(Orange, Texas)

Sports Headlines

July 29, 2009

Orange's 'Big Cat" Ladd in Grambling Hall of Greats


In 1968, Ladd debuted in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, where he would become a mainstay until 1980. Ladd was managed by The Grand Wizard of Wrestling for much of the 1970's, and provided WWWF Champions Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund some of the toughest challenges of their respective title reigns. Known for his immense size and power, it was a natural for Ladd to engage in feuds with other giants. His feud with André the Giant (who Ladd would refer to as "Andre the Dummy" during interviews) was one of the most talked-about of the decade.

After leaving the WWF, Ladd ventured to the Mid-South territory promoted by Bill Watts. While in the Mid-South area, Ladd feuded with Paul Orndorff, Ray Candy, Junkyard Dog and served as a manager to Afa and Sika, the Wild Samoans. Ladd also had a decent run as part of a tag team with "Bad" Leroy Brown in the early 1980's.

Ladd retired from wrestling in 1986. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

A longtime friend of George Herbert Walker Bush, Ladd helped the former president raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Ladd ministered to evacuees at the Astrodome who had been transported from New Orleans after the floods in Katrina He also served on the organizing committee for President George W. Bush's 2001 inauguration.

A 12-person board helped select the inductees that also include Willis Reed, Eddie G. Robinson and Buck Buchanan. The other inductees include: Henry Dyer (football), Ralph Garr (baseball), Charlie Hardnett (basketball), Robert Hopkins (basketball), Lane Howell (football), Stone Johnson (football/track), Willie Joseph (football), Leglian Moore (football), Bo Murray (football), Helen Richards-Smith (basketball), Richard Stebbins (track), Hershell West (basketball), Willie Young (football), Tank Younger (football), Ralph W.E. Jones (university president and coach), Tommy Agee (baseball), Collie Nicholson (sports information officer), Fred Hobdy (coach), Willie Brown (football), Willie Davis (football) and Charlie Joiner (football).

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