August 07, 2017
By: Steve Degler
I previously mentioned in my last blog that I had vacationed with my family in Nashville this summer. In addition to all the music and history in the city, I discovered that the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame was also located in the state capitol. It is part of Bridgestone Arena, the downtown home of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
The first thought was, how do I make time to get there? I can’t pass up a sports hall of fame just blocks from our hotel, right? Fortunately (for me anyway!) I’m not much of a shopper. While my wife and daughter were checking out some stores, I headed for the arena and I’m glad I did.
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is not huge but it is packed with history. It’s not just the mainstream sports that are highlighted and it’s not only professional and college sports. I was impressed with the variety of history, photos and memorabilia on display. High school, Olympics, golf and so many more sports are all recognized.
Back in the day when I was a NASCAR fan, Darrell Waltrip was my favorite driver. You can see one of DW’s racing suits in the hall. Ross Grimsley was the pitching coach for the Reading Phillies for two seasons in the late 90’s and we have remained friends. I knew he was from Memphis but I had no idea he was the 1979 Tennessee “Pro Athlete of the Year.” I immediately sent him a picture of the plaque on display. He knew exactly where I was.
What really caught my attention was a pair of basketball uniforms that are connected to the Lehigh Valley. Michelle Marciniak was a 3,000-point scorer at Allentown Central Catholic High School. She won multiple National Player of the Year accolades while playing for the Vikettes. She eventually made her way to Knoxville to play for the legendary Pat Summit at the University of Tennessee. One of Marciniak’s #3 Volunteers jerseys is on display. In another area of the hall, you will find her #12 Nashville Noise uniform. The Noise were members of the professional American Basketball League. I thought it was pretty cool to have ventured that far and I still found a connection to home.
Admission to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is only $3.00. If you buy a Music City Total Access Pass, admission to the hall is included. If you are heading to Music City, go enjoy the honky tonks and music history so prevalent in the city. But don’t forget about the sports history, too! For more information visit www.tshf.net