JCC’s Jewish Sports Hall of Fame welcomes nine new members

Jewish Sports Hall of Fame inductee Michael Laycob with wife Chrissy and their son 

By Seth Eisenkramer, Jewish Light Staff

From baseball to basketball to bodybuilding, the nine inductees into the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame represent virtually every sport played on, and off, a court.

The induction ceremony July 10 at the Jewish Community Center’s Staenberg Family Complex highlighted the accomplishments of male and female Jewish athletes from the St. Louis area. Sports journalist and 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Howard Balzer served as master of ceremonies.

Balzer added humorous touches throughout the evening and took a moment to honor the Hall of Famers in attendance,  including  Chuck Gottlieb, Paul Gallant, Nancy Lieberman, Sandy Pomerantz, Ron Zetcher and Jewish Light columnist Skip Erwin.

While the event honored those who achieved great feats in sports, Balzer emphasized that it went beyond that. 


“This unique Hall of Fame makes us all proud to have roots in the St. Louis community, and of course it also celebrates our Jewish heritage,” Balzer said.

The 2014 inductees include William Goldstein, Ben Koltun, Cathleen Kronemer, Irving Londy, Michael Laycob, Marty Maier, Gregg Polinsky, Steve Schneider and Steve Serot. Frank Londy accepted the award on behalf on his late father, while Jeff Polinsky went to the podium on behalf of his brother, who was in Las Vegas scouting talent for the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets. Julie Serot accepted the award on behalf of her father, who is recovering from a stroke.

Many of the athletes touched on their connection to St. Louis, including bodybuilder and JCC trainer Kronemer (who also writes a blog for the Light). 

“The JCC has become my family,” she said. “The J has been with me through every triumph, they have supported me through every hard time, they have always welcomed me as one of their own, and I am so grateful for them.”

The achievements of six high school athletes also were recognized. Lauren Greenstein and Elizabeth Kaiser were awarded the Martin Kodner JCC Maccabi Sportsmanship Award, and Ben Fagin, Shelby Hummel, Sarena Krojanker and Zoë Wallis were honored with scholar athlete awards.  

The ceremony, which took place for the first time since 2010,was attended by friends and family of the hall of famers who celebrated the achievements of the inductees. 

“Having been a part of the induction four years ago and a part of the selection committee this year, you can tell all the hard work that gets put into this,” Balzer said.

Upon honoring the Maccabi athletes, JCC board member Mark Kodner announced that St. Louis is being considered to host the 2016 Macabbi Games, which were last held in St. Louis in 2003.