Three Native Kentuckians to be Inducted into Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame
Pete Browning, Anna May Hutchison, Clarence Wilson Comprise Class of 2020
Louisville, Ky. – Feb. 4, 2021 – Three native Kentuckians from the bygone era have been selected as the 2020 class of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame fueled by the Kentucky Lottery (KSHOF). Comprising the 43rd KSHOF class are: Pete Browning, one of the most dominant hitters in the early days of major league baseball in the late 1800s and namesake of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat; Anna May Hutchison, a record-setting sidearm pitcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) during the World War II era; and Clarence “Cave” Wilson, a prep and collegiate basketball star at all-black schools and at the time, the longest-tenured player-coach for the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1950-60s.
The announcement was made today by the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC), owners and operators of the KSHOF.
The 2020 KSHOF class was honored at a press briefing on Feb. 4, 2021, at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in downtown Louisville.
“Pete Browning, Anna May Hutchison and Clarence Wilson are fabulous additions to the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame,” said LSC President and CEO Karl F. Schmitt Jr. “All three were superstars in their chosen profession and we’re thrilled to recognize their contributions to sports and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. And we are thankful for the financial support from our primary sponsor that goes a long way in ensuring the KSHOF continues to recognize women and men who exceled at the highest levels.”
“It’s our honor to be a part of this terrific endeavor, and we’re excited to be the title sponsor of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame fueled by the Kentucky Lottery,” said Mary Harville, president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery. “I’m a proud life-long Kentuckian, have lived here all my life and am a graduate of the University of Kentucky. Many of the inductees in the Hall also attended high school and college here in Kentucky. All this ties in perfectly with our mission of helping make the dream of higher education available to Kentucky students, as lottery proceeds in the Commonwealth fund college scholarship and grant programs, including every dollar ever awarded in the popular KEES scholarship program.”
Louisville native Pete Browning was a star for Louisville’s major league baseball teams in the 1880s and 1890s when he won three batting titles and compiled a .341 / .403 / .467 lifetime batting line.
“Hillerich & Bradsby Co. tips its cap to the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame for inducting Pete Browning, one of baseball’s earliest, greatest and most underappreciated superstars,” said Anne Jewell, vice president and executive director of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. “His accomplishments on the diamond are remarkable, and his tie to the beloved Louisville Slugger brand is undeniable. Bestowing this honor upon him rightfully places Browning in the line-up of Kentucky’s sports legends.”
Louisville native Anna May Hutchison was a star pitcher in the AAGPBL, made famous in the movie A League of Their Own.
“Seventy-five years ago this spring, a young woman was approached by her manager to demonstrate a sidearm pitching motion for the president of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League,” said Dr. Kat D. Williams, president of the International Women’s Baseball Center. “By season’s end, Louisville’s Anna May Hutchison had rewritten the record books for pitchers in the AAGPBL, including pitching the league’s only nine-inning no-hitter in an astonishing 51 appearances. She was honored as an All-Star and led her Racine (WI) Belles to their second league championship in just four years. ‘Hutch’ was a champion, and it is fitting that she is being recognized a part of Kentucky’s sport heritage.”
After turning down an opportunity to play professional baseball, Horse Cave native Clarence Wilson traveled the world playing and coaching the Harlem Globetrotters.
“Our dad would be honored to have been recognized for achievements that he viewed as nothing more than natural gifts,” said Clarence Wilson Jr., spokesperson for the family. “He never once bragged about his unique skills or wins in sports; he just played for the love of the game. Abe Saperstein (founder and earliest coach of the Harlem Globetrotters) called, which began a 15-year career playing basketball around the world for a kid from Horse Cave, Ky.”
“Clarence was among the best to ever wear the Globetrotters red, white and blue around the world, representing not only his team with pride, but his home state of Kentucky,” said Harlem Globetrotters EVP and General Manager Jeff Munn. “We are thankful for his 15 years with the Globetrotters, as he epitomized our excellence in basketball and ongoing ambassadorial efforts. Congratulations to Clarence’s family and friends for this esteemed honor.”
The KSHOF Class of 2020:
Pete Browning – Louisville native Pete Browning (R-R) was a star for Louisville’s major league baseball teams in the 1880s and 1890s – the Eclipse and the Colonels – and one of the most dominant hitters of his time. During Browning’s course of 13 major league seasons, from 1882 through 1894, the bulk of that in Louisville in the American Association and later four years in the National League, he compiled a .341 / .403 / .467 lifetime batting line. He won three batting titles, including 1887 when he hit .402 with 220 hits, 118 RBI and 103 stolen bases. He was a model of consistency at the plate, finishing in the top 10 nine times in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. He also was known for extra base hits, finishing in the top 10 eight times in doubles, three times in home runs and twice in triples. Browning played in 1,183 games, had 4,820 at-bats and his career .341 batting average is 13th best of all time in the majors. At the age of 32, he hit .355 in his last full season in the majors. Early in his career, Browning was central to a bat-making episode that became part of baseball legend. Bud Hillerich, then an apprentice at his father’s woodworking shop in Louisville, made a bat for Browning that he used the next day to produce three hits. This event and Browning’s nickname (“The Louisville Slugger”) propelled Hillerich & Bradsby Co. into the baseball arena and led to the famous Louisville Slugger bat. Browning died in Louisville in 1905 at the age of 44.
Anna May Hutchison – Born in Louisville in 1925, Hutchison (R-R) played six seasons in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), made famous by the Hollywood movie A League of Their Own. She played the first five seasons with the Racine Belles (1944-48) and the final year (1949) with Muskegon. Nicknamed “Hutch,” she was a catcher the first two years then made the move to sidearm pitcher, and in 1946 and 1947 she became one of the most dominant and prolific pitchers in league history. In 1946, she threw a no-hitter, led the league with a 26-14 record and guided her team to the post-season championship by pitching in eight of the 10-post season games and recording three wins. In 1947, she set records for most wins (27), most shutouts (12) and most innings pitched (360), and pitched two, 19-inning games. She pitched for two more years; her career was then cut short by injuries. Prior to the AAGPBL, Hutchison played soccer and softball in the Girls Athletic Association during her years at Louisville Girls High School and later was a pitcher/catcher/all-around player for the Camera Corner softball team that won the Louisville city championship. Her team participated in a regional tournament in Ft. Wayne, Ind., where she was spotted by AAGPBL scout A.J. Hamilton. She was invited to participate in the AAGPBL spring training in 1944 in Peru, Ill., and was rewarded with a contract. Following her baseball career, Hutch was an avid golfer and bowler and taught elementary school in Kenosha, Wis. She later moved to Racine where she passed away in 1998 at age 72.
Clarence “Cave” Wilson – Born in 1926 in Horse Cave, Ky., Wilson parlayed a stellar basketball career at an all-black high school and all-black college into a leadership role with the Harlem Globetrotters that took him around the world more than a dozen times. While a student, Wilson convinced the principal of the Horse Cave Colored School to field a basketball team in the early 1940s, then led Horse Cave to consecutive undefeated seasons, back-to-back Kentucky black high school titles and 65 consecutive victories before a loss in the finals of the first National All-Black Basketball Tournament. Wilson earned his degree at Tennessee A&I (now Tennessee State) where he was named first team all Midwest Athletic Association four years and later was inducted into the school’s hall of fame. Offered a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians organization, he instead signed a contract as a forward and a point guard for the Harlem Globetrotters, where he played from 1949 to 1964. Known for his two-handed set shot from mid-court, after two years on the team, Wilson became captain and player-coach of the Globetrotters squad that included the legendary Sweetwater Clifton and Goose Tatum. He travelled the world with the team and along the way met Queen Elizabeth, Grace Kelly and USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev. At the time of his retirement, Wilson had the longest continuous tenure of any team member in Globetrotter history. After his basketball days, Wilson was a juvenile probation officer in Louisville for 27 years and gained a reputation as a caring person who went the extra mile for kids. He passed away in 1996.