Some made it in: The Boss. The Chairman of the Board. The Wizard of Menlo Park. The Number Two Man on the Moon. And, of course, Yogi.
They're better known as Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Tom Edison, Buzz Aldrin, and famed Yankee catcher, .
They beat out a famous American poet buried in Camden. The twenty-eighth president of the United States. An American comedian and film maker who was the winner of the French Minister of Culture’s 'Legion of Honor' award. And the writer of The Great Gatsby. Of course you may have heard of them as Walt Whitman, Woodrow Wilson, Jerry Lewis, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What was the line of demarcation between these two groups? The first group made it in to the new New Jersey Hall of Fame.
And for the second group, well, there is always next year.
The Hall of Fame is yet to be built, but has 15 famous New Jerseyeans ready and willing to be hung in its halls. The hall's first class of 15, includes, in addition to the above famous folk:
Meryl Streep, Albert Einstein, Clara Barton, U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, Vince Lombardi, Malcolm Forbes, Robert Wood Johnson II, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Toni Morrison and Harriet Tubman are claimed by the Garden State for our Hall of Fame.
Vince Lombardi? A New Jerseyean? Yup, he was an assistant coach at St. Cecilia, a Catholic high school in Englewood, New Jersey for a while early in his career. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf? Schwarzkopf was born in Trenton, New Jersey.
Entry in to the NJ Hall of Fame requires a five year residency. So, the standards are pretty wide open.
My nominees would have to include Larry Doby [first African-American baseball player in the American League]; my fav comedy team of Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, and Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.
Once again, I hope that Leno and Conan O’Brien take note.