Ed Haenfler – Grant

HOFCoach–In a high school football coaching career extending from 1933 to 1972, this inspirational builder of smaller town champions achieved an admirable record of 243 games won, 66 lost and 14 ties. His career figures gained a standing in the National High School Sports Record Book under football career wins and football career winning percentage. While yet a young football coach at Allen High School during the fall of 1934, he led the blue and gold-clad Eagles to a number one ranking in the state. But it was within Perkins County at Grant High School where Ed Haenfler reached his peak while pushing the red and white uniformed Plainsmen into gridiron greatness.

Top years:

1948 State Champion World Herald 9-0 Ed Haenfler
1950 State Champion World Herald 9-0 Ed Haenfler
1953 State Runner-Up World Herald10-0 Ed Haenfler
1955 State Champion World Herald 9-0 Ed Haenfler
1962 State Champion World Herald 9-0 Ed Haenfler
1963 State Champion Lincoln Journal 8-0 Ed Haenfler

 

HOF

Pat Hodges – Lexington

2009Athlete, Class of 1974. Pat Hodges had the magic touch. Named the 1974 high school athlete of the year by the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star, Hodges built his credentials in football, basketball and track. On the football field, Hodges played end on offense and defense for the state champion Minutemen of 1972 and 1973. On the basketball court, he twice earned All-Southwest Conference honors, establishing a conference scoring record with 1,183 points, and led Lexington to the Class B runner-up finish in 1974. He also set the state record by making 47 consecutive free throws. In track, he won four gold medals at the state meet, setting the state record in the 880-yard run (1:55.1). He also won the 440 and ran on Lexington’s winning 880 and mile relays while leading the Minutemen to the team championship.

 

Johnny Hopp – Hastings

Athlete.  A 1934 graduate of Hastings High School, this legendary professional baseball player began his climb to the majors on the playgrounds of Adams County, Nebraska. He was such a standout in baseball (and motivated to be better) that his talents in other sports were not adequately documented. Signing a pro baseball contract at age 19, Hopp started with the St. Louis Cardinals, played fourteen years in the major leagues and had a lifetime batting average of .296. Known as a great clutch player, his best year was 1950 when he batted .339. He played on four World Series championship teams.

John (Cotney) Hopp was a vibrant player with an enthusiasm for the game that when combined with his talent propelled him into the graces of major league coaches. Born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska, Johnny was the leader of many sandlot baseball games as a kid. At age 19, he was signed by a Yankee farm team in Norfolk, NE John tells the story of his debut in which his excitement and awe of his new adventure caught him off gaurd. Having struck out three times his first game, his farther in a visit with the manager said, “well I guess we’ll have to take the kid home.” The manager put his mind at ease telling him, “John has a good swing and good speed,” and assured Mr. Hopp that with a little batting practice Johnny would be okay and that he was!

Although the Norfolk team didn’t win the league, Johnny’s performance was good enough to give him a chance at AAA ball the next year. The jump from the Nebraska State League to AAA was the biggest challenge according to Johnny in a February 2000 interview.

In 1939 Hopp was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1941 he was voted the Most Popular Player in the League.

In 1942 he won his first World Series, defeating the Yankees for the title. 1943 saw the Cards and the Yankees meeting again, but this time the Yanks won by the same margin the were defeated by the year before, 4 games to 1. In 1944 two St. Louis teams met in the series and again Johnny picked up another ring defeating the Browns 4 games to 2.

Near the end of the 1950 season Hopp was traded to the Yankees and his first at bat, Hopp ripped a 3 run homer. Upon reaching the dugout, Jolt’n Joe DiMaggio turned to him and said, “nice start kid.”

That year with the Yankees Hopp won his third World Series ring and his fourth the following year.

His career ended abruptly when he blew a hamstring while playing for the Detroit Tigers, an injury he would not recover from.

John finished his career coaching before returning to work in Hastings. John was an avid hunter and recalled many a pheasant hunting trip into the hills of Cotesfield, north of St. Paul, NE

 

Year Club League Pos G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB Avg

1936Norfolk NebSt OF 107 446 134 161 24 16 26 79 36 .361

1937 Rochester I.L. OF 141 527 87 162 28 14 9 69 33 .307
1938 Rochester T.L. OF 124 371 73 111 21 10 9 48 16 .299
1939 Houston N.L. 1B 133 497 76 155 28 15 3 59 25 .312

1939 St. Louis N.L. PH-1B 6 4 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 .500
1940 St. Louis N.L. Ph-1B 80 152 24 41 7 4 1 14 3 .270
1941 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 134 445 83 135 25 11 4 50 15 .303
1942 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 95 314 41 81 16 7 3 37 14 .258
1943 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 91 241 33 54 10 2 2 25 0 .224
1944 St. Louis N.L. 1B 139 527 106 177 35 9 11 72 15 .336
1945 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 124 446 68 129 22 8 3 44 14 .289
1946 Boston N.L. 1B-OF 129 445 71 148 23 8 3 48 21 .333
1947 Boston N.L. 1B-OF 134 430 74 124 20 2 2 32 13 .288
1948 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 120 392 64 109 15 12 1 31 5 .278
1949 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 20 55 0 12 3 1 0 3 0 .218
Brooklyn N.L. 1B-OF 8 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 85 316 50 106 11 4 5 36 9 .393
1950 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 106 318 51 108 24 5 8 47 7 .340
New York A.L. 1B-OF 19 27 9 9 2 1 1 8 0 .333
1951 New York A.L 1B 46 63 10 13 1 0 2 4 2 .317
1952 New York A.L. OF-1B 15 25 4 4 0 0 0 2 0 .160
Detroit A.L. OF-1B 42 46 5 10 1 0 0 3 0 .214
Totals     1898 6101 1064 1854 317 129 92 713 228 .296
World Series
1942 St. Louis N.L. 1B 5 17 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 .176
1943 St. Louis N.L. OF 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1944 St. Louis N.L. OF 6 27 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 .185
1950 New York A.L. 1B 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .00
1951 New York A.L.   1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-
All- Star Game
1946 Boston N.L.

Tom Hallstrom – Omaha

2010Contributor.  Tom Hallstrom’s passion for track and field didn’t go unnoticed. “If a Heisman Trophy was awarded for contributions to track and field, Tom Hallstrom would certainly be this year’s winner,” President Richard Nixon said while honoring Hallstrom in 1972. A physical education teacher and administrator in Omaha Public Schools for 40 years, he coordinated the physical education program for OPS from 1966 to his retirement in 1988. Hallstrom directed the state high school track meet from 1973 to 1979. He was a national chairman for the AAU’s Junior Olympics in Track and Field and organized the first major AAU meets in the state. A major factor in the implementation of boys and girls gymnastics in Nebraska high schools, he was a founder of the Nebraska Athletic Directors Association.

Jack Hallstrom – Avoca

Athlete. During the last years of World War II, a young man at Avoca High School in Cass County was stirring up sportswriters and basketball fans with his high-scoring basketball talents. This was Jack Hallstrom, a 1946 graduate, who had a remarkable record during high school of 1,840 points scored on the hardwood. All-state from his sophomore year onward (1944-45-46), he led the Avoca Cardinals to the state tournament with good success such as 27-1 in 1944 and 30-3 in 1946. After an excellent college career at Peru College, he became an outstanding educator in Douglas County, Nebraska, and is remembered as a founder of the Omaha Metropolitan Conference Holiday Basketball Tournament. Also instrumental in the development of the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame.

 

Barb Harris Bruce – Lincoln High

2010Athlete.  Class of 1977.  Barb Harris ruled the pool in her high school years, never losing a race. She completed her high school career with six individual state meet gold medals. A school rule barred her from competition as a freshman, but she made up for it as an upperclassman with dominating performances, including a national record in the 100 freestyle in 1976 in the first state meet held at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. As a senior, she set state records in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. She went on to win an NCAA championship in the 50-meter butterfly while swimming for the University of North Carolina, where she earned All-American honors numerous times, qualified for two Olympic Trials, won a gold medal at the World University Games and anchored an American record-setting medley relay.