CR product, former MLB pitcher Ian Snell makes Delaware Sports Hall of Fame

Caesar Rodney product Ian Snell spent seven seasons as an MLB pitcher, winning 14 games with the Pirates in 2006. Delaware State News file photo

Former Caesar Rodney High baseball standout Ian Snell is one of nine former athletes who have been selected for induction into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, it was announced on Monday afternoon.

Snell is joined by George Alderman (auto racing), Dexter Boney (basketball), Bruce Frederick (gymnastics), Marianna Freeman (basketball), Montell Owens (football), Dan Rincon (running), Anne Marie Igo Rizzo (basketball/tennis) and Margaret Varner Bloss (tennis).

Snell was a major-league pitcher for seven seasons. In 2006, he was named Delaware’s Athlete of the Year.

At Caesar Rodney, where he was twice first-team All-State, he struck out 17 in a 2000 state tournament game against Caravel. Drafted in the 26th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, he ascended quickly through the Pirates’ system, and was promoted to the majors in late 2004. In 2003, he was named the Pirates’ organizational Pitcher of the Year after going 14-4 with a 3.00 ERA between A Lynchburg and AA Altoona.

In 2006, he became the Pirates number two starter, went 14-11, with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings, and was named Delaware Athlete of the Year by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association. In 2007, he was the Pirates’ workhorse, leading the team in innings, pacing the Bucs’ starters in WHIP, strikeouts and ERA.

During his Major League career, he started 136 games and posted 38 victories with a 4.80 earned run average while striking out 639 batters in 803 innings.

After two more years in the Pittsburgh rotation, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners, for whom he was a spot starter for two seasons. He also played for Puerto Rico in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Although he was raised in Delaware, he suited up for Puerto Rico as a tribute to his stepfather and his wife, both natives of the island.

Freeman was the first Delawarean to coach in the NCAA basketball tournament. She was head coach at Syracuse University for 10 years.
At Smyrna High School, she was first-team All-Henlopen Conference in 1973, 1974 and 1975, the last three years before All-State teams were chosen in girls basketball. She started for four years at Cheyney (Pa.) State, which ranked in the top 10 nationally in NCAA II in all four years.

In 1993, Syracuse hired her to run its women’s basketball program. She was the Orange’s first African-American head coach in any sport. Inheriting a 4-14 team, she had Syracuse over .500 in her third year, highlighted by a 62-59 victory over defending national champion Con¬necticut. In 2001-02, the Orange defeated defending national champion Notre Dame in the Big East tournament to earn an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

Rincon was an All-American cross country runner at University of Maryland, Dan Rincon is the fastest marathon runner in Delaware history, having now held the state record for nearly 50 years.

Rincon led the Terrapins to the Atlantic Coast Conference cross country title in 1972 and 1974. He set the university records at 10,000 meters (30:04.01) and in the six-mile run. He set the course records at College Park and the Naval Academy. He won the 1975 ACC title in the six-mile, and ran the two-mile in 8:49.6, the fastest ever by a Delaware runner.

At Dover Air Base High School, Dan was state Division II cross country champion in 1969 and 1970, and Division Two champion in the two mile run in 1970 and 1971.

In December 1975, he finished fourth in an international field in the Baltimore Marathon, with a 2:20:07 time, which qualified him for the 1976 Olympic Trials, and which has stood for four decades as the fastest marathon ever run by a Delaware resident.

He was the men’s and women’s cross country coach at Maryland from 1987 to 2000. In 2002, he was named to the Men’s ACC 50th Anniversary Cross Country Team.

Alderman was one of America’s most success¬ful sports car racing drivers, racing in Sportscar Club of America (SCCA) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) events during his 49-year career.

Boney became the leading scorer in Delaware high school basketball history while at Brandywine High, a NCAA Division I college basketball star at UNLV and the second Delaware high school graduate to play in the National Basketball Association with the Phoenix Suns.

Frederick was inducted into the National Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1990 after more than 50 years as an athlete, coach, official and historian.

Owens, a Concord High product, played nine years in the National Football League, seven of them with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and twice was named to play in the Pro Bowl.

Igo Rizzo was a standout basketball player at St. Elizabeth HS and later at the University of Delaware, where she is a member of the UD Athletics Hall of Fame. She has gone on to enjoy a national-caliber career in the sports of basketball and tennis at the National Senior Olympics.

Varner Bloss was a world-class performer in tennis, squash, and badminton for three decades, remains the only Delawarean to compete internationally in three racquet sports, and is a member of five halls of fame.

The nine standouts will be honored at the state’s premier sports banquet on Thursday, May 9, at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. Tickets to the 44th annual banquet are $65 each with tables of 10 available for $650. Social hour and silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the dinner and ceremony at 6:45.

Tickets to the event are on sale now and can be purchased online at the DSMHOF website at www.desports.org/events. The deadline for reserving tickets is Wednesday, May 1.

Advertising opportunities for the souvenir program are also available on the DSMHOF website.

In addition, the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame (located on the first base side outside of Frawley Stadium) will open for visitors beginning this Thursday, April 4, at 4 p.m. The hall will be open three hours prior to each Blue Rocks night game and immediately after each Blue Rocks day game. Admission if free.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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