Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Andre Johnson, Guy V. Lewis and Bill Yeoman honored
2021 Houston Sports Awards celebrates “Diamonds in the Rough”
HOUSTON – How do you follow a mega-watt event with a backdrop filled with the glitz and glam of the Golden Era known as the Roaring 20s? How about with Diamonds in the Rough?
The fourth annual Houston Sports Awards is trading last year’s backdrop of speakeasys and glitz for the beauty of a golf course at sunset to honor five Houston icons – JEFF BAGWELL, CRAIG BIGGIO, ANDRE JOHNSON, GUY V. LEWIS and BILL YEOMAN – as the 2021 class of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame presented by PNC Bank. The inductees will be celebrated Monday April 26, at the Carlton Woods Creekside Fazio Golf Course.
Baggy and Bidge. Bidge and Baggy. You didn’t say one name without the other. They played side-by- side for most of their careers and were known, too, as the Killer Bs. Both were All-Stars – Bagwell at first base and Biggio at second base and catcher – and went into the National Baseball Hall of Fame two years apart. Biggio was inducted in 2015 and Bagwell in 2017, but they were inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame together in 2005.
“They’re all great people,’’ said Bagwell. “Andre was obviously a great player here for so many years and Craig? It goes without saying. If you’re going to go in (to a Hall of Fame) in Houston it should be Craig and I together. I’ve been associated with him my entire career and I couldn’t think of a better guy to go in with. It’ll be exciting.’’
Biggio agreed. “Baggy and I were always hand-in-hand so that’s part of the deal. It’s going to be a fun night. It means a lot.
“When you start thinking about the number of great athletes in Houston Texas… You look at the first one (honoring) Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan and The Dream (Hakeem Olajuwon). It was unbelievable to be part of that one. And to be part of that group with these guys, I’m truly honored.”
Johnson, the Houston Texans’ first-round pick in 2003, played 11 seasons for the Texans, still holds just about every club receiving record and was the first person inducted into the Texans Ring of Honor. He is a seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and the only player in NFL history to have 60-plus receptions in each of his first eight seasons. He was the go-to receiver for every quarterback he played with and led the league twice in both receiving yards and receptions. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
“It’s a great,’’ Johnson said. “It speaks to the accomplishments I’ve had during my career. I’m very surprised and I’m excited about it.’’
Lewis and Yeoman, both University of Houston coaching legends, were trailblazers, changing changed the face of major intercollegiate sports in the South in 1964 by recruiting the school’s first African American athletes. Lewis, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 93, and Yeoman, who passed away in 2020 at 92, are the first legends to be inducted posthumously.
Lewis, who played center/forward for UH in the 1940s, began his UH coaching career in 1956 when he took over as head of the Cougars men’s basketball team. His entire career was with UH, bringing the program to prominence in 1968 when the Cougars beat UCLA 71-69 at the Astrodome in what was dubbed the “Game of the Century.” He had 27-straight winning seasons, 14 seasons with 20 or more wins, and 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament. Lewis integrated his team in 1964, signing Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney.
Yeoman became the head football coach at UH in 1962 and coached the team until 1986. The architect of the veer offense, Yeoman coached UH to four Southwest Conference Championships and six post- season bowl championships with an overall record of 160-108-8. Yeoman made history when he integrated the Cougars roster in 1964 by recruiting African American running back Warren McVea.
“From all-star accolades to career records, the contributions of these athletes and coaches to the Houston community are without a doubt worth recognition and we are proud to be part of the celebration,” said Julie Young Sudduth, PNC regional president for Houston. “The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority has created an internationally acclaimed sports culture that not only spurs local economic prosperity, but also makes every Houstonian proud of our community and our athletes.”
One of the most consistent and well-rounded players of his generation, Baggy spent his entire 15-year career with the Houston Astros, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the amateur draft as a third baseman in 1989, he was traded the Astros in 1990. They moved him to first base where he earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1991. He set club records, including 449 career home runs, was the unanimous NL MVP in 1994 as well as a four-time All-Star, three Silver Slugger winner and a Gold Glove recipient. A Texas Sports Hall of Fame honoree in 2005, he is only player in MLB history to have six consecutive seasons (1996–2001) with 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored, and 100 walks and was just the fifth to achieve 300 home runs, 1,000 RBIs, and 1,000 runs scored in his first 10 seasons. He is one of 12 players in history to hit 400 home runs and record an on-base percentage of .400, and the only first baseman with at least 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
Hall of Famer who played all 20 seasons for the Astros and is regarded as the greatest all-around player in team history. A seven-time All-Star, Bidge is the player ever to be named an All-Star at both catcher and second base. He was originally called up as catcher but shifted to second base a few years later and played beside Bagwell – the other half of the Astros’ Killer Bs. Biggio went on to win four Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. He led the National League in doubled three times and holds National League record for most career lead-off home runs in a career with 53. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2007 and his No. 7 jersey was retired by the Astros in 2008.
Johnson was the first honoree inducted into the Houston Texans’ Ring of Honor. The Texans’ first pick in the 2003 NFL draft – and third pick overall – Johnson was one of the most productive wide receivers in the league during his career. A seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, he led the league twice in both receptions and receiving yards and still holds most of the team’s receiving records. He played his first 11 seasons for the Texans and remains the only player in NFL history to have 60-plus receptions in his first eight seasons and holds or shares four other records. His Texans records include career receptions (1,012), career yards (13,597) and career touchdowns (64).
Guy V. Lewis
Known for those red and white polka dotted towels he always had in his hand and his Phi Slama Jama team of the 1980s, Lewis was the legendary Houston Cougars coach whose teams played above the rim and who, along with Yeoman, was a force in changing the face of intercollegiate athletics in the South when he recruited African Americans Don Chaney and Elvin Hayes in 1964. He took a Hayes-led team to two Final Fours in the 1960s and his Cougars grabbed national attention when, in 1968, they beat UCLA 71-69 in the “Game of the Century” – the first nationally-televised regular season college game. He championed the dunk, a staple of his Phi Slama Jama teams led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler that went to the 1982, 1983 and 1984 Final Fours. Lewis, a center/forward on UH’s first team (1945-46), retired in 1986 leaving a legacy of 27-straight winning seasons, 14 seasons with 20 or more wins, and 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament. He passed away November 26, 2015 at the age of 93.
He was a University of Houston legend — the father of the veer offense and the man who, along with Lewis, helped change the face of major college intercollegiate athletics in the South when he integrated the University of Houston football team in 1964 by recruiting African American running back Warren McVea. Yeoman coached the Cougars to four Southwest Conference Championships and six post- season bowl championships and an overall record of 160-108-8. He played one year at Texas A&M before transferring to West Point where he was a three-year starter at center. After serving three years in the Army, he spent eight seasons as an assistant at Michigan State. He took the UH job in 1962 and coached 46 All-Americans, and 69 players who played in the NFL. He was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. He passed away August 12, 2020 at the age of 92.
About PNC Bank
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About the Houston Sports Awards
The fourth annual Houston Sports Awards will be held on Monday April 26, 2021 at the Carlton Woods Creekside Fazio Course in The Woodlands. This star-studded dinner and awards show gathers together Houston’s top athletes, both past and present, to commemorate, celebrate and recognize Houston’s top sports achievements, sports icons, performers and moments.