ESPN dallas: Hall of Fame

New YorkDallasChicagoBostonL.A.

ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame

The five inductees to the 2011 ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame (with percent of votes):
1. Nolan Ryan (61.0)
2. Emmitt Smith (60.9)
3. Tom Landry (59.8)
4. Troy Aikman (47.6)
5. Roger Staubach (41.9)


The other nominees:
6. Lance Armstrong (33.2)
7. Michael Johnson (22.9)
8. Ben Hogan (21.1)
9. Tony Dorsett (18.7)
10. Byron Nelson (16.9)
11. Jerry Jones (14.5)
12. Doak Walker (12.0)
t-13. Bob Lilly (12.6)
t-13. Jimmy Johnson (12.6)
15. Ernie Banks (10.6)
16. Lamar Hunt (7.1)
17. Davey O'Brien (4.8)
18. Lee Trevino (4.6)
19. Joe Nieuwendyk (4.1)
20. Rolando Blackman (3.2)


You've been given the facts and the opinions of our panelists. And now, you have selected ESPN Dallas' inaugural Hall of Fame class. We took it upon ourselves to narrow the field to 20 deserving nominees. You have chosen five from the list of great ones, icons and legends.

Visit the discussion page to talk about who you think was snubbed and who the favorites are to join the Class of 2012.

Note: The panel considered only players and coaches who are retired or inactive. Other contributors with considerable service time were also eligible.

Class of 2011

About the ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame

Meet the panelists

Photo gallery

ON THE CLOCK

Chuck Cooperstein defends his picks Video
Richard Durrett defends his picks Video
Tim MacMahon defends his picks Video
Pat Summerall defends his picks Video
Jean-Jacques Taylor defends his picks Video

MUST SEE

Assessing the 20 DFW nominations Video
Cowboys: Changing of the guard? Video
Staubach or Aikman: Who's your QB? Video
Star crossed: No room for every Cowboy Video
Best on the links: Nelson or Hogan? Video
Others who deserve consideration Video
Did cloud of suspicion affect the ballot? Video
Still going strong: Active figures on horizon Video
All about diversity: Women who deserve nod Video
Face of the class: Is there any doubt? Video

ON 103.3 FM

Galloway & Company debate HoF candidates Listen
Coop and Nate weigh in on the Dallas Hall of Fame Listen
Ben and Skin iron out their HoF ballots Listen
Ben, Skin and Nate analyze HoF candidates Listen
Football Show challenges MacMahon's picks Listen

STORIES

Narrowing the field of candidates
MacMahon: Cowboys deserve first-class treatment
Taylor: Don't forget natives who thrived elsewhere
Pat Summerall knows his HOF selections well
Nolan Ryan poised to enter as a class favorite
Watkins: 1st Dallas HOF class lacks perspective
Hot Button: Nowitzki or Modano as active rep?
MacMahon: Staubach or Aikman? Style matters
Taylor: Landry must be kept top of mind »

Nolan Ryan, class favorite

Rangers' Hall shoo-in has won over DFW fans with distinguished service time


By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

Nolan Ryan
Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
Richard Durrett defends his top five, which includes Rangers legend Nolan Ryan: Watch Video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nolan Ryan never figured he'd play five seasons for the Texas Rangers, let alone oversee a franchise that played in the World Series for the first time.

Tony Tomsic/WireImage
In football country, Nolan Ryan has emerged as a huge fan favorite thanks to productive stints as a player and executive with the Rangers.

"When I came here, I asked for a one-year contract and the ballclub asked for the option on the second year and I felt like if they wanted that option, I would consider that and do it, not thinking I would be here five years," Ryan said. "I felt like when I came here being only a one-year deal, I felt like no-hitters was probably not part of my career from then on."

But they were. Ryan threw two of them in a Rangers uniform, the MLB-record sixth and seventh of his career. His final one was May 1, 1991, against Toronto in front of the hometown fans. He became the first and only pitcher in baseball history to record 5,000 strikeouts with Oakland's Rickey Henderson as the victim at Arlington Stadium on Aug. 22, 1989. He won his 300th game in his second season in Texas and threw his final pitch on Sept. 22, 1993, at age 46.

Whenever Ryan pitched, ticket sales in Arlington went up. His presence on the club helped give the Rangers national prominence. You never knew if you'd see a no-hitter, a one-hitter (he threw 12 of those in his career, three with Texas) or a memorable headlock of Robin Ventura.

And when Ryan was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, 1999, his plaque showed his likeness wearing a Rangers cap.

"The fans were very supportive of me when I came here," Ryan said. "I enjoy North Texas and the lifestyle here. I just appreciate the way I was received here coming from Houston and the fact that I was here only five years, but they supported me."

That support has made him one of the two most popular choices in the ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame tally, where he's engaged in a battle for the top spot with former Dallas Cowboys running back and NFL all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith heading into the weekend.

Video

The Hall of Fame panel discusses the changing of the guard in the DFW landscape. Watch Watch Video

Photo gallery

Check out the 20 candidates for the ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame: Gallery Photo Gallery

Ryan is a nominee for more than just his on-field accomplishments. He stayed involved in the organization for a decade after his retirement as part of a personal services contract but branched out to other ventures. He was a special assistant to the general manager with the Houston Astros for four seasons before joining Texas again as club president.

Since 2008, when Ryan was named president, the club's attendance has increased each season, the team has had unprecedented success and he's hoisted the American League championship trophy in helping oversee the club's first appearance in the World Series in 2010.

"That was special because when you look at that, there so many people that played a role in it," Ryan said. "From our franchise's standpoint, it's the most exciting thing that's happened."

Ryan's greatness on and off the field made him a near unanimous pick by our ESPNDallas.com panel as an inaugural ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame member. Only Tim MacMahon, who selected all Cowboys for his "ideal five," didn't have Ryan on his final ballot.

"When you look at some of the true legends of the Metroplex and North Texas and what they meant to the teams they performed with, it's obviously an honor to be looked at in that light," Ryan said.

Coming Monday: We unveil your five selections for induction into the inaugural class of the ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame.