Three Former Tide Stars Into ASHOF

The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame has a problem, and it knows it. The problem is that there have been so many outstanding athletes at The University of Alabama that the ASHOF can never catch up. Although a handful of former Crimson Tide stars go in each year, just as many are building their resumes for future induction.

The Class of 2011 has been announced and it includes two former Alabama football players from the Modern era and a former Crimson Tide baseball star in the Old Timers category.

From the modern era are former Alabama football players Shaun Alexander and Jeff Rutledge. From the Oldtimers category is baseball pitcher Al Worthington.

The ASHOF also selected UAB track star and Olympic bobsledder Vonetta Flowers, former Auburn baseball player Frank Thomas, and Auburn oldtimers Henry Hart in basketball and David Hill in football.

Jimmy Smothers, longtime sports editor of the Gadsden Times, was also selected.

The newly elected eight inductees now bring the total of all inductees since 1969 to 298.

The 2011 induction banquet will take place in the Birmingham Ballroom, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Reception and banquet tickets will be available at a later date.

Here's a look at the former Tide stars:

SHAUN ALEXANDER/FOOTBALL – Born August 30, 1977 in Florence, KY. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama. He was an All-American and a consensus All-SEC in 1999. He was named the SEC Player of Year in 1999. After his senior year he was the holder of three SEC and 15 Alabama rushing records. He also earned Academic All-SEC honors in 1999. He was the 19th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He played for the Seahawks from 2000-2007. He was a three time Pro-Bowl selection (2003, 2004, & 2005). He was the AP NFL Most Valuable Player in 2005. That year, he led the NFL in rushing yards (1,880) and rushing touchdowns (28); and he became the first running back in NFL history to record fifteen or more touchdowns in five consecutive seasons. He also became the first player in NFL history to score 19 rushing or receiving TD's in only ten games. He was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. He finished his career with the Washington Redskins in 2008.

JEFF RUTLEDGE/FOOTBALL – Born January 22, 1957 in Birmingham, AL. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama. He was Second Team All-SEC 1977 & 1978. He is third on the list of most consecutive passes without an interception (100). He is tied for third with most touchdown passes in a game and tied for third for most touchdown passes in a season (13). He is tied for second in career touchdowns passes (30). He is tenth in most yards passing in a career (3,351). He is thirteen with most career completions (207). He is fourth in career touchdowns passing and running (30 passing, 11 rushing). He is ninth in career total offensive yardage (3,351 passing, 548 rushing). He was a ninth round draft choice of the L.A. Rams in 1979. Most of his professional career he was a back up quarterback. He played in three Super Bowls with three different teams, L.A. Rams, New York Giants, and the Washington Redskins. Since retiring, he has coached in high school, college, and professionally.

AL WORTHINGTON/BASEBALL – Born February 5, 1929 in Birmingham, AL. He was one of the premier relief pitchers in the major league for 16 years with the New York and San Francisco Giants of the National League; and the Minnesota Twins of the American League. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama, where he had a career record of 14-3 as a pitcher. He helped lead the Crimson Tide to the Southeast Conference Championship and a berth in the College World Series in 1950. In his debut with the New York Giants in 1953, he tied a major league record by pitching shutouts in his first two games. In 1964 he had the lowest ERA of any reliever in the major leagues with a 1.38. He was selected by the Twins as Pitcher of the Year two consecutive years (1964 &1965). He helped lead the Twins to the American League pennant in 1965. He led the American League in saves in 1968 with 18. He pitched in 602 games with a career ERA of 3.39 with 108 saves. In 1986 he was selected as the Twins relief pitcher on the Twins All-Time Team. He was the Head Baseball Coach at Liberty University for 13 seasons and had a career record of 343-191-1.

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