Sports comic Joe Conklin has been a fixture on the dais of the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s annual Awards Dinner for many years. This year, our 108th annual banquet, will be no different. (The dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 30, at the Crowne Plaza on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, N.J.)
When Conklin performs at the PSWA awards dinner, he’s sure to leave the crowd and our honored guests – most of them, anyway – in stitches.
His spot-on impersonations of local sports figures has made Conklin an all-star in his own right.
When Eagles coach Andy Reid isn’t able to get to our dinner, Conklin’s impression of Big Red is the next best thing.
Below is a promotional video for Joe that features more than a few clips from Philadelphia Sports Writers Association dinners of the past.
The next video features Joe Conklin’s hilarious performance at the Philadelphia sports Writers Association’s 105th annual Awards Dinner on January 26, 2009.
It also includes the late, great Harry Kalas delivering an unforgettable joke about his friend, Richie Ashburn, and more memorable moments captured from somebody’s seat at a table near the dais.
Baseball fans, sports fans, and people who just like to laugh are mourning the passing of Leslie Nielsen earlier this week.
Nielsen was the anchor of the ‘Naked Gun’ movies – OJ Simpson was one of his co-stars – but he also had a loose connection to baseball, thanks to his hilarious portrayal of MLB umpire Frank Drebin.
The following, written by Chris Olds, appeared on ESPN Page 2.
Many of you might know him as Lt. Frank Drebin, a former major league baseball umpire or, of course, opera star Enrico Pallazzo.
But many of you might not know that Leslie Nielsen, who died Sunday at age 84, actually can be found in packs of baseball cards.
Upper Deck landed the former “Naked Gun” star for an appearance in its 2009 Spectrum Baseball set, which included a set of autographed celebrity cards.
Nielsen can be found in the 22-card Spectrum of Stars Autographs set alongside Burt Reynolds, Corey Feldman, Kim Kardashian, Kendra Wilkinson, Linda Hamilton and even Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. But none of those stars thwarted Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson’s attempt to attack the Queen of England, surely making Nielsen’s card perhaps more endearing to a baseball fan, right?
Nielsen signed two different cards – a standard version of his Spectrum of Stars card and a rarer version limited to 50 copies. Before his death, the standard card typically sold for somewhere between $15 and $40, while the rarer card typically fetched as much as $50.
In addition to those two cards, Nielsen also appears on four printing plate cards, the sheets of metal used to print the cards which were cut down to card size and randomly placed into packs.
Since the news of the star’s death, the standard card has fetched as much as $65 in online auctions.
Fifty years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFL championship with a 17-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
It was December 26, 1960, in a game that Eagles fans of that era will never forget, that two-way star Chuck Bednarik, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and company handed Vince Lombardi his first and only playoff loss as a coach.
That game made the ’60 Eagles immortal legends in the Delaware Valley, and the story of Bednarik’s crushing hit on Frank Gifford that sealed the victory for the Eagles has been passed down from father to son for three generations.
At their 106th annual Awards Dinner, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association will honor the greatest of Eagles teams. “Concrete Charlie” Bednarek, Pete Retzlaff, Hall-of-Famer Tommy McDonald and Dick Lucas will be on the PSWA’s star-studden dais.
The public is invited to the PSWA’s annual event, Feb. 1 at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill. Tickets are $75 apiece. Click here to order.
by John Gonzalez / Inquirer Columnist /
A text came in. Then another. Then the whispers started in the press box. Then the phone started ringing. This all happened within seconds.
It was about 8:45 last night when the focus shifted and everything changed. People stopped talking about how good Shady McCoy looked in the Eagles’ preseason opener against the Patriots and started talking about the big news.
Did you hear? The Birds signed Michael Vick.
I didn’t believe it at first. I didn’t believe it until Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, confirmed the rumor to ESPN.com. A news conference is scheduled for today.
The fans at Lincoln Financial Field didn’t seem to believe it either. One guy seated right in front of the press box stood up, knocked on the glass and mouthed the question to me that everyone was asking: “Is it true?” When I nodded yes, he didn’t seem so thrilled. The poor guy put his hands on his bald head and shook it. He did that for a long while. His reaction probably wasn’t unique.
It was barely two years ago that the former Atlanta signal-caller traded his Falcons uniform for government-issue prison garb after being convicted of conspiracy and running a dogfighting operation. Vick was sentenced to 23 months in the federal pen and suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The commish has since softened his stance, allowing Vick to look for work and stating that he could be eligible for full reinstatement by Week 6 at the latest.
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And so now Ron Mexico is an Eagle. To say it’s a shocking development is a gross understatement. If anyone in town expected this or knew it was happening, they did a good job keeping it a secret. Vick reportedly flew into town Tuesday night and remained undetected until late last evening. That’s a hard thing to pull off. If his football comeback falls through, he has a terrific career ahead of him as a spy.
Covert operations aside, the Eagles will take a PR hit on this, and it won’t be a small one. PETA and pet owners everywhere will crucify Vick and the Birds for climbing into bed together. Radio hosts will jabber about it incessantly and question what the hell the Eagles were thinking. Columnists and bloggers will write countless words – many of which will be angry and judgmental.
If you’ve already dug in and joined the anti-Vick camp, I won’t blame you or try to change your mind. People love dogs. I’m one of them. I’m a sucker for just about any animal, but the ones that roll over and play fetch and slobber all over me – even when I’m not at my best (which is most of the time) – are by far my favorite. What Vick did to those dogs was cruel and terrible and indefensible.
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But I’m not going to kill the Eagles for signing him, and I’m not going to attack Vick or ascribe some pejorative label to the guy. I don’t know the man. I don’t know why he got involved with dogfighting. But I do know that he went to prison, and he lost his job, and he’s been beaten up quite a bit over the last two years. He’s been beaten up almost endlessly. And for good reason. Don’t get it twisted, he deserved his punishment – all of it. But after doing his time and losing almost everything he’d worked so hard to achieve, hasn’t he paid the price required of someone looking to purchase a second chance?
This Sunday, CBS will air an interview with Vick on 60 Minutes. The full transcript isn’t available yet, but I went over the little bit that has been released. I searched for answers to the same questions we all have: Is he contrite? Does he realize how badly he messed up? Is he willing to take responsibility for his actions and admit his mistakes? Is he capable of changing for the better after all this?
“It’s wrong, man,” Vick says on 60 Minutes. “I feel, you know, some tremendous hurt behind what happened. And, you know, I should have took the initiative to stop it all. I didn’t – I didn’t stop it all.”
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No, he didn’t. And he’ll be forever shamed for that lack of judgment. He’ll never be able to fully shake the stigma of what he did. He’ll always be Michael Vick – the guy who fought dogs and killed them.
That’s a horrible burden to shoulder. He brought it on himself, of course, but I still wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone.
But, ultimately, whether people forgive Vick will have more to do with what happens in the future than what happened in the past. He needs to prove he’s truly, deeply sorry for what he did – and not simply because it irreparably damaged his once-promising career.
“I mean, football doesn’t even matter,” Vick told 60 Minutes.
The drama and build-up before the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis included a little of everything, from the Futures Game to the Home Run Derby won by Prince Fielder of the Brewers, to a personal appearance by the President, Barack Obama.
Obama, known more for his prowess on the basketball court than on the pitching mound, nevertheless did more than an acceptable job.
The lanky southpaw threw what appeared to be some kind of off speed pitch, reaching St. Louis favorite Albert Pujols in the air.