Friday, June 7, 2019

Is a Black Golfer Good Enough for Mississippi Even When He is a Champ?

The first black golfer to win a PGA Tour event is apparently not good enough for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.  There are 15 white golfers in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.*  The list includes a wearer of the Green Jacket and a woman who won the LPGA twice.   However, it also includes golfers who only achieved success in Mississippi amateur tournaments or were recognized for PGA leadership.

Missing from the list is Pete Brown.  Mr. Brown earned his stripes in the world of golf.  Handicapped by color in a world meant for whites, he broke the color barrier, anyway.   Caddying while a lad at old Shady Oaks, he snuck onto the course to learn how to play golf.  He became an assistant pro for Sonny Guy at the Jackson Municipal Golf Course and in 1960 the first head pro at Grove Park.  Along the way, he managed to beat polio - no small feat itself. 

  Brown broke the color barrier on the PGA Tour when he won the Waco Turner Golf Tournament in 1964.  He followed it up with another win at the Andy Williams San Diego Open in 1970.  The former Sonny Guy assistant earned 356 PGA starts on the tour.  He also won numerous titles for at "colored" tournaments.  Unfortunately, there is no mention of him on a list that includes amateur champs and golfing bureaucrats.  

Golfers' Row at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame consists of the following:

* Three females.
* Three men and one woman for success on the professional tours, including a Masters champ.
* Three men recognized for leadership in the PGA
* Eight men and women for amateur success in Mississippi

It will become more difficult for Mr. Brown to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.  He died in 2016.  The rules only allow for the entrance of one deceased Mississippi athlete per year.   He has been nominated several times but narrowly missed admission to the Valhalla of Mississippi sports.   Compare his record to those posted below.

  A list that includes local champs and bureaucrats should include someone who competed and won at the highest levels of golf.  Mr. Brown deserves a spot in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Earlier post on Pete Brown's record.

*Check out their records below.

Sam Hall (No, not THAT Sam Hall)
Seven-time Mississippi Senior Amateur Champion.
Competed 10 times in the Magnolia Class on the PGA Tour, twice making the cut.
Competed in the U.S. Senior Open Championship seven times.
Mississippi Grand Masters champion 2004-05.
Won over 300 amateur golf championships over five decades.

Robert Morgan 
Founded Magnolia Classic (Magnolia>DGNB>Viking>SFB>Sanderson Farms)
Director of Mississippi's only PGA tournament for 38 years

Lou Hart

Won record 9 MS Women’s Golf Assoc. State Amateur Titles
10-time member MS team Southeastern Women’s Amateur Team Championship (1993-2006)
Quarterfinalist Women’s Southern Amateur (1978)
Qualified for USGA National Amateur (1979)
Medalist, qualifying tournament, USGA Women’s Mid Amateur (1987, 1991)
USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, 6th place tie after 36-hole qualifier (2003)
MWGA Senior Women’s Amateur Champion (2002, 2006)

Joe Iupe
 Mississippi MGA State Amateur Tournament Champion (’79)
MPGA Invitational Champion (’78, ‘81, ‘82, ‘83, ‘86) (record setting 5 wins)
Mississippi Amateur Athlete of the Year/Jackson Touchdown Club (’83)
Won the Mississippi “Grand Slam” events; Mississippi Amateur, Mississippi Open, Colonial Invitational, & Greenwood Invitational
All-time champion (5) of Mississippi Open/Farm Bureau Invitational (1978-1996)

 James Ray Carpentar
Golf pro, USM (’64) Golf Coach, USM (1968-1980) Member PGA (1969-Present) President of Mississippi PGA (’73, ‘75, ’76) Secretary of Gulf States PGA (’73) President of Gulf States PGA (’74) Mississippi PGA Professional of the Year (’75) President of Mississippi Turfgrass Assoc. (’76) Gulf States PGA Professional of the Year (’77) Member National PGA Board of Directors (’80-’82) PGA Rules Committee (1979-Present) Rules official, PGA Championship (1979-Present) National Treasurer of PGA (’83-’84) National Vice President of PGA (’85-’86) Chairman of 1985 Ryder Cup National President of PGA (’87-’88) Mississippi Pro Sportsman of the Year by Jackson Touchdown Club (’87) Golf Person of the Year by Southern Golf Journal (’88)

Ken Lindsey
 Mississippi Apprentice of the Year (’72) Member of PGA of America (1973-present) Apprentice Golf Professional at Colonial Country Club (’70-’75) Golf Professional at Colonial Country Club, Jackson, MS (1975-2006). Secretary/Treasurer of MS Chapter of Gulf States PGA (’74) Member, Gulf States PGA Section Board of Directors (1974-present) Mississippi PGA Player of the Year (’74-’79) President of MS Chapter of Gulf States PGA (’75) Gulf States PGA Section Secretary (’79-’80) PGA Rules Official (1980-present) Gulf States PGA Section President (’81-82) PGA Golf Professional of the Year (’83) National Horton Smith Award Winner (’87) Member, PGA Board of Directors (’89-’91) Secretary of the PGA (’92-’94) Named as one of World’s Greatest Golf Pros (’95) Vice President of the PGA (’94-’96) 30th President of the PGA (’96-’98)

Eddie Merrins
Southern Intercollegiate Champion (’53)
SEC Individual Champion (’53, ‘54)
Second in NCAA Championships (’52)
Third in NCAA Championships (’54)
 Mississippi State Amateur Champion (’50, ‘53, ’55)
 U.S. Open (Competed 8 times)
PGA Championship (Competed 6 times)
 Coach of UCLA Golf Team (’75-’89)
Pac 10 Coach of the year (’85)
Coach of Pac 10 Conference Golf Champions at UCLA (’82, ‘83, ’85)
Coach of NCAA Champion UCLA Bruins (’88)
 PGA Hall of Fame (1989)

Michael Taylor
All Western Athletic Conference (WAC) team (’65, ‘66, ‘68)
WAC Individual Championship (’68)
Finished 8th overall in the NCAA Golf Tournament Championships (’66)
All-American (’66)
Mississippi Open Champion (’75, ‘78)
Clarion Ledger Amateur Athlete of the Year (’78)
10 Mississippi State Amateur Championships over two decades including four straight
Past President of the Mississippi Golf Association (’79)

Dr. E. Cary Middlecoff (KF note: Damn!)
 First Ole Miss Golf All-American (’39)
 Won 40 tournaments on the PGA Tour (’47-’61)
U.S. Open Champion (’49, ‘56)
Masters Champion (’55)
Ryder Cup Champion Team (’53, ‘55, ’59)
Inducted in the PGA Hall of Fame (’74)

Johnny Pott
NCAA Champion (’55)
Five PGA Tour Championships
Dallas Open (’60)
West Palm Beach Open (’60)
Waco Open (’62)
American Golf Classic (’63)
Bing Crosby Pro-Am (’68)
USA Ryder Cup team member 3 times (’63, ‘65, ‘67)

Mary Mills
 Won 8 Mississippi State Amateur Championships (’54-’61)
 Golf Digest and NPGA Rookie of the Year (’62)
Won USGA Women’s Open (’63)
Won LPGA Championship (’64, ‘73)
Golf Digest Most Improved Player (’73)
9 LGPA tour wins
She finished in the top ten on the LPGA money list four times, with her best finish being sixth place in 1973.

Hunter Weddington
 Mississippi Amateur champion (’39, ‘47, ’48)
Mississippi Amateur runner-up (’41, ‘48)
Northwood Country Club Champion (’33, ‘35-’38, ‘40, ’42, ‘47, ’48, ‘51)
Northwood Invitational champion (’41, ‘42, ’43, ‘46, ’48, ‘52)
Shot Northwood Country Club record 63 (’48)
83 tournament titles; 20 times tournament runner-up

Agnes Fitz-Hugh
 Women’s State Golf Champion 9 times
Women’s Southern Golf Champion (’32)
Women’s Trans-Miss Tournament, medalist (’32)

M.J. Mickey Bellande
 Biloxi Jaycees Athlete of the Year (’63)
Club Champ, Sunkist Great Southern Broadwater Invitational Tournaments
Only golfer to win all three major Mississippi titles: Open (’50); Amateur (’64); Senior (10 times)

B.F. "Spec" Wilson
 Northwood Invitational Champion (’40, ‘59)
Mississippi Open Champion (’41, ‘53, ‘56)
Mississippi Amateur Champion (’51, ‘52, ‘54, ‘59)
Colonial Invitational Champion (’53, ‘54)
Laurel Four-Ball Tournament, co-winner (’58, ‘60)
Laurel Country Club Champion (20 times)
Greenwood Invitational Champion
Sunkist Invitational Champion


Anonymous said...

Agreed. And he accomplished this by doing more than winning golf tournaments - he competed against the system of a white game that was not yet open to blacks and closed courses that would not allow blacks to play.

Good post KF.

Anonymous said...

I think it's very fitting that he hasn't been inducted. It is a reminder that we as a state still have a hell of a long way to go with racial equality and respect. There's a reason the state has the reputation it does and we validate that reputation nearly every day. Personally, if I were as successful as he was, I wouldn't want my name associated with this state anyway.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of him, and I imagine a number of other golfers have not also. After some much needed exposure, I feel certain his induction will be forthcoming. Why does it always have to be "White Folks being prejudiced"? I heard these same arguments from every other sporting or political organization from Mississippi. GET OVER IT (please).

Anonymous said...

Posters will automatically assume that he has not been voted into the HOF for the sole reason of his race. I don't know that for a fact and they don't either.

Anonymous said...

The color barrier isn't as nearly as high as the religious one at the MSHOF.

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Chris Jackson), to my knowledge, has not even managed a nomination.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is when race is brought up, there is a group of people that says, yep, its definitely discrimination. There is another group of people that says, nope, no way get over it and stop complaining about discrimination. While I dont agree that every time people say discrimination that it truly is discrimination. However, I also have a problem with people who say cant be discrimination, no way, no how. Its time for you people to move past that. If you feel there is no possible way discrimination could exist today, you are part of the problem.

Also, if you deny the historical effects of long term institutionalized racism has been totally erased, you dont understand how economics works. The fact that Tate Reeves is the leading GOP runner for governor is a example of that. Gary Anderson was much more qualified than Tate Reaves. Tate won and his career has benefited from that fact.

Anonymous said...

I am not from Mississippi so I don't know who all the HOF worthy people are, put if you want a talk about name recognition besides Archie what great players were white. When you think about it does he belong in the same club as Payton and Rice, those guys were champions.

Overlooking Chris Jackson is probably based on his conversion to Islam and that is a shame.

Who is in the majority in the HOF?

Anonymous said...

I dont play golf. I never heard of Mr. Brown. I dont know whether or not he should be in the HOF. Does winning 2 PGA events automatically qualify you for the HOF? Are there any other MS golfers, black or white, that have won on the PGA that are not in the HOF? Does it take winning a few times or an entire body of work to be HOF material? I dont know. If you look at all the black athletes in the HOF, in multiple sports, do you really think the HOF selection committee is racist, as this story implies.

Anonymous said...

This is not racism of the present. I’m in my fifties and simply did not know of this great golfer that overcame tough obstacles. Blacks have been voted in for decades and make up more than half of the inductees. I suspect it does indicate past racism but do not know that for sure. The link below will allow you to nominate anybody you want. I’m sure Rick Cleveland will do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Jackson's NBA career was quite average.

Anonymous said...

It's not JUST racism. It's just that Whites really don't give a damn. I attended Jackson State back in the 70's with some of the greatest athletes in the country, period. They got little or no recognition while they performed here, not because the Whites in Mississippi media hated them, it's just that unless they played for Ole Miss, State, or some SEC school, they just didn't give a damn. Their accomplishments, records, and talents had no significance to them at that time, therefore the same people have no memory of their existence until the NFL, NBA, Major Leagues, etc. recognized their enormous talents. Lots of Black people my age and older remember Mr. Brown and his struggle against impossible odds, but our memories didn't count. As little as Black athletes were recognized in the so-called major sports, imagine the absolute obscurity a struggling Black golfer endured during the civil rights and pre-civil rights era. The Hall of Fame Is A Walk Down MEMORY LANE. For the majority of Black athletes of the segregation era, and as far as White Mississippi is concerned, it's a boulevard they didn't live on.

Kingfish said...

Mr. Brown has come close several times to being inducted. One thing hurting him is the rule that only one deceased person can be accepted per year. Not to mention golf is considered to be a somewhat minor sport compared to the big two.

2:21: I agree with much of what you write. Consider that if someone is 60 and under, he probably doesn't know who Pete Brown is.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:29 What's keeping you from nominating him???

Anonymous said...

Try to understand. Pete Brown deserves to be in the Hall of Fame as much or more than most simply because anything he accomplished was ten times more difficult because he was LEGALLY excluded from being a normal competitor. He could not simply walk on a golf course and play no matter how good he was. Despite that racist crap, he still managed to succeed. Now we question his credentials. Good God!

Anonymous said...

KF 2:29 That's why we have Halls of Fame and why people who are supposed to be knowledgeable make the selections. What happens when the "knowledgeable" selection people are just as ignorant about athletes they ignored years ago because of race as the people "60 and under" you mention. Too bad, Mr. Brown.

Anonymous said...

Second largest crowd and largest sporting event crowd in the history of the state was a Alcorn Mississippi Valley State game. I was there and it was close to 50/50 b/w. It was awesome featuring Willie” the satellite “ Totten and Jerry “ the world “ Rice. I sold drinks at all Memorial Stadium games sec and Swac- there were tons of whites at these games. Bill Walker and the Payton brothers also sponsored hundreds of youth teams’ tickets and would pre-pay for their hand delivered drinks. The number of future pro athletes at the JSU-grambling- alcorn- Mvsu far exceeded all sec games. It was certainly a different brand of football but awesome and definitely a precursor to the exact offenses in emerging today.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi gonna always Mississippi.........

Anonymous said...

I'm 41. I have never heard of this guy.

But that changed thanks to JJ.

Hopefully this man will be inducted and his family will have some satisfaction. He accomplished more than enough to be included.

Maybe some kid on a field trip will read about his accomplishments and be inspired.

Kingfish said...

That's why I posted all the newspaper articles Monday. It's one thing to read a column about the guy, another to see the articles reporting his accomplishments at the time.

Anonymous said...

Black, white or green. Making the PGA cut 365 times after overcoming polio deserves Mississippi sports HOF membership.

Anonymous said...

2.21 has a good point. There are very few people in 2019 that would not vote for someone solely based on their skin color but Mr. Brown was probably overlooked and did not get the recognition he deserved. Winning two PGA events is a lot more than most on this list did from a pure golf accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

There is more to this than meets the eye. I'm white and I started a campaign to get a black guy elected to the Ms Sports HOF. When I approached blacks who held influence they turned me down flat. "We have a list of guys who we think should be elected. If someone is not on the list they aren't getting the black support, even if the nominee is black." The black guy who told me this is a good friend of the black guy I nominated.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have known anything about Pete Brown but for the fact that I spent my 10th grade year at Brinkley 10th Grade Attendance Center during the 70/71 school year after schools desegregated here. Our carpool passed Grove Park every morning, and there was a sign there briefly extolling some of his accomplishments and his role at Grove Park. I started asking some questions and learned lots more about him. Obviously deserving. Truth is, there are lots of folks in our sports HOF who aren't as deserving as some who aren't there. Mr. Brown is among them.

Kingfish said...

Chris Jackson had a great first year at LSU. However, his production went down the second year. That happens when you have Shaq and Stanley Robert on the same team. The ball hog didn't like it so he went pro. He stayed in the pros for awhile but he was never great or productive as in his freshman year.

Don't think his post-high school career qualifies him for the MSHOF.

Anonymous said...

Why is it any list that is mostly white needs to have "color" added to it, yet NO problem with the BLACK rodeo, BLACK miss usa, BLACK awards, BLACK history month, etc, etc.....

Anonymous said...

Oh, good grief!
The members of the MS Sports Hall of damn well do know who Pete Brown was and what he accomplished.
You " never heard of him" idiots, likely never heard of many of the ones who did get in!
And,8:46 pm look at the list of those in the MS Sports Hall of Fame and see those who NEVER had a pro-career at all!
And, you wonder why some think you are racists????

Anonymous said...

Aside from the comments on race (which I really don't give a shit about either way) do you have to already be famous to be inducted into the hall of fame, or do you become famous by being inducted? If nobody's ever heard of you or knows of your accomplishments, why should/would you be considered?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Michael Rubenstein in the MSHOF? He never even played T-Ball.

Anonymous said...

Stop it Kingfish, the ball hog slight was uncalled for and says it all....Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf or Chris Jackson was automatic and deserved to have the ball in his hands as much as Eli. Your bias is quite obvious

NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1991)
NBA Most Improved Player (1993)
2× Consensus first-team All-American (1989, 1990)
USBWA National Freshman of the Year (1989)
2× SEC Player of the Year (1989, 1990)

Anonymous said...

I recall pulling for Pete Brown way back in the day, and was so happy for him when he won a PGA event. Yes, he should have been elected years ago to the MSHF. I do have a problem with his replacing Sonny Guy as the name for Muni. Sonny Guy toiled for many years trying to hold that goat run together and deserves a better fate.

Anonymous said...

It might have been different if he had golfed while attending a segregation academy with a scholarship.

Anonymous said...

5:56 - People don't send their children to academies in order to segregate them. They send them there for an education.

Expectations + Order + Behavior + Desire = Education

You need to hump that dog on another leg.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jethro, I can't say as I'm surprised you totally missed the point.

He couldn't have attended a segregation academy because it hadn't been necessary to invent them yet.

You either attempt to divert or possibly totally miss the point by attempting to explain why parents send their children to segregation academies today.

I have to admit I am surprised you managed to get from defending segregation academies to suggesting anyone who doesn't buy your historical revisionism should engage in some man dog sex in three short properly punctuated sentences.

Plain ol' Catfish said...

Good post KF

A lot of good comments and some great insight on this thread.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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