With the induction of five more outstanding people Thursday evening, the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame honor roll now stands at 10.
Toots Barger, Doc Bartlinski, the late Al Laramore, Jim Spencer and Dr. Stuart Walker were enshrined Thursday at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, joining last year's inductees: Charlie Eckman, Betty Hallmark, Daffy Russell, Lloyd Keaser and Gordon "Babe" Phelps.
All 10 now have plaques with their likenesses and jTC accomplishments hanging in the county Hall of Fame shrine room at Michael's.
The second annual Hall of Fame banquet, with the proceeds going into a county youth sports fund, drew about 350 people.
Serving as master of ceremonies for the second straight year, Keith Mills, the WMAR-TV sportscaster, said that "when it comes to sports, no one can top Anne Arundel County."
Capital-Gazette sportswriter Bill Wagner presented Barger for induction, citing the 13-time world champion duckpin bowler's lifelong crusade to promote her sport.
"Toots used her stature as a renowned competitive bowler to elevate her sport," said Wagner. "Her efforts to promote her sport made her rise above many others in the duckpin bowling world. For the past 35 years, Anne Arundel County has been privileged to serve as home for the greatest duckpin bowler ever."
Barger, 79, was inducted into the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1961 and is a charter member of the National Duckpin Hall of Fame.
In her acceptance speech, Barger said she was proud to represent women bowlers and added that "it's a wonderful sport for children, you cannot be too young or too old to bowl."
I had the privilege of introducing Bartlinski, who has spent more than 40 years coaching and treating young athletes free of charge. Bartlinski, who celebrated his 67th birthday Friday, still is coaching with the Andover Apaches' 95-pound football team.
Bartlinski coached his four sons and his grandsons. Joe Bartlinski V, the son of Joe IV, is the grandson being coached by Doc on the Apache team.
Bartlinski started the Brooklyn Homes athletic program for 250 youths in 1948 after serving in World War II and went on to coach the Brooklyn Blue Devils football team (25-1 in two years), the Baltimore Broncos semipro football team (three championships
in six years), the Hazelton, Pa., Mustangs semipro team, and several youth teams.
Mount St. Joseph and Archbishop Spalding were among the high schools he coached. He started the Spalding program in 1984.
In 1951, Bartlinski started his chiropractic business in Brooklyn and remains president of the company, which with sons Joe and Eddie has expanded to another office in Glen Burnie. Early on he dabbled in sports medicine and became a pioneer in the profession.
His compassion for his fellow man and tireless efforts to help everyone who needed help without recognition puts the man in a class by himself. It's doubtful if you could find anyone who would utter a bad word about the man.
His acceptance was truly indicative of the incredibly humble demeanor of the man.
After briefly thanking the committee for the honor, Bartlinski said, "All I can say is, thank you and I appreciate everybody who did come here to honor fellow inductees. Well, thank you."
Laramore, the only Maryland high school coach to win major championships in three sports (football, basketball and lacrosse), died in 1989 of a heart attack after coaching and teaching at Annapolis for 26 years.
Longtime Annapolis assistant football coach Bill Phebus and Laramore's best friend, Andy Borland, the head football coach at Severna Park, co-presented Laramore's accomplishments.
In 22 years as coach of the Panthers' football team, Laramore compiled a record of 156-66-2 (.698), including a 12-0 state championship campaign in 1978. That was the last year a county team won a state title in football.
Phebus cited Laramore as a motivator and disciplinarian. Borland spoke of the man's convictions and family values that prompted the coach to name his offensive plays after his wife, Dorothy, and two sons, Dan and Dave, who later would play for him.
"He was my teacher and a great friend of mine, and I'm really proud that you're honoring him tonight," said Borland.
Dorothy and Dave accepted Laramore's plaque. The coach's wife said, "Coaching and teaching young men and young people was one of Al's greatest loves, and he really would have been pleased to receive this recognition here tonight. Thank you very much."
Lew Holmes, president of the Anne Arundel Amateur Baseball Association, presented Spencer. Holmes said that not only was Spencer a great major-league first baseman for 15 years with the California Angels, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Oakland A's, but a great person as well.
Holmes said Spencer never forgot where he came from and always was willing to return home to Andover High and Anne Arundel County when he was playing, and in retirement, to help raise money for youth sports.
Spencer thanked three of his former mentors who helped him along the way and who have passed away -- his basketball coach at Andover, Dick Hart, Sheriff Fowble his 16-and-under baseball coach in Baltimore, and Billy Martin, his major-league manager three different times in his career.
Also paying tribute to his dad and granddad for their guidance, Spencer thanked a seventh man for his success.
"He helped me with my physical problems in the off-season and never charged me a nickel while I was in high school and professional baseball, and I owe a lot to him," said Spencer. "I am so honored and pleased to go in the Hall of Fame tonight with Doc [Bartlinski]. Thank you so much for what you did for my career, Doc."
The Rev. Carl Harris presented the internationally famous sailor Walker, saying that, "it's the joy and enthusiasm in everything he does is what is so important. Stuart is the most alive person I know."
Walker, who was a member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic sailing team and winner of many international races, supported that claim with an ecstatic acceptance, thanking the Hall of Fame Committee and saying: "To be honored at home is the greatest privilege, and I'm particularly proud to be in this group of inductees. To be a part of this group is a great honor and great pleasure."