HAMMOND | Ted Topor admitted to feeling surprised, but it's a reaction he should be used to by now.
On July 11, 2003, Topor, a 1949 E.C. Roosevelt graduate, was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame -- the same day as his 50th wedding anniversary.
It was just a matter of time before Topor was recognized as one of the greatest athletes to come out of the Region.
Topor was selected as the People's Choice Legend on Monday at the Indiana Welcome Center during the opening reception of the South Shore Sports Legends Exhibit.
"I was actually surprised to be selected," Topor said. "I have my son, Michael, to thank. He did a lot of the work (to get me in)."
Topor, who played fullback and quarterback at the University of Michigan, was part of the Wolverines' team that defeated California in the 1951 Rose Bowl. He then went on to play for the Detroit Lions in 1953, but his professional career lasted just one season due to knee problems that had bothered him since high school. Topor was contacted to play while serving in the Army.
Topor said being able to represent Northwest Indiana as one of its all-time greatest athletes is an incredible feeling.
"I was very fortunate to play with some great athletes in both high school and college," Topor said. "I owe all this to my teammates. We had a lot of guys from E.C. Roosevelt go all over the place."
Other South Shore Sports Legends selected include the Crown Point girls basketball teams of 1984-85 (back to back state champions), Al Pilarcik, Darrel Chaney and Tim Bishop. The Platis family (Chris, Jim and Mary Lou) was selected as a Contributing Legend.
Bishop's father, Darryl, was on hand to see his late son selected as a legend.
Tim Bishop, a Valparaiso High School grad, died in a car accident in 1997, with a promising professional baseball career ahead of him. He was one of just two people ever to be selected to all three of Indiana's high school All-Star teams.
"It's a tremendous honor, and I was very surprised when I was contacted," Darryl Bishop said. "For such a short period of time, he really made quite an impact. It's quite an honor, and it's nice to know he's still remembered. I'm sure he would have been quite honored to be chosen."
SOUTH SHORE SPORTS LEGENDS
2009 Sports Legends
1984 & 1985 Crown Point Girls Basketball Champions
The Platis Family (Contributing Legend)
Ted Topor (People's Choice Legend)
FYI: The South Shore Sports Legends exhibit runs at the Indiana Welcome Center (7770 Corinne Drive) in Hammond through Oct. 7.