Long overdue Hall of Fame man - Joe Schleppi
(written on 12/4/17 and last updated 1/8/18)
Have you ever heard of Mike Shine or Ed Caruthers or Mack Robinson? Most likely you have not. Yet, they were all tremendous athletes and terrific people and even Olympic medalists. They should never have to apologize for only getting silver medals at the Olympics. Sadly, though, we tend to overlook them because of some people they finished behind. You may have heard of Edwin Moses, Dick Fosbury and Jesse Owens. Mack Robinson gets the double whammy because not only did he get a silver behind Owens but his brother was none other than Jackie Robinson, of baseball fame with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Joe Schleppi was one of the great athletes in the history of Capital University. His only problem was competing behind three time All-American Rick Meindl. He should not have to apologize for that. In fact, he never did and was Meindlâ€s greatest fan. Can you imagine finishing second in every meet for two years, always to the same guy? Yes, Joe would have won all those meets and been OAC champion and in the Hall of Fame by now. This is our attempt to right a wrong that has been going on for too long. After all, his accomplishments (even with Rick Meindl present) are more than enough to make it in the Hall of Fame. If one looks they will find Mike Shine, Ed Caruthers and Mack Robinson in multiple Halls of Fame.
I have yet to mention his four varsity letters in football and his eighty yard punt against Otterbein, which I saw. Amazingly, once again, that gets overlooked because someone at Capital has kicked an 82 yarder!
From 1972 to 1976 Joe Schleppi was everywhere on the college campus. Not only was he a good student, but he could also shoot a mean jump shot in intramural basketball between football and track seasons. As a teammate, he was the best. He was always at practice. He was always working hard. He was always encouraging others. I owe much of my progress in the throws to his extra time and coaching.
And I have yet to mention his relay accomplishments. The OAC had a long established indoor and outdoor meet known as the OAC relays. They were always highlights of the season and very competitive. In the throwing events, three competitors from each school would add their best mark together and obtain their final placing from that. Schleppi, Meindl and Dan Maloney not only won many of these meets, but they set all-time records, breaking marks set by the dreaded purple of Mount Union. Some schools bring in great running relay teams into their Hall of Fame, as a unit. It seems to me that this record breaking shot put team should not be forgotten. If the shot put relay was an event at the nationals they could have been national champions.
People like Joe Schleppi represent the best of Capital University. He has continued to throw and make All-American standards for his age group while practicing law in the Columbus area. This is a long overdue nomination. We are sorry to have missed you all these years. It is my honor to recommend him for the Capital University Hall of Fame. It is my humble opinion that he should have a special award named after him - the Joe Schleppi unsung hero award.
By the way, there was a great picture of Joe in the Columbus Dispatch with his high school coach and one other athlete. The caption talked about how Joe was in on more plays than anyone else on the team and what a great player he was. On the other side of the picture is his teammate....Archie Griffin!!! It seems like he was overshadowed even in high school. It is time for Joe to not get overlooked again.