On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 107th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ. The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area.
This year, the PSWA honored Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay as the Outstanding Pro Athlete of 2010. He was also presented with his 2010 Cy Young award. Shane Victorino received the Humanitarian Award for his charitable efforts in the community.
A large portion of the Phillies family was in attendance as well, including President Dave Montgomory, the Phanatic, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel. As a guest speaker, Manuel had the crowd in stitches with his southern humor.
Manuel spoke about his home state saying, “You know they don’t have Christmas plays in West Virginia, you know that? They cut it out. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.”
The speeches from Victorino, Halladay and Manuel are in the following video:
Also present was comedian Joe Conklin who attends every year to entertain the guests. He does amazing impersonations of a variety of Philly athletes including Manuel, Cole Hamels and Eagles coach Andy Reid. Conklin’s routine is the highlight of the banquet:
The full Photo Album from the event includes members of the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers and Eagles, plus college and high school athletes.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
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