Willie McGee congratulates Rob Rains on hearing he will be inducted into the Mo. Sports HOF, of which McGee is a member.
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Announcement on Jamie Allman Show Monday March 20, 2017
Rob Rains is one of five individuals selected for induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews announced on Monday.
Rains, who has spent his career writing about sports in St. Louis and nationally and now is the editor of STLSportsPage.com, will be inducted with the other class members at a luncheon on May 25 in Springfield.
Also going into the Hall on that day will be the late John Donaldson, a pitcher from the Negro Leagues who helped start the Kansas City Monarchs; Mark Bailey, a former Missouri State and major-league catcher, and high school coaches Kelly Odneal from Westran High School, and Mark Stratton, the former Glendale High School in Springfield and Drury University coach.
They will be honored during the annual Baseball Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company. The luncheon will begin at 11 a.m. on May 25 at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield.
“It’s all part of one of the Hall of Fame’s biggest baseball celebrations in years.,” said Kary Booher, Media Relations Director for the Hall. “The Hall of Fame recently made public that a life-size statue of West Plains High School graduate and former Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon, specially cast in bronze, will be unveiled on the Legends Walkway that day.”
The upcoming season will mark Rains’ 37th year in a major-league press box. He has spent much of his career covering the Cardinals but also spent five years as the National League beat writer for USA Today Baseball Weekly, helping launch the publication in 1991.
Rains also has been the host or co-host and frequent guest on numerous radio broadcasts over the years. He also has been an adjunct professor in the school of communications at Webster University for the past 20 years after serving as a professional in residence for a year at Arizona State University.
“In the modern era, few media figures have been as much a fixture on the St. Louis sports scene as Rob Rains,” said NBC broadcaster Bob Costas. “Whether covering the Cardinals as a beat writer, handling official scorers duties, appearing on countless radio and television programs or authoring many books about Cardinal history and biographies of significant players and managers, Rob has been an ongoing press box and public presence for more than three decades.”
Rains is the author or co-author of 33 books, including the autobiographies or biographies of Jack Buck, Ozzie Smith, Tony La Russa and Mark McGwire, among others.
Rains grew up in Springfield and is a graduate of the University of Kansas. He and his wife Sally are the parents of two grown sons. B.J. Rains is a sports writer for the Idaho Press Tribune covering Boise State athletics and Mike Rains is the social media manager for Rawlings Sporting Goods in St. Louis.
Rains’ family started a charity organization, Rainbows for Kids, for children with cancer and other serious illnesses in the St. Louis area.
Former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, referred to Rains as a “great citizen of the St. Louis community,” in helping nominate Rains for this award.
John Rooney, the voice of the Cardinals on KMOX, also has known Rains for almost their entire careers.
“His coverage of the Cardinals has led to penning more then 30 books about St. Louis Sports and he has expanded his career to work radio talk shows in St. Louis,” said Rooney.
Rains joins a select list of media from the St. Louis area who are members of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, a group that includes Costas, Rooney, Jack Buck, Bob Burnes, Bob Broeg, Rick Hummel, Dave Dorr, J.G. Taylor Spink and Ed Wray.
Sponsorship tables of eight for the luncheon are $400 and includes recognition in the printed program and an autographed print. Individual ticketsare $40.
For more information, please visit mosportshalloffame.com or call 417-889-3100.
Here is information on the other four members who will be inducted at the baseball luncheon:
Mark Bailey – Baseball Player, Glendale High School & Missouri State University & Houston Astros
Mark Bailey, a Springfield native and Glendale High School graduate, was a standout baseball and basketball player at Missouri State University from 1979 to 1982 and then enjoyed a 13-year pro baseball career. As the first former Bears player to reach the big leagues, Bailey spent portions of seven seasons in the big leagues, from 1984 to 1992, with the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants. In his time at Missouri State, Bailey emerged as a switch-hitting middle infielder who helped the Bears advance to the 1982 NCAA Division II College World Series. He was a two-time NCAA D-II All-American as well as All-Region and All-MIAA. In basketball, he started in more than half of the 73 games he played over three seasons. Bailey is now in his 20th season as a coach in the Astros organization.
John Donaldson – Pitcher, Negro Leagues
A native of Glasgow, Missouri, John Donaldson enjoyed a 33-year career (1908 to 1941) in baseball as he played for 25 teams, mostly in the Negro Leagues and barnstorming circuits. A left-handed pitcher, he won more than 400 games (the most in segregated baseball history) and struck out more than 5,000 batters. However, those statistics likely could be far greater, considering that more than 150 of his known pitching performances have no published strikeout total and more than 200 wins by teams he played for report no pitcher of record. Donaldson was a founding member of the Negro League’s Kansas City Monarchs in 1920, when he pitched, played center field and batted cleanup. In 1949, Donaldson was hired by the Chicago White Sox as a scout, becoming the first African-American full-time scout in Major League Baseball. He passed away in 1970.
Kelly Odneal – Softball & Baseball Coach, Westran High School
Kelly Odneal is the winningest high school softball coach in Missouri history, with a 515-92 record from 1975 to 2007 – mostly at Westran High School (485-89) but also at Jamestown High School. Overall, his softball teams made 15 trips to the state semifinals. Three of his Westran teams won state titles (1987, 1996 and 1999), while the program also placed second eight times, third three times and fourth once. Westran also won 19 district and 21 Lewis and Clark Conference titles. In baseball, Odneal’s teams were a combined 338-123 at Sturgeon and Westran high schools. Two Sturgeon teams (1980, 1982) won state titles, with three Westran teams (1986, 1989, 1990) reaching the state semifinals. Odneal is a 1970 graduate of Prairie Home High School and 1975 graduate of the University of Missouri.
Mark Stratton – Baseball Coach, Glendale High School & Drury University
Mark Stratton was one of the most successful baseball coaches in the state, first at Glendale High School and then at Drury University. He was at Glendale from 1982 to 2006, either as an assistant coach or the head coach. As the head coach beginning in 1993, Stratton was 244-154 in 13 seasons, winning four district and three Ozark Conference titles. He sent 30 Falcons on to college scholarships. Stratton also coached the Glendale Merchants American Legion program from 1988 to 2002, compiling a 421-243 record which included a 1997 state championship and a runner-up finish in 1998. He was Drury’s baseball coach from the program’s inception in 2007 through 2012, finishing with a record of 175-134. The Panthers never had a losing season, won the 2007 Great Lakes Valley Conference championship and earned four NCAA Division II Tournament berths. Stratton, a graduate of Hillcrest High School and then-Southwest Missouri State who later earned a master’s degree at the University of Missouri, is now the Vice President of Marketing for the US Baseball Park in Ozark.