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