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Names In The Game

February 11, 1995

ATLANTA (AP) _ Ten people will be inducted into Georgia’s Sports Hall of Fame tonight, including Albany native Ray Knight, the Most Valuable Player of the 1986 World Series.

Other inductees expected at a banquet at the J.W. Marriott Hotel at Lenox Square are amateur golfer Allen Doyle of LaGrange; former football standouts Bill Mathis, Rufus Guthrie and Royce Smith; Mary Persons High football coach Dan Pitts; and Atlanta Falcons owner Rankin Smith.

Trapshooter Vera ``Punkin″ Flock and college standout athletes Morton Hodgson and Ernest ``Baggy″ Mallard will be honored posthumously.

Knight helped the New York Mets beat the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series with a game-winning homer in the seventh game, capping a .298 comeback year at the plate. Knight retired in 1988 after 13 seasons in the majors and now is a coach with the Cincinnati Reds.

Mathis, of Manchester, played fullback on the New York Jets team that upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Several of his former Jets teammates were scheduled to attend tonight, including Joe Namath.

Doyle has won more than 100 titles and remains one of the nation’s leading amateur golfers. Last year, he was a member of the victorious U.S. team at the World Amateur and captured the Northeast Amateur, Sunnehanna Invitational and Dogwood Invitational.

Doyle also has won the Georgia Amateur a record six times.


MIAMI (AP) _ Their ring laurels included world titles and the adoration of boxing fans, but the all-too familiar setbacks that afflict many ex-fighters also struck Kid Gavilan and Luis Rodriguez.

Long after conquering legions of opponents and establishing their individual fighting legacies, Gavilan and Rodriguez encountered the misfortunes that took them far from boxing glory.

The one-two combination of poor health and inept finances have sent the Cuban-born former world welterweight champions to life’s ropes.

As both try to overcome their recent blows, Gavilan and Rodriguez have earned the admiration of Metro-Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto. Recognizing the fighters’ peril, Souto is spearheading a campaign to honor their careers through symbolic and financial gestures.

Friday night, Souto officially named Gavilan, 69, and Rodriguez, 57, honorary boxing advisors to the Metro-Dade Parks and Recreation Department in a brief ceremony at the county’s Tropical Park Boxing Gym. Souto also presented plaques and proclamations to Gavilan and to Rodriguez’s parents.

Rodriguez, recovering from a stroke suffered late last year, is still bedridden and was unable to attend Friday night’s ceremonies.

``We’re going to help them as much as we can,″ Souto said. ``These are two fighters who deserve the highest honors.″

Souto says that as honorary boxing advisors, Gavilan and Rodriguez will be periodically escorted to Dade’s amateur boxing facilities. There, they will be available to offer amateur prospects with insights on the fight game.

In addition to the ceremonial titles, Souto says he will attempt to provide both fighters with financial assistance.

``I know times have been rough since I left boxing, but all these honors help relieve the wounds,″ said Gavilan, who held the welterweight title from 1951-1954 and finished his career with a 106-30-6 record and 27 knockouts.

``Getting the support from fans and the press at least has helped me get past many rough times,″ he said.

Gavilan also was busy signing autographs for Tropical Park gym’s aspiring fighters.

``I hope I can give these youngsters needed advice,″ said the former champ. ``If they want to succeed in this sport, they must make it their top priority.″

Rodriguez was world welterweight champion in 1963-1964. He compiled a mark of 107-13 with 49 KOs over a 17-year career.

``He’s doing much better but is not ready to get out,″ said his mother, Julia Gomez. ``An event like this would have been too emotional for him. I didn’t even tell him.″


STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will ``actively campaign″ on behalf of Ostersund/Are in bidding for the 2002 Winter Olympics, reports said Saturday.

``The Royal family now supports our campaign, the king is considering best how to help out,″ Christer Persson, head of the Ostersund/Are organizing committee was quoted by the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

The king is not prepared just to greet delegates from the International Olympic Committee on the day before the vote, he wants to ``campaign actively,″ Persson said.

The decision is a welcome change of heart by the king. In an interview on Jan. 28, he expressed ``serious doubts″ about the Ostersund/Are bid, citing financial worries and Ostersund’s four previous failures. That statement was a serious blow to the organizers.

After Friday’s one-hour-meeting with Persson, the king and queen were reportedly convinced that Ostersund/Are stood a chance.

``The king and queen have good contacts with both IOC delegates and other royalty. Queen Silvia will also use her knowledge and contacts from her Olympic experience at Munich (in 1972),″ Persson said.

King Carl Gustaf met his future wife at the Munich Games where she worked as a translator and hostess. They married in 1976.

The government has also promised to support Ostersund/Are’s bid.

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