2019 Inductee and Gayle Sayers Award Winner Desmond Howard is the only Special Teams Player to ever Win a Super Bowl MVP.
Desmond Howard, the legendary University of Michigan Wolverine and 1991 Heisman Trophy winner may still be most recognized as the man who inadvertently re-branded the image of the iconic trophy, but what many fail to remember is that he was also the MVP of Super Bowl XXXI as a Green Bay Packer. The Packers led 27–14 at halftime, but Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe led his team on a short drive that ended with Curtis Martin’s 18-yard touchdown run to pull the Patriots within six late in the third quarter. With new life, the Patriots boomed the ensuing kickoff to the one-yard line, but Howard effectively shattered the Patriots' hopes for a comeback with a 99-yard kickoff return for a Packers touchdown. His return and the Packers' subsequent two-point conversion closed out the scoring of the game, and the Packers eventually won 35-21. Bill Parcells, the Patriots' head coach, commented after the game: "We had a lot of momentum, and our defense was playing better. But [Howard] made the big play. That return was the game right there. He's been great all year, and he was great again today." Howard totaled a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards and 154 kickoff return yards with one touchdown; his 244 all-purpose yards also tied a Super Bowl record. His performance won him the Super Bowl MVP award, making Howard the only player to ever win the award based solely on a special teams performance.
2019 Inductee Harold Baines was discovered on a Little League diamond at the age of 12 by White Sox owner and fellow Chicagoland Sports and Baseball Hall of Fame Member Bill Veeck.
As the story goes, future Hall of Fame owner Bill Veeck first saw Baines at a Little League game when he was 12, then followed his amateur career until he was eligible for the draft in June of 1977. Veeck was living in Eaton, Maryland a few years before he purchased the White Sox in 1976 and had scouted Baines as a kid. Veeck signed the 18 year old Harold Baines in person in Eaton and said the White Sox had picked Baines rather than Bill Gullickson, the top‐rated pitching prospect in the draft, because of Baines's power‐hitting potential, and because “I saw him play in Little League and he impressed me even then. I've been watching him for six years.” The rest is baseball history. The final tally: 2,866 hits (45th all-time) and 1,628 RBI (32nd all-time), to go along with 384 home runs and a .289 batting average and six All-Star Game selections.
2019 Inductee Rick Sutcliff holds the unique distinction of having won each of the following league awards, once each, and each in a different season: Rookie of the Year (1979), Cy Young Award (1984), ERA leader (1982), and wins leader (1987). He also once stole second base after hearing of a bet comedian Bill Murray made in the broadcast booth with Chicago Cubs announcer Steve Stone.
Sitting in the booth, [Steve] Stone and [Bill] Murray had to stall while a new pitcher warmed up. Murray looked at Stone and said, “I betcha a case of beer Sutcliffe steals second.” Stone laughed and pointed out Sutcliffe had never even attempted to steal a base. He pointed out Sutcliffe had a bad hamstring. He pointed out Sutcliffe was not exactly the world’s fastest human being. “But,” Sutcliffe remembered Stone saying, “I’ll take the bet because I’d like to win a case of beer from you.” The pitcher was still warming up when word spreads and a fan yelled, “Hey Sut, Murray just bet Steve Stone a case of beer you’ll steal second!” Standing on first base, Sutcliffe decided: Screw it. I’m going. “All of a sudden the pitcher comes down and I tell my mind to go but my body won’t move and I literally almost fell down,” he said. Then Expos manager Buck Rodgers yelled to first baseman Andres Galarraga, ‘Play behind him, he ain’t frickin’ going anywhere!’ ” Sutcliffe took off running. All 6-7 of the Red Baron hauling ass for second base just to mess with Cubs announcer Steve Stone. “I am gone,” Sutcliffe said. “He comes down and looks over. Well I’m halfway to second. I’m going, ‘Ah, he got me.’ Well the dummy goes to home so now I’ve got to get going again. But there’s still a play. That’s how slow I am.” The throw. The slide. He’s safe. “I look up into the booth and Murray’s going crazy and I kind of gave him a little whatever,” Sutcliffe said, reenacting a manly head bob. “I throw a shutout, I steal a base, and we were locked for life.”
Comedian Bob Hope Once helped 2019 Inductee Lou Holtz out of a jam.
"I was traveling to Milwaukee for a speaking engagement on July 22, 1983. My plane was late, the taxi cab didn't have air conditioning and I arrived to the hotel somewhat scuzzy and in need of a shower. When I tried to open the door to my room, the key broke off and I couldn't get in. They sent someone up with a screwdriver, but that didn't work either. They said they didn't have any more rooms. As I kept trying to open the door, I heard a voice from the above floor: "Hey, how about keeping it down." It was Bob Hope. He asked me what I was doing, and I said I was trying to get in my room and take a shower before speaking later that evening. He invited me up to his suite and said that he had plenty of room, and that I could just stay there. We had dinner afterwards and I asked him if he would do me a favor and call my wife on the telephone and wish her a happy anniversary. He did just that. He called Beth and wished her a happy anniversary. He then asked her if he could speak to Lou and she said he was out of town. He then said, what do you mean he's out of town. What kind of husband would not be with his wife on their anniversary. He went on and on. I'll never forget that ..." – Lou Holtz