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Children's Museum to Celebrate Hoosier Sports Legends in New Multi-Sport Play Area

"Avenue of Champions" will feature bronze sculptures of Oscar Robertson, A.J.Foyt, Tamika Catchings, 13 others

INDIANAPOLIS -- When the Children's Museum of Indianapolis opens its new "Sports Legends Experience," it'll feature some actual Indiana sports legends.

The museum plans to open the multi-sport play area in March, with a miniature golf course, a basketball court, a walking track, a Speedway-themed karting track, and other sports activities. On Tuesday, it announced it'll add an "Avenue of Champions," with bronze sculptures of 16 Indiana sports heroes.

Basketball dominates the roster of honorees, with Indiana Pacers icons Reggie Miller and Bobby "Slick" Leonard, Hoosier-born Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson, and Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings. But the list also includes track legend Wilma Rudolph, former Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, Fort Wayne-born soccer player DaMarcus Beasley, golf course designers Pete and Alice Dye, and longtime Indianapolis youth tennis organizer Barbara Wynne.

And the honorees include two all-time baseball and hockey greats whose Indiana connections might escape all but the most avid sports fans. Wayne Gretzky played the first eight games of his pro hockey career with the World Hockey Association's Indianapolis Racers. He scored three goals before being sold with two other players to the Edmonton Oilers for $700,000. The Oilers joined the NHL the next year when the league merged with the WHA.

Like Gretzky, Hank Aaron played in Indianapolis as a 17-year-old. The future major league home run king played two seasons for the Indianapolis Clowns in the old Negro Leagues before being signed by the Boston Braves. He'll be honored along with two other Clowns players: Toni Stone, Aaron's successor as the Clowns' second baseman, and pitcher Peanut Johnson. They're two of just three women to play in the Negro Leagues.

Former WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings (right) with longtime Indianapolis youth tennis organizer Barbara Wynne at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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