On Thursday evening, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame inducted the Class of 2010 which included Dick Allen, Hobey Baker, Elizabeth Becker, Tom Brookshier, Ron Hextall, William Hyndman III, Bobby Jones, Leroy Kelly, Lighthouse Boys Club, Tug McGraw, Jim Phelan, Mike Quick, Bobby Shantz, Phil Jasner, Marianne Stanley and Jersey Joe Walcott. 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.
Also honored were the annual Pride of Philadelphia award winners. The award is given in recognition of accomplishment by those who made Philadelphia sports fans proud of their town and its rich sports heritage in 2010. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was one recipient. The other winners were the Villanova National Champion Football Team and Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich.
Chooch was unable to attend as he is in Panama visiting family. Larry Shenk, the Phillies Vice President of Alumni Relations, accepted the award on Ruiz’s behalf. A fan favorite and clutch performer, Ruiz is well deserving of the honor.
It was an amazing evening filled with Philadelphia legends, their families and friends and a group of very enthusiastic fans who came to witness the event. The Phillies were well represented not only by Mr. Shenk, but president Dave Montgomery and PA Announcer Dan Baker attended as well, along with the inductees and their representatives.
Tug McGraw’s son, actor Mark McGraw, attended the ceremony on his father’s behalf along with his wife and daughter, Tug’s granddaughter. While accepting the award, Mark spoke of his father’s love of the game, his sense of humor and especially his love of the Philadelphia fans. Teary-eyed, Mark told the group that one of the only times he ever saw his father cry was when he had “disappointed the fans.” As to his sense of humor, Mark said that Tug would tease Larry Christenson by asking him if he was going to pitch that day. When Christenson responded “Yes,” Tug came back with, “So am I!”
Another highlight of the evening was seeing Dick Allen receive his award. Allen was the first African American to play a full season for the Phillies. From 1963 to 1969 and again from 1975 to 1976, Allen played hard for the Phillies while enduring racial harassment and even protests by angry fans. But if you ever have the chance to meet Allen, you will find that not only is he not bitter, he is one of the most engaging and pleasant people around.
In fact, Allen simply lights up the room and draws people to him like a magnet. He is warm, kind and very, very funny. No one could be more deserving of such an award, both for his performance as a player and his class as a human being. Allen said it was a “tremendous honor” to receive this award. It was also a tremendous honor for everyone in attendance just to see Allen, along with his wife, son and grandson, enjoy getting the respect and admiration that he deserves.
Other notable inductees included former Flyers goaltender, Ron Hextall; Eagles wide receiver Mike Quick; 76ers forward Bobby Jones; and Phil Jasner, who has been writing for the Philadelphia Daily News for 38 years:
I also got to meet the wife of former Eagle Tom Brookshire, who very sadly passed away earlier this year. There was another former Eagle in attendance as well; current NJ congressman, Jon Runyan who made me look like a midget:
I have put together a Photo Album from the event and separated the photos in three categories. The first one is the dinner reception and candid photos which is followed by photos from the induction ceremony. And the third folder includes photos of the Hall of Fame museum display, auction items and just some random photos around the hotel. The photos are all available for ordering if you missed the event or if you attended and see some you would like as keepsakes.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 106th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ. The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area. The event is usually hosted by the great Harry Kalas, but sadly, he is no longer with us. This same event last year was the last time I spoke with Harry. This year, the PSWA invited his son, Todd Kalas, who spoke with great affection and admiration about his father. I have video of the speech that you can watch below.
The tone of the banquet was still very upbeat and in usual PSWA style, many great athletes and coaches from the area were honored in grand fashion. The Phillies were awarded “Team of the Year” which was accepted by Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. accepted the award for “Executive of the Year.” Former Phillie and current advisor, Dickie Noles was given the “Humanitarian” award and Von Hayes was there also as a guest.
The next set of photos are of Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr., me with broadcasters Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy and Phillies PA announcer, Dan Baker.
The following video shows speeches from Todd Kalas, Amaro and Manuel. Note the “jokes” about the Cliff Lee trade; Amaro playfully blamed it on Charlie. Sorry Ruben, I fail to see the humor. Ok, don’t get me started on that…here’s the video:
There were plenty of other sports icons in attendance, including the 76ers Willie Green who got the “Good Guy” award, Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Eagles player Brent Celek who was named the “Outstanding Professional Athlete” of 2009:
We also heard from Andrew Bailey who was given the “Native Son” award; Bailey grew up in the Philly area and won Rookie of the Year for the American League in 2009 as the closer for the Oakland A’s. Ruben asked who his agent was and tried to steal him away…no success I’m afraid.
The MVP of the Army Navy Game, Ricky Dobbs, was also honored as well as Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova basketball, Fran Dunphy of Temple basketball , the 1960 Eagles and many others. The full list of honorees can be seen at the PSWA web site. I also put together a Photo Album from the event which shows many of these people as well.
The highlight of the night may have been comedian Joe Conklin who does impressions of his favorite Philly sports figures. His Cole Hamels impersonation is hysterical. Take a look:
And finally, here is clip of a program that will air this Thursday at 11pm on 6-ABC Philadelphia. The show is about the Phillies Off-Season and will include some photos that I took during the 2010 Phillies Cruise last month :O)
If you live in the Philly area, set the DVR or tune in at 11pm on 2/4/10.
Photos by Jenn
Chase Utley played 4 innings in a minor league Spring training game today and, according to Todd Zolecki, Phillies beat writer, all went well. Utley went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double. He reported no pain and says as long as he feels good tomorrow, things are looking up; Utley anticipates being ready for Opening Day. Phillies fans everywhere are anxious to see the All-Star 2nd baseman back in action!
The rest of the Phillies played in regular grapefruit league action today, beating the Astros by a score of 5-2. Greg Dobbs drove in 2 runs on 2 hits; Jayson Werth collected 2 RBI on a home run; and Pablo Ozuna led the offense with 3 hits in the game and 1 RBI.
While it was nice to see a steady offensive output, all eyes today were really on Carlos Carrasco, who is trying to make the team as the 5th starter. Carrasco did his part to impress the team with 3 innings pitched with 1 earned run on 4 hits and a walk. A pretty decent outing for the young pitcher, who’s ERA stands at 6.30 for the spring so far. Veteran Chan Ho Park will get his turn tomorrow when the Phillies face ex-Phil, Kyle Loshe and the cardinals tomorrow at 1:05pm.
World Series Trophy Meets Ben Franklin
Earlier today, the World Series Trophy made another stop in the Philly area; it arrived at the feet of Ben Franklin in the Franklin Institute where a crowd of Phillies fans awaited their chance to get an up-close look. The Phanatic wow’ed the kids and flirted with the girls and Phillies PA announcer, Dan Baker kept the peace; or at least tried to. Happy to report, most people were well behaved and Baker did not have to spank anyone…I assume he was relieved, but I could be wrong :O)
I dragged my good friend Kimmie along for the trip and she was a real trooper. Kimmie, I am pretty sure, does not even know what a baseball looks like. But as soon as I told her the trophy was made by Tiffany’s, she was eager to line-up and have her photo taken with it :O) And so, she is now a part of history, whether she likes it or not. This is the same friend who drew a bit of attention to me in front of Chase Utley as I was waiting for his autograph one day; her job was to take a picture. But as we got close to him, Kimmie looked around and then asked me, out loud, which one was Chase Utley. Everyone around looked at us as if we had two heads. But she is awesome and a true friend; even if she can’t tell a baseball from a shovel. ;o)
***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***
*Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose, Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!
The Philadelphia Phillies, for the second year in a row, won the PSWA’s annual “Team of the Year” award at Monday night’s award dinner. Charlie Manuel, Brad Lidge and Ruben Amaro Jr. were on hand to accept the award. Prior to Manuel’s acceptance speech, comedian Joe Conklin
did an amazing and hysterical impersonation of Charlie, as well as Harry Kalas (MC for the night), Cole Hamels and others. It was so funny, Amaro was in tears and I thought Manuel might laugh himself right out of his chair. Lucky for you, I got it on video! After Conklin, you will see Manuel’s acceptance speech and also Brad Lidge’s acceptance speech for winning the “Outstanding Pro Athlete” award.
The World Series Trophy was also on-site and photos were being taken and printed on the spot. However, you were not allowed, for some odd reason, to use your own camera. But as many of you are aware, I take photos until someone tells me to stop. So, here ya go:
I am a bit perturbed about the “No personal photos” thing as at every other stop on this trophy tour, people have been allowed to take photos. Why then, at a dinner where you had to PAY to go, do they decided there will be no photos? Frankly, I do not care what the excuse. It is ridiculous. This is just one more annoyance, along with the hike in ticket prices, lack of Winter Tour events (like Kid’s Fest, which was eliminated this year) and even special event prices going up (Baseball 101 will be $20 MORE this year) that have me a tad upset with this World Championship pillaging of the fans. Ok, ok, I am done whining for now… Sorry, had to vent :O)
Anyway, among the many highlights of the evening, Bernie Parent, hockey Hall of Famer and Conn Smythe Award winner when the Philadelphia Flyers won Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, gave his own sort of award to Brad Lidge.
Back when Parent was a goalie, the saying amongst fans was, “Only The Lord Saves More Than Parent.” Well, Parent made a new sign that said, “Only The Lord Saves More Than Lidge” with a big baseball on it and presented it to Lidge (see photo) while accepting his own “Living Legend” award from the PSWA.
Also present at the dinner was Philadelphia Eagles defensive back, Sheldon Brown, who took home the media’s “Good Guy” award for his accessibility and friendly manner when dealing with the press. Former 76er, Darryl Dawkins was also there along with
Sixers current GM, Ed Stefanski, who was seated right next to me at dinner (see photo). Dionte Christmas of Temple basketball, Steve Sabol of NFL films who won the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” Dan Baker, Phillies announcer, and the list goes on… The full list of winners and attendees can be seen HERE.
Also of note, Harvey Pollack, 86, was given a surprise award at the dinner (also for Lifetime Achievement, I think?). Pollack is an expert NBA statistician, currently with the 76ers, and the ONLY original NBA employee (since 1946) currently working with one of the 30 NBA teams.
Pollack is also the only person who has a ring from all four championship years in Philadelphia – the Warriors in 1947 and 1956, and the Sixers in 1967 and 1983. Here he is with Harry Kalas accepting the award. Two legends together; truly amazing.
And as always, I have put together a Photo Album of more pictures from the PSWA event. Hope you like it and, as always, feel free to leave you comments below.
And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod! All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!
Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose, Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!