Committee member Steve Krah, who is also a working member of the baseball media (sports writer at the Elkhart Truth, and this is his most recent article, posted today), shares with us an article that appeared in the Sporting News on January 30, 1952, about something called the Helms Press Hall of Fame.
The idea was to create a hall “to honor America’s foremost sports journalists” and was undertaken by the Helms Athletic Foundation (HAF) of Los Angeles. According to Wikipedia:
The Helms Athletic Foundation was an athletic foundation based in Los Angeles, founded in 1936 by Bill Schroeder and Paul Helms. It put together a panel of experts to select National Champion teams and make All-America team selections in a number of college sports including football and basketball. The panel met annually to vote on a National Champion until 1982 and retroactively ranked football teams dating back to 1883 and basketball back to 1901. The Helms Foundation also operated a Hall of Fame for both college sports.
So as a foundation celebrating athletics, it made sense for them to celebrate athletes, which they did with their Halls for college football and basketball players, but they also found room to honor the sports journalists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well.
But here’s the thing: there doesn’t seem to be a trace of the “Helms Press Hall of Fame” anywhere on this planet anymore. A googling of the term leads to the Wikipedia entry about the HAF itself, with a mention of its two college sports Halls of Fame, but nothing at all on the Press Hall. There’s the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association of Salisbury, North Carolina who operate their own Hall of Fame, which you can see houses several legendary baseball journalists and broadcasters. But this organization is never been affiliated with the Helms Athletic Foundation.
As it happens, the Helms college sports Halls of Fame themselves also seem to have vanished into the ether. Neither seem to be connected with the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend (founded in 1951, but independently of the Helms hall), or the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, which was birthed in 2006.
As you have certainly surmised by now, HAF itself is no more. It was dissolved and its historical holdings were absorbed into the collection of the Amateur Athletic Foundation, which was renamed the LA84 Foundation in 2007.
If anyone out there has any idea or information how the Helms Press Hall of Fame met its demise, please share it with us so we can share it with the world.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this article about the very first inductees into the Helms Press Hall of Fame.
(Click on the image below for a larger view of it.)