CLASS OF 1975
Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Hank Aaron became one of the most important figures in sports history and will forever be associated with the state of Georgia because of his long affiliation with the Atlanta Braves as a player and front office executive. He began his professional playing career with the Indianapolis Clowns in the old Negro American League and played in the major leagues with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves from 1954-1974 and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1975-1976. He was a World Series Champion with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957, a 25-time All-Star selection, a three-time Gold Glove winner, and consistent leader in home runs and RBIs throughout his career. On April 8, 1974, he hit his 715th home run at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, breaking Babe Ruth’s Major League home run record in one of the most iconic moments in sports history. He concluded his career with 755 Home Runs and a .305 batting average and was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. In addition to his legendary baseball career, Aaron is considered a Civil Rights hero for his groundbreaking accomplishments as an African American athlete and community leader.
WILLIAM (BILL) FINCHER
William “Bill” Fincher grew up in Atlanta and attended Tech High School. He was a football star and team captain for Georgia Tech, ultimately earning a degree in mechanical engineering in 1920. While at Tech, he was part of two national championship teams (1916 and 1917) and was a two-time All-Southern and two-time consensus All-American. Fincher went on to be the head coach at William & Mary eventually came back to Georgia Tech as an assistant, coaching the line for his former coach, John Heisman. Fincher is a Member of The Georgia Tech Hall of Fame and The College Football Hall of Fame.
A native of Glynn County, Fred Missildine won over 35 National and International skeet-shooting championships and was named All-American in 25 of his 26 years in competition. He was a self-taught shooter who became a teacher and promoter of trap and skeet shooting when he became the manager of the Sea Island Gun Club in 1939. He eventually became head instructor at Sea Island and began shooting competitively in 1941. Missildine finished his career with a phenomenal 98.6 lifetime average. He is a member of both the Georgia and National Skeet Shooters Halls of Fame. He was rated number 50 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s list of “Georgia’s Top 100 Athletes of the 1900’s.”
Larry Morris was already an Atlanta area sports legend when he graduated from Decatur High School. Nicknamed “The Brahma Bull,” Morris took his football talents to Georgia Tech where he was a four-year starter and two-way player at center and linebacker for the Yellow Jackets from 1951 to 1954. He earned both All-SEC and All-American honors while at Tech and helped lead the Jackets to four bowl victories, two SEC titles, and a National Title in 1952. He may have played his best performance in his final game as a Yellow Jacket against rival Georgia in 1954. He played the entire game and was credited with 24 tackles as Tech beat the Bulldogs 7-3. He was selected in the first round of the 1955 NFL draft and played 12 seasons with the Rams, Bears, and Falcons. He was the MVP of the 1963 NFL Championship game for the Bears and one of the linebackers on the NFL 1960’s All-Decade Team. He is a member of the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Doug Sanders was from Cedartown, and played golf at the University of Florida. He was the first amateur to win the Canadian Open before turning pro in 1957. Known as the “Peacock of the Fairways” for his flamboyant outfits and outgoing personality, Sanders became one of the most popular players on the tour during his career. He won 20 tour events, and finished in second place at the British and United States Opens and at the PGA Championship. Unfortunately his most famous moment on the tour may have been in 1970 when he missed a three foot for the British Open championship and then lost to Jack Nicklaus by one shot in an 18-hole playoff. In 1966, Sanders placed in the top 10 at all four majors.
Cecil H. Travis was raised on a farm near Riverdale and broke into the Major Leagues with the Washington Senators in 1933. Travis played with the Senators until 1947 except for three years when he served in the Army during World War II. He served in the 76th Infantry Division at the Battle of the Bulge and received a Bronze Star for his service. Cecil was a three time MLB All-Star (1938, 1940, and 1941). In 1941, Travis batted .359 and finished second to Ted Williams for the American League batting title. His career batting average was .314 with 1544 hits and 657 RBIs. Always know as a disciplined hitter and one of the league's toughest outs, in 4914 at bats as a pro, he only struck out 291 times.