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The B List: Six very long shots for the Hall of Famous Missourians

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 23, 2013 - House Speaker Tim Jones is embracing people power.

The Eureka Republican could have gone with tradition and selected his own inductees into the Hall of Famous Missourians. That’s the collection of bronze busts on the third floor of the Missouri Capitol Building that honors famous figures from the Show Me State.

Instead, Jones is asking the public to help select two of the three next inductees into the hall. He’s asking Missourians for nominations, which eventually will be narrowed down to 10 people, through Sept. 13. The public’s two highest vote getters will be selected for induction into the esteemed hall.

The process of selecting inductees has received more attention in recent years. House Speaker Steve Tilley selected radio host and Cape Girardeau native Rush Limbaugh and sparked a nationwide controversy, while House Speaker Rod Jetton's decision to pick "Price is Right" host Bob Barker drew thousands of people to Jefferson City.

Here are six worthy Missourians who probably don't have a chance in the world.

1. Randy Orton or Glenn “Kane” Jacobs: With the worldwide popularity of professional wrestling, few are more famous than Orton, a north St. Louis County native, or Jacobs, who attended Truman State University in Kirksville. Perhaps the two grapplers can take Matthew “Koolaid” Michaelson’s advice and compete in a ladder match to decide the honor.

2. Korla Pandit: While Chuck Berry, Sheryl Crow or Nelly may be more contemporary musical choices for the Hall, organ aficionado Pandit would be a far more cerebral selection. The St. Louis native briefly captivated the nation with his smooth delivery and his trademark turban, earning the distinction of being the “Godfather of Exotica.” 

3. Xenophon Wilfley: Move over Kit Bond, John Danforth and Tom Eagleton. This St. Louis attorney who served in the U.S. Senate for five months is ready for his enshrinement into immortality. Why? Because Xenophon!

4. Tyler Hansbrough: Nicknamed “Psycho T” for his intensity and spooky eyes, the Poplar Bluff basketball phenom had stellar high school and college career before transitioning to the NBA. No word on whether he’d be willing to engage in fisticuffs to be considered.

5. Leonard Steinman: It may be his colorful van or his imaginary campaign for Ashland mayor, but the perennial candidate from Jefferson City developed a cult-like following among Missouri politicos. His beard, which rivals Santa for its luminosity, would likely translate nicely into bronze.

6. Jim the Wonder Dog: If the movie Air Bud taught us anything, it’s that dogs can be included into anything unless there’s a specific rule prohibiting them. With the ability to choose World Series winners and understand multiple languages, the Marshall-based pooch would be the perfect choice to break the species barrier for the Hall of Famous Missourians.  

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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