilbert of WBAL-TV took over the emcee role in 2012. 

Scarbath, who died in 2020, stepped down after the 2006-07 ceremony and the MDSAHOF did not have another induction until 2011. That year the MDSAHOF leadership came into the hands of a new chairman, legendary high school baseball coach Bernie Walter. He recruited a new diverse board, which included the first woman (retiring Sun sportswriter Sandra McKee) and African Americans like former football stars Darryl Hill and Jean Fugett. Walter described the reorganized board as “a diverse group of doers, who are leaders in various components of Maryland sports. They are tirelessly working to maintain the memories of Maryland’s greatest athletes.”

Walter served as chairman until late 2016 when the mantle was passed to Steve Doherty, vice president of Loomis, Sayles & Co. Walter remained a board member until his death in 2021.

2020 and 2021 were lost to the coronavirus pandemic, but the banquet resumed in 2022 with Doherty and his MDSAHOF board more determined than ever to honor Maryland athletics and athletes.

Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame
3601 E. Joppa Road | Baltimore, MD 21234
E: | P: 410-931-8100 | F: 410-931-8111

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