Earlier today, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2010. This 7th class for the Hall will be officially inducted during a ceremony which will take place on Thursday, November 11. 2010. These chosen athletes have had exceptional careers in their particular sport, either with a Philadelphia team or having grown up in the Philadelphia area and gone on to an outstand sports career elsewhere.
Here are the inductees:
Several inductees were present at the press conference and spoke with the media. Closer Tug McGraw played 10 years with the Phillies and is best known for recording the final out of the 1980 World Series.
Sadly, McGraw passed away in 2004 from a brain tumor. His son, Mark McGraw, who currently works as an actor, was there to speak on his behalf.
Mark McGraw said, “Well I think you all know how much my Dad loved the city of Philadelphia and especially the fans. And to be honored into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is an honor for our family, it’s an honor for our Tug McGraw Foundation and Team McGraw which continues on Tug’s legacy and (pause), excuse me, it’s a bit emotional for me, and a very proud moment for Tug if he was here. And we’re very excited to be honored and representing our father and Tug McGraw into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and we thank them very much.”
Former Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Mike Quick, also spoke at the press conference. Quick played 9 seasons for the Eagles and still lives in the area. He noted that he has been in Philadelphia for 30 years now, which is longer than his time in North Carolina where he grew up. “To me now, this (Philadelphia) is really home,” Quick said, “My kids grew up here, I became a man here and I am very pleased that the Hall of Fame had decided to invite me as one of the inductees.”
Phil Jasner is a writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and currently covers the 76ers. He is to be awarded the “Legacy of Excellence” award and induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for an outstanding career as a sports journalist. Jasner also grew up in the area and graduated from Temple University. Always entertaining, Jasner did not disappoint today saying, “I asked Marcia, my life partner, if she’d still love me when I’m old and miserable. And she said, ‘Of course I do.'”
But the real highlight of the day for me personally was having the opportunity to speak with former Phillie, Dick Allen. Allen played for the Phillies from 1963-1969 and 1975-1976. He earned the NL “Rookie of the Year” award in 1964 and was a 3-time All-Star with the Phillies. His early career in Philadelphia was marred by several personal incidents.
Allen played during a time when racism was still prominent in America and certainly, in baseball. Allen was subjected to racial slurs and taunting by both fans and fellow players. In 1965, he got into a fight with a white teammate, Frank Thomas. Thomas hit Allen in the shoulder with a bat and was released the next day. Fans blamed Allen for the dismissal of Thomas and his problems were only exasperated by his own temper and demeanor, which were often seen as negative.
However, when I spoke with Allen today after the press conference, I saw a kind, gentle human being with a great sense of humor. Allen asked if I was going to take his picture and I told him I would.
He then pinched me on the arm, winked and told me, “You are such a pretty girl, I should be taking your picture.” Ok, so I’ll take flattery wherever I can get it. But that aside, Allen stayed to speak with reporters for an extended time after the press conference and was gracious and forthcoming with everyone he spoke to.
When asked about his difficulties back in the 60’s, Allen said, “Mother sat me down and had a long talk with me,” and went on to say his mother also taught him about the importance of forgiveness. Another question arose about the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Many think Allen should be in the Hall, but may have been snubbed because of his earlier temperament. Allen’s numbers certainly warrant a bid to the Hall. Allen’s career stats include a batting average of .292, a slugging % of .534, and his on-base % was 378.
When asked about a possible bid for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Allen said, “I don’t even know how that works. Maybe politics or something like that. I don’t know. I think everything speaks for itself. Possibly had I been a little kinder to some of the writers or maybe the right persons along the way, I don’t know.” But ultimately, he said has always been at peace with everything. Allen stated, “I played it all and gave it my heart so I am particularly enjoying this,” referring to his Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame induction.
I particularly enjoyed meeting and speaking with Mr. Allen. I would like to thank him for taking the time to talk to me. I would also like to thank all the other attendees and especially the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for inviting me to the press conference. Congratulations to all the inductees!
For more information on the PSHOF, visit www.phillyhall.org.
Here is the full Photo Album from the press conference.
Photosby Jenn Zambri Photography