Sports

Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame announces 2020 class. Here’s the list

The Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class on Tuesday, the 25th class since its inception in 1996.

The Class of 2020 will be inducted at the Hall of Fame’s annual banquet at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on February 1, 2020.

Here are the members of the class, with a brief bio of each:

John C. (Corn) Griffin

Born in Blountsville, Florida, Griffin came to Fort Benning as a soldier in 1929, and immediately became a favorite with boxing fans in the area.

As a professional boxer, he scored wins against against Adolph Waiter, Jim Maloney, Steve Hamas and Nate Brown, who went 10 rounds with Joe Louis later on.

Griffin joined the Columbus Police Department in 1936. He worked with the CPD until his retirement in 1963. Afterwards, he lived in Wewahitchka, Florida, until his death on January 9, 1973.

George Odom

Odom’s father was a horse trainer, and he began racing as a boy at the old Columbus Race Track.

During his racing career from 1898 to 1905, he won 527 of 3,063 starts. One of those victories was aboard Delhi in the Belmont Stakes in 1904, one of horse racing’s Triple Crown events.

Odom became one of two men to win the Belmont Stakes as a rider and a trainer in 1938. He was inducted into the National Racing Museum in 1955.

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A 1992 Cardinals yearbook includes the autographs of Enos Slaughter, Stan Musial and Terry Moore. It’s one of the items for sale at D’s Cards & Memorabilia. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

Enos Slaughter

Born in Roxboro, North Carolina, Slaughter came to Columbus to play for the Columbus Red Birds in 1936.

Slaughter eventually won a regular job in the outfield for the St. Louis Cardinals, and also played for the New York Yankees, the Kansas City A’s and the Milwaukee Braves.

Slaughter had a major league career batting average of .300 with 2,382 RBIs and 169 home runs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Jim Baker

At Kendrick High School, Baker earned numerous All-Bi-City and state honors.

At UGA, he captained the freshman team in 1972 and played under both Vince Dooley and Erskine “Erk” Russell. He was an original member of Russell’s “Junkyard Dawg” defense, and received the Victor’s Club Award, given out by Dooley to outstanding seniors, in 1975.

He works today as senior vice president of Georgia Crown Distributing, and serves on the board of directors for UGA football’s Letterman’s Association.

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Columbus Sports Council volunteer Kinard Latham is the umpire coordinator for the USA Softball International Cup at South Commons Softball Stadium in Columbus, July 1-7, 2019. Darrell Roaden Special to the Ledger-Enquirer

Kinard Latham

Kinard began his officiating career in 1958 as a member of the Cullman County Officials Association. He officiated his first basketball game in 1958 at Addison High School in Winston County, Alabama.

In 1963, Latham moved to Columbus, began his 35-year career with the Muscogee County School District and joined the Columbus Officials Association.

Latham has served more than 50 years as a sports official. He received numerous awards for his umpiring duties and was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2001.

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George Whitton, pictured, was announced September 10 as an inductee to the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame. Courtesy of George Whitton

George M. Whitton

Born in Columbus, Whitton graduated from Columbus High in 1955 and UGA in 1959. He served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, including 14 years in the Special Forces.

At Columbus High, Whitton won numerous All-Bi-City honors and all-region/all-state honors in football, baseball and track.

At UGA, he led the Bulldogs in scoring and kickoff returns in 1956 and was a starter in 1956 and 1957. He was an honorary team captain for the Bulldogs in 2007, when UGA hosted Western Carolina.

Rob Spivery

Spivery served as Head Men’s Basketball Coach from 2005-2011 at Southern University.

In the 2005-2006 season, his first year at Southern, his team won both the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships, and participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993. Spivery has taken two different teams, Alabama State (twice) and Southern University, to the NCAA Tournament.

From 2000-2006 Spivery’s teams played in five SWAC Tournament championship games and won three SWAC Tournament championships during that time. Spivery was selected as SWAC Coach of the Year for the 2005-2006 season.

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Hugh Royer III, pictured, was announced as an inductee to the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame. Photo provided by Royer. Hugh Royer III

Hugh Royer III

Royer played golf at Columbus State University and was named the NCAA Division II player of the year in 1985-1986, a season he was also named a Division II first-team All-American.

Royer won numerous honors as an amateur golfer. He worked his way into Golf Digest’s top-5 in 1987.

Royer was inducted into the Columbus State University Hall of Fame in 2000.

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Joshua Mixon is a reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. He covers sports (Auburn and preps) and local news, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He previously covered Georgia athletics for the Telegraph. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshDMixon.
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