We fell in love with baseball from the very beginning. Following the Civil War, Rockford was home to the Forest City Baseball Club and with the success of its favorite team – The Forest City Nine – Rockford came to be called “The Cradle of Baseball in the West.” In 1871, the Forest Citys (as they became known) were one of the founding teams of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players, which later became the National League.

Not to be outdone, the ladies got into the act in 1943, when Phillip Wrigley started the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The men were at war, but the fans flocked to Beyer Stadium to see the Rockford Peaches “play ball”. During the twelve-year history of the league, the Peaches won the championship four times and came in second three times, giving them the best record of all.

Fast forward to the present, when baseball is about to become a major presence in Rockford again. The public is invited to join the International Women’s Baseball Center (IWBC) Board of Directors, Winnebago County, the Rockford Park District, The Friends of Beyer Stadium and the City of Rockford for a historic announcement on Saturday, September 3rd at 6:00 p.m. at Beyer Stadium. The International Women’s Baseball Center, presently located in California, will be relocated to a building across from Beyer Stadium. The facility will house the international headquarters of the IWBC, as well as educational, training, and museum facilities for girls and women’s baseball, with additional room for clinics.

The mission of the International Women’s Baseball Center is to protect, preserve, and promote all aspects of women’s baseball, both on and off the field through inspiration and education. The organization strives to inspire the next generation of players by helping them realize their dreams, not only of participating in the sport, but also of passing on all they will learn and achieve for generations to come.

Following the announcement, a reception will be held with former and current ball players, umpires and mangers, members of the IWBC Board, and local officials and supporters. A special added attraction will be the center’s 1947 Greyhound Bus, once used by the Peaches – a great photo opportunity.

“Obviously this is very significant for our community,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott H. Christiansen. “We have a rich history of both men’s and women’s baseball. How fitting is it that the IWBC wants to locate where the Peaches played their games. This is something else in our arsenal of uniqueness – that we will now have the International Center for Women’s Baseball located in the heart of the Midwest – in Rockford, Illinois!”

Dr. Kat Williams, President of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Baseball Center, feels that this move is an excellent opportunity for the IWBC. She noted that the organization is named the International Women’s Baseball Center because they not only             preserve the history – the long history – of women’s baseball, but they also celebrate the present, and provide opportunities for the future of women in baseball. Education is part of that mission through the museum and the preservation of the stories and the artifacts.

She went on to say that the central physical location is also very important. “This is not just about getting to play ball, it is about access to science and education, access to every aspect of baseball – giving women an opportunity to get involved and to experience what sports can do for them. There are many different ways that a woman can be involved in baseball. Maybe they aren’t necessarily good players, but they might be a good statistician or a coach or a groundskeeper. There are lots of roles to play in the game of baseball, and this will give them access to those things”.

“Rockford is a perfect location,” she added. “The Midwest has been a real focal point of baseball for decades and decades. It’s a place for girls and women to come together. The fact that the buildings are across from Beyer Stadium where the Peaches played is a definite plus.”  She also feels that their organization will fit well into the broader growth and expansion of sports in Rockford. “The mission of the International Women’s Baseball Center goes hand in hand with that effort,” she concluded.

The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame is proud to announce the selection of Robert Wayne Thompson, Edmonton, Alberta, [Semans, SK.], to be inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame, Individual Category, as a player, Saturday, August 20, 2016, at Battleford, Saskatchewan.

Wayne was born April 12, 1941, in Semans, Saskatchewan. His parents lived on the family farm a few miles from town. Wayne attended the country school where his mother was a teacher, and where there was a makeshift ball diamond. That was where Wayne got his first taste of baseball. Being an all round athlete, baseball emerged as the sport he loved the most, and his great skills in the game proved he made a prudent choice. He played in the minor baseball program in Semans. In 1957, under coach Gordon MacMurchy, the juvenile team competed at the Provincial Juvenile Championships, losing in the final. Wayne won two high school championships with Semans in the Govan School Unit. He was also picked up to play junior baseball with Raymore, who won two Provincials Championships. In the late 1950’s, Semans senior team played in virtually every sports day for miles around. The team was a powerhouse. Wayne was the clean-up batter and was a major factor in the team’s success, with Seamans winning first money at several big tournaments, two years in a row. These were Raymore, Cupar, Southey, Guernsey, Imperial and Nokomis. Between 1956 and 1959, the Semans Senior team defeated some very tough opposition including Father Murray’s Notre Dame Hounds, the Souix Indians, Govan, Lestock, Lockwood, Marysburg and Davidson. In 1956 and 1957, Semans was the Last Mountain Senior League Champions.

In Nokomis in 1958,  the park was filled with fans to watch Govan and Semans in the final game of the season. Wayne, in a very unassuming manner, batted an amazing 4 for 4, and crushed one for a triple in the top of the 9th, driving in a run to put Semans up 4-3. Govan then loaded the bases with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, and sure hitting Lorn Mortenson nailed one to left field, where Wayne made an over the shoulder spectacular game winning catch!

Wayne played left field; he ran like a deer; had an arm like a rifle and had excellent batting skills. When at bat, Wayne would not only hit the ball, he would crush it! He played the great game of baseball the way it was meant to be played-with passion, honour and great sportsmanship.

Wayne and his wife Ann, live in Edmonton, Alberta.

The SSHF will host a Gala celebration on Friday, September 30, 2016 to be held at Queensbury Conference Centre in Regina. This event will feature first class cuisine and entertainment that is second to none as we celebrate those who are synonymous with Saskatchewan sport. There is an emotional response that extends beyond the individual inductees as we relive the thrill of the accomplishments, the pride of knowing the Saskatchewan connection, and the profound honour in being able to place the names of individual inductees amid those sporting greats who have gone before them.

Guests who are part of this Gala will engage in this emotional response as they share the personal stories commemorating Saskatchewan’s sport heritage from three star-studded hotstove panels comprised of Olympic, Hockey and Football inductees of the SSHF. We will also be organizing a formal Parade of Past Inductees in order to properly recognize those hall of famers in attendance.

Inductees, please make arrangements to join us for this auspicious occasion as soon as possible. If you are planning to attend please let us know so that we may prepare the speaking notes in advance for our Parade of Past Inductees.

Ticket Prices:

Single – $150
Table of 8 – $1200

Tickets to the 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala will be available directly from the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame via 306-780-9232, sshf@sshfm.com, or online at www.sasksportshalloffame.com. Tickets will go on sale in mid-June. Funds raised from our Gala will support Never Give Up, a provincial education program targeting youth at risk and the positive impact that involvement in sport can have on one’s personal growth and development.

Lanny McDonald, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame and John Davidson, Chairman of the Selection Committee, announced today that four individuals have been elected to Hockey Hall of Fame Honoured Membership, three in the Player Category and one in the Builder Category. The vote took place today at the annual meeting of the Selection Committee in Toronto.

The Hockey Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these four hockey legends as Honoured Members,” said John Davidson. “Their contributions to the game of hockey are well documented and their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is richly deserved.

In the Builder Category, Pat Quinn was elected. After nine seasons in the NHL, Pat joined the Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant coach in 1977. Over the next almost 40 years, he held coaching, managing and President positions, both in the NHL and with Team Canada. At the time of his death in November, 2014, he was Chair of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Being recognized by Pat’s hockey peers is truly a great honour,” said his wife, Sandra Quinn. “I’m proud of Pat and what he accomplished.

Eric Lindros exemplified the power forward position throughout his 14 year NHL career. He won gold for Canada both at the Olympic Games and the Canada Cup and also averaged over a point a game in the NHL.

I was very fortunate to have coaches, teammates, billets and parents who supported me throughout my career.” said Lindros. “It also takes a lot of luck to get to the NHL.

Sergei Makarov led the Soviet League in scoring for nine seasons, while also winning eight World Championship gold medals and two Olympic gold medals. He later joined the NHL as a member of the Calgary Flames in 1989 and went on to play in over 400 NHL games.

For everyone who plays the game, this is the top place,“said Markarov. “It will be so nice to join all of those great players.

Rogie Vachon joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1966 and won three Stanley Cups in his first six NHL seasons. After being traded to the LA Kings in 1971, he continued his stellar career for 11 more seasons before retiring to become an NHL coach and executive.

I was very lucky to play for the Montreal Canadiens at the start of my career,” said Vachon. “My first shot on net was a breakaway by Gordie Howe. I stopped it and it kept me in the league for 16 more years.”

The 2016 Induction Celebration will be held on Monday, November 14th at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. For more information regarding the 2016 Induction Weekend/Celebration, visit http://www.hhof.com.

Established in 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s (“HHOF”) mandate is to recognize and honour the achievements of players, builders and officials who bring special distinction to the game of hockey, and to collect, preserve, research and exhibit objects, images and resource materials connected with the game as it is played in Canada and throughout the world. As a non-profit corporation and a registered charity under the Income Tax Act, HHOF owns and operates a museum and place of entertainment offering state-of-the-art exhibits, multimedia presentations and educational programming from its premises at Brookfield Place, Toronto, Canada.

When the Miami Heat and Comcast wanted to create a branded, experiential destination at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL, they called on GMR Marketing to design it and EDE was then brought in to turn those designs into reality.  Working closely with the  design and project team provided by GMR, we engineered, fabricated and installed the Xfinity Zone.  This new “venue” at the arena includes a large, branded, X1 wall, complete with multiple screens for viewing; it also includes a canopy over the X1 wall, a large 3D logo on the entrance wall, graphic column wraps and window treatments, a custom branded carpet, and custom furniture with built-in charging  stations.  The entire project was fabricated in our Chicago shop and then installed in Miami.  The fans and visitors will now have one more way to experience The Heat!


080116PHOF_KN0405FOXBOROUGH,
Mass. – For 13 seasons, Kevin Faulk pranced, darted and bounced around defenders as a running back and kick returner for the New England Patriots. He was a reliable playmaker for three Super Bowl Championship teams and became a tremendous pass blocker in protecting quarterback Tom Brady. On August 1, he took his place among the greatest Patriots of all time when he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame after being voted in by the fans.

Back in April, Faulk was in Chicago to announce the team’s second round draft pick. He walked onto the stage that night wearing a No. 12 Brady jersey in support of the Patriots quarterback. On induction day, Brady returned the favor, walking out to the stage in a No. 33 Faulk jersey.

IMG_0996forwebFaulk is the 25th entrant into the Patriots Hall of Fame and joins Troy Brown (2012) and Tedy Bruschi (2013) as the third player to enter The Hall as a career Patriot with three Super Bowl rings. He is also just the fifth player to be selected by the fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, joining Drew Bledsoe (2011), Brown, Bruschi and Ty Law (2014).

“Kevin Faulk helped deliver three Super Bowl championships and redefined the way an entire generation of Patriots fans celebrated football in New England,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Despite entering the NFL as the second-leading rusher in SEC history, he arrived in New England without ego or pretense. He was a selfless and tireless contributor to the team, accepting every challenge and excelling in many roles throughout his 13-year career. His work ethic, enthusiasm for the game and clutch performances, especially on third down, earned him the respect of his coaches, teammates and fans alike. For all his contributions and memorable moments on the field, some of my fondest memories were of Kevin’s contributions off the field. He earned our Ron Burton Community Service award in 2009 and often involved his family in his volunteer work, teaching his children the values of giving back.”

Faulk also will be honored with a halftime ceremony at the Patriots’ 2016 home opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Faulk concluded his 13-year career with the Patriots as one of the most productive players in team history. He filled various roles after joining the team in 1999 as a second-round pick (46th overall) out of Louisiana State. He is the Patriots’ all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,349) and kickoff return yards (4,098). He is also the Patriots’ all-time leading return specialist, totaling 5,041 combined return yards (4,098 kick return yards and 943 punt return yards). He ranks fifth in Patriots history in rushing yards (3,607), fifth in receptions (431), 12th in receiving yards (3,701) and eighth in punt return yards (943).

For his career, he played in 161 regular season games and accumulated 3,607 yards rushing on 864 attempts for a 4.2-yard average with 16 touchdowns, caught 431 passes for 3,701 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, returned 181 kicks for 4,098 yards and two touchdowns and returned 101 punts for 943 yards. Faulk is the Patriots’ all-time leader in receptions by a running back and is one of just 30 running backs in NFL history to reach the 400-reception plateau. In the 2000s, he was one of just six players to rush for more than 3,000 yards and gain more than 3,000 yards receiving, joining Tiki Barber, Marshall Faulk, Michael Pittman, LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook. During his 13 year career, Faulk helped the Patriots claim 11 winning seasons, including three Super Bowls titles and five AFC Championships. Faulk is a member of the Patriots’ all-decade (2000s) and 50th Anniversary teams as a return specialist.

Beginning in 2007, the Patriots started a new hall of fame tradition, inducting one player or head coach to The Hall each year. The process for induction involves a panel of media, alumni and staff who collectively nominate the players or head coaches most deserving of induction. After the nominations are made, the committee votes and the top three tallies become that year’s finalists. The Patriots then give their fans the opportunity to vote online to make the annual selection. The New England Patriots held their annual nomination committee meeting on April 6 to select this year’s Patriots Hall of Fame candidates. The finalists were (listed in alphabetical order) cornerback Raymond Clayborn, Faulk and linebacker Mike Vrabel.

 

About the Patriots Hall of Fame

The Patriots Hall of Fame was officially formed in 1991 after John Hannah became the first Patriots player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With the Hall of Fame, the Patriots created a new way of honoring their greatest players.  The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon officially opened in 2008, giving Patriots players, past and present, a place where there legacies can be preserved for generations to come. Enshrinement into The Hall is an honor befitting of the franchise’s greatest players and contributors, with 30-foot video pylons displaying each inductee. Beginning in 2007, fans became part of the hall of fame tradition and active participants in the selection process.

 

This year’s inductee will join other Patriots greats and two contributors as a member of the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame (listed in alphabetical order below with year of induction):

Houston Antwine (2015)

Bruce Armstrong (2001)

Drew Bledsoe (2011)

Troy Brown (2012)

Tedy Bruschi (2013)

Nick Buoniconti (1992)

Gino Cappelletti (1992)

Ben Coates (2008)

Sam Cunningham (2010)

Bob Dee (1993)

Kevin Faulk (2016)

Steve Grogan (1995)

John Hannah (1991)

Mike Haynes (1994)

Jim Lee Hunt (1993)

Ty Law (2014)

Willie McGinest (2015)

Stanley Morgan (2007)

Jon Morris (2011)

Jim Nance (2009)

Steve Nelson (1993)

Vito “Babe” Parilli (1993)

Andre Tippett (1999)

 

Contributors:

William H. “Billy” Sullivan, Jr. (2009)

Gil Santos (2013)

ABOUT THE HALL AT PATRIOT PLACE PRESENTED BY RAYTHEON

The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon is the crown jewel of Patriot Place and the only sports and education experience of its kind. Through a dazzling array of interactive multimedia exhibits and artifacts never before viewable by the public, The Hall showcases the tradition of the New England Patriots, explores the history of football in New England and promotes math and science education for thousands of schoolchildren each year. The Hall’s signature exhibit and premier photo opportunity is The Super Bowl Experience. Visitors can re-live each of the team’s four Super Bowl championships, view each of the team’s Vince Lombardi Trophies and Super Bowl championship rings and re-enact Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl XLIX game-clinching interception. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.TheHallatPatriotPlace.com, find “The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon” on Facebook or follow @TheHall on Twitter.