Sports Legends Museum

August 12, 2008 | Keith Melchior

The WNST 10th anniversary party Friday night was my first ever trip to the Sports Legends Museum. Funny how you live in a town all your life and rarely see all the sights it has to offer. I haven’t ridden the Ducks either, in case you care.

I was looking forward to meeting Bruno Sammartino. I last saw him in person as a kid going to the Civic Center to watch him wrassle Professor Toru Tanaka. He beat Tanaka in 35 seconds that night in a 1 fall or to curfew for Bruno’s title (oddly the match started at 1050pm) The wrestlers didn’t come thru the back door those days, they came thru the lobby on the Baltimore Street entrance and walked thru the crowd to get to the dressing rooms. Bruno came by and said hello to the fans, as did Killer Kowalski, Jimmy Valiant, and Baron Mikel Scicluna. Alas, I heard Bruno couldn’t make it Friday night. That was disappointment #1.

Disappointment #2 came when I walked thru the museum a few times.  There were lots of displays referencing the Blast, Orioles, Colts and Ravens but unless I missed them, I saw no references to the Baltimore Bullets or the Baltimore Clippers, Skipjacks or Bandits. They even had displays of the local colleges, including the University or Washington DC, as Charley Eckman called the University of Maryland.

I found it rather odd that quite a few legends played pro basketball and ice hockey here in Baltimore, yet they had no representation in this “museum” When you talk legends, you have to include all legends of all sports in your town.  I think the name should be changed to the Not-Quite Every Sports Legends Museum.

I guess I have to consider myself an old-timer now since I remember seeing those teams play in the 60s and 70s at the Civic Center. Names like Unseld, Monroe, Chenier, Carter, Clark, Shue, Loughery all with the Bullets. I’m sure some of you recall names like Jacques Plante, Gilles Boisvert, Howie Menard, Kent Douglas,  Gilles Villemure, Marc Dufour, Morris Stefaniw, Roberto Romano, Gary Rissling, JP LeBlanc, Olie Kolzig, Don Beaupre, Sean Pronger,  Mike Bales, and many others I can’t remember off the top of my head all played for the Clippers, Skipjacks or Bandits at one time or another. I’m sure there are lots of old Clippers, Jacks and Bandits  memorabilia floating around this area. Gil Boisvert still lives here as do Steve Wirth and Gary Rissling. I am sure they have contacts out there somewhere. I’m sure people would donate some of their prized possessions to this museum to share their memories with others who may not know ALL of our sports history, wouldn’t they?

Weren’t there also some golf legends that lived and played in this area at one time? When will there be a Michael Phelps, Kimmie Meissner and other famous local Olympic athletes exhibit?

To some they all are, or will be legends, right? Maybe not to the rest of the world, but to some of us who watched them live and play right here in Baltimore.

BTW, the 10th anniversary party was a nice time.