The Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame is our community’s way of recognizing and paying tribute to Central New Yorkers who have made significant contributions to the world of sports. The word "Greater'" in our Hall of Fame official name, not only refers to our geographic focus... it describes the key goal and purpose we share as an organization and as a community.
In 1981, the founders, a group of business leaders with a passion for sports, planned the memorial to honor our community's sports heroes and role models of the past and present. . Through their sportsmanship, skill and competition, those professional and amateur athletes, coaches, and officials have demonstrated to the world that Syracuse, New York is indeed a major sports hub. Their accomplishments enables Syracuse to become a mecca for generations of sports fans.
September 27, 1987: The first Hall of Fame induction dinner was held at the Drumlins Country Club honoring the initial class which included: Marty Piriano, Dolph Schayes, Ben Schwartzwalder, Paul Seymour, Roy Simmons, SR., Ginnie Allen, Carmen Basilio, Danny Biasone, Arthur “Babe” Cranfield, Vic Hanson. The price of the first dinner was $25.00 per person, over 700 people attended.
Election to the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame is based on a candidate’s accomplishments as an athlete in high school, college, amateur or professional sports, or a significant contributions he or she has made to the growth of a sport.
The inductee's nomination through public participation must have had an association with the area for at least ten years. They are considered to be "home town" people and are commonly identified with the greater Syracuse area.
The Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame is a volunteer organization comprised of 35 committee members with ten executive committee members who process all of the nominations for consideration. Final selection of inductees is made through majority committee vote and endorsement of the executive committee.
The main terminal lobby at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport had been the site of the original Hall of Fame display starting in 1987. Through attrition the display had moved to various locations throughout the county including a seven years stay at the Onondaga Historical Museum. The Hall of Fame has recently entered into an agreement with Driver’s Village (the former Penn Can Mall) in Cicero that will provide the Hall of Fame with a large amount of exhibit space on the lower level of the newly design mall project. This gallery type setting will be available for public viewing during all of the times that Driver’s Village is open for operation. One the great thing about this agreement is that the gallery can expand with time - so that we can add more material and memorabilia for future Hall of Fame inductees.
The showcases feature paintings of inductees, biographical data and memorabilia items contributed by the honorees and their families. An item that dominates the collection is the 24-second shot clock initiated by Danny Biasone, owner of the Syracuse Nats. Many basketball observers credit the clock as the device that saved the NBA in its early days. Biasone himself was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Hall of Fame will always maintain a physical present at Hancock Airport and the Onondaga Historical Museum. Locating a permanent headquarters for the shrine has and will always be a major agenda item for the Hall of Fame Committee. Money for the operation and expansion of the shrine is raised through corporate sponsorship of the inductees, from proceeds of the annual induction dinner and from personal and corporate gifts.