— Andy Warhol was wrong. In the future, you'll get much more than 15 minutes of fame. You'll get enshrined in 15 different Halls of Fame — but will anyone care?
Pete Rose finally earned Hall of Fame honors last week, but not for being baseball's all-time hits leader. Rose was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. Ironically, pro wrestling might have been the only sport Rose didn't bet on. Organizers, however, say Rose was honored for his promotional work at Wrestlemania events.
At a Hilton hotel ballroom in New York City, Rose was said to be overwhelmed with emotion and so was Jesse Ventura, who capped the event with a 23-minute speech.
"If by chance in 2008, maybe we ought to put a wrestler in the White House," the former Minnesota governor told 2,000 fans, recounting his unlikely rise from body slamming to politics.
Some sports fans may think it's ironic that Rose is now immortalized in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. But is it really? In truth, baseball is no longer our national pastime. Our new national pastime is fame itself, as illustrated by the more than 500 halls of fame popping up across America, with more on nearly a daily basis, honoring almost anything.
Hall of fame museums honor excellence in marble shooting (in Wildwood, N.J.), dog mushing (in Knit, Alaska), clowning (in Milwaukee), and even stripping (in Las Vegas, of course). Real estate brokers, insurance agents and accountants also have their halls of fame.
With such the glut, you can expect overlap, especially for extraordinary people. President Ronald Reagan was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1989, the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1994, and Sy Sperling's Hair Hall of Fame in 1997.
You'd expect to find Martin Luther in Canton Ohio's Christian Hall of Fame. He's also a kingpin at the National Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, where you'll find how Luther, an avid bowler, helped revolutionize the sport, even as he was sparking the Protestant Reformation.
Many of these teeny-tiny Halls of Fame don't generate much attention. However, even a small, cheesy Hall of Fame can be a gold mine. For nearly 20 years, Michael Bohdan, an exterminator has been operating the Cockroach Hall of Fame and Museum — a glass case in the corner of his shop — and it has turned him into a minor celebrity, with appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, and Animal Planet.
Bohdan's Hall of Fame consists of preserved insects that are decorated to look like celebrities. They include Marilyn Monroach and Liberoche, a bejeweled critter perched before an itty-bitty grand piano
With 4,000 visitors a year, Bohdan probably sells more souvenir T-shirts than most exterminators.
Rose may still have a shot at the Gaming Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. Wayne Newton is already an inductee. But how can they admit Rose without first making a spot for Kenny Rogers?
You can probably find controversy in almost any hall of fame, even at Ohio's Accounting Hall of Fame, where they honor T. Coleman Andrews, the first head of the Internal Revenue Service, who later denounced income tax as a "devouring evil" that is "slowly but surely destroying the middle class."
Indeed, the Wolf Files checked out Halls of Fame throughout America, and found these stunning controversies: Not in the Black Hall of Fame: John Kerry