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Jeff Nelson, Mookie Wilson, Katie Ledecky, Margaret Purce to be Honored at 42nd Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner on Monday, March 7

The honorees for the 42nd Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers (23rd Street at West Side Highway) in New York City on Monday night, March 7, 2022 benefiting AHRC New York City Foundation, have been announced today. These are this year’s award recipients: World Series champions, pitcher Jeff Nelson (1996, ’98, ’99, 2000) of the New York Yankees and outfielder Mookie Wilson (1986) of the New York Mets, seven-time Olympic Gold Medalist in swimming Katie Ledecky, and soccer standout NY-NJ Gotham FC forward Margaret Purce.

Julia Yager Spillman-Gover, CEO of The Eklund|Gomes Team at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, will receive the M. Anthony Fisher Humanitarian Award. 

The gala remembers the late great Yankees captain and catcher Thurman Munson and has raised more than $18 million for the AHRC NYC Foundation which supports programs that enable children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives. 

Joining in the celebration is a stellar lineup of sports dignitaries that includes baseball notables Bobby Valentine, John Flaherty and Nelson Figueroa, ever-popular Knicks guard John Starks, and a trio of New York Football Giants Super Bowl champs who are previous ‘Thurman” recipients: Hall of Famer Harry Carson, Chris Canty and Karl Nelson. 

Tina Cervasio, lead sports anchor for FOX 5 in New York, will be the Master of Ceremonies. New York Islanders co-owner and Katie Ledecky’s proud uncle, Jon Ledecky, will accept on her behalf. Katie Ledecky will also send a video message since she is unable to attend due to the date change from the originally-scheduled February 1

The Thurman Munson Awards are presented annually for success and inspiration on the fields of play, and community spirit off the field. Thurman’s widow Diana Munson is an honorary chair who has supported AHRC NYC and its fund-raising efforts through the Thurman Munson Awards for four decades. 

Gehrig Speech NFT Helps Relaunch NY Sports Hall

The New York Sports Hall of Fame relaunched today with a slate of digital firsts, including bidding on a non-fungible token (NFT) of the speech regarded as the most famous in sports history.

The historic 1-of-1 NFT of uncut extant film of the iconic 1939 “Luckiest Man” address by New York Yankees captain Lou Gehrig is open for bidding at opensea.io/collection/gehrig. The film is the longest single-source recording of the speech and the first known Gehrig speech NFT. 

Delivered at Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium, the speech is part of a New York Sports Hall of Fame collection that includes filmed remarks at the same ceremony by baseball legend Babe Ruth and Yankees manager Joe McCarthy. The three men were inducted into the Hall between 1989 and 1991. 

After a long hiatus, the New York Sports Hall of Fame relaunched today in digital form at newyorksportshall.com and on the prominent NFT marketplace OpenSea at opensea.io/nys.  Later this year, the Hall plans to release digital commemoratives of more of its 310 inductees to date and to open balloting for its next member class.

The New York Sports Hall of Fame’s extensive collection of original Greater New York historical content is preserved from more than 150 years of various sports developments, from Major League Baseball to six-day bicycle racing. The Hall archives illustrate how the history of Greater New York sports has helped shape culture and society in the region and beyond.

Gehrig was voted into the New York Sports Hall of Fame twice, in 1989 for professional baseball and two years later for college baseball. The former Columbia University star and record-setting Yankees first baseman was born, raised and educated in New York City.

Well known for its line, “the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” Gehrig’s speech was delivered on July 4, 1939. At the time, Gehrig was dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, the rare and incurable disease that became known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. 

The Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day NFT collection on OpenSea accepts the popular cryptocurrency Ethereum, which can be purchased on the exchange Coinbase and used on OpenSea with the digital wallet MetaMask.

Launched 32 years ago, the New York Sports Hall of Fame is owned and operated by the streaming service New York Sports Experience (newyorkse.com).

“From its start, the New York Sports Hall of Fame has been dedicated to the preservation and commemoration of the rich history of Greater New York sports,” said Jordan Sprechman, New York Sports Experience’s founder and an original New York Sports Hall of Fame officer. “Today’s digital expansion reflects that mission.”

Gehrig Career Simulations and ‘What If’ Highlight Strat-O-Matic Celebration Of Lou Gehrig Day

Strat-O-Matic, the market leader in sports simulation, today released the results of three simulations tied to baseball’s observation of “Lou Gehrig Day” as part of its celebration of the endeavor across the sport. Full details of each simulation are posted at http://www.strat-o-matic.com.

The first is a “Home Run Derby” featuring two pairs of famed Yankee sluggers during their most prolific seasons. Gehrig took on his 1927 teammate Babe Ruth and 1961 “M&M Boys” Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in a 10 at-bat format. Gehrig hit just one home run in his first four at bats to two by each of the other competitors, but slammed five in his last six times up to win with six bombs to four each by Ruth, Maris and Mantle.

Second is an imagined contest in which all the competitors wore #4 in their careers. In the simulation, which pitted the N.L. vs. the A.L. Gehrig went 0-for-4 against Blake Snell and 1950s journeyman Hal Jeffcoat, but his Junior Circuit squad took a 3-0 verdict behind two home runs by Hall of Famer Goose Goslin and eight innings of four-hit pitching by 1960s lefty George Brunet.

In the final simulation, Strat-O-Matic reimagined Gehrig’s career had he not been stricken with ALS, beginning with the 1938 season, during which his numbers were likely reduced in the early stages of the disease. In the replay, Gehrig plays through 1942, his age 39 season, amassing a total of 676 doubles (which would have placed him third at the time of his retirement, instead of 11th), 610 home runs (second, rather than third) and 2488 RBI (first, instead of third).

In addition to conducting the simulations, Strat-O-Matic will donate 10% of net sales today (June 2) to The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter, home region to Gehrig and the game company celebrating its 60th year. June 2 was both the day that Gehrig began his consecutive games played streak in 1925 (first game started), and the date of his death in 1941. In addition to increasing awareness of the disease and fundraising to fight it, Lou Gehrig Day also serves to celebrate those working to end ALS.

Strat-O-Matic To Celebrate Lou Gehrig Day With Simulations, ALS Association Donation

With the recent announcement that baseball will observe “Lou Gehrig Day” annually on June 2, Strat-O-Matic, the market leader in sports simulation, today unveiled its plans to honor the all-time great first baseman whose untimely passing from ALS cut short his legendary career. In addition to donating 10% of net sales on that date to The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter, home region to Gehrig and the game company celebrating its 60th year, Strat-O-Matic will simulate several scenarios related to the Hall of Famer.

Beginning on Monday, May 31, and continuing through Wednesday, Strat-O-Matic will release three simulations by its research team that include an extension of Gehrig’s career past 1939, had he not been stricken with the progressive neurodegenerative disease that often bears his name; a home run derby between Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris; and a contest featuring all-time stars who wore his famed #4.

Lou Gehrig (Met Museum/The Jefferson R. Burdick Collection)

June 2 was both the day that Gehrig began his consecutive games played streak in 1925, and the date of his death in 1941. In addition to increasing awareness of the disease and fundraising to fight it, Lou Gehrig Day also serves to celebrate those working to end ALS.

“Lou Gehrig’s accomplishments on the field and impact off the field are immense, and we’re pleased to be honoring him as part of baseball’s new Lou Gehrig Day across the sport,” said Adam Richman, Strat-O-Matic President. “We are proud to incorporate a donation to the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter and we hope fans will enjoy the simulations around one of our most popular historical players.”

Cubs Take Down Yankees In Strat-O-Matic’s 2020 Baseball Playoff Simulation

Anthony Rizzo (credit: Arturo Pardavillo III)

It has been more than eight decades since the Cubs and Yankees met in the World Series, but according to the simulation posted today by Strat-O-Matic (www.strat-o-matic.com), the leader in sports simulation games, those two storied franchises will survive three rounds of playoffs and match up for the title next month. Chicago, behind four home runs and 10 RBI by MVP Anthony Rizzo, won it in seven games, a two-run single by unlikely hero Victor Caratini in the eighth inning of the deciding contest providing the winning margin in what would be Chicago’s second crown in five years and fourth in its history.

After edging sixth-seeded Miami in the N.L. Wild Card round, two games to one, No. 3 Chicago won its next series more efficiently, 3-1 over Atlanta and 4-1 over San Diego. The Yankees, the A.L. No 5 seed, had a similar run to the Series, sweeping Cleveland in the Wild Card round, taking Toronto, three games to one, and Minnesota, four games to one.

In the World Series, the Cubs took a three games to one lead before the Yankees earned wins in games five and six to set up the winner-take-all finale. Despite two home runs by Giancarlo Stanton, Caratini’s pinch hit put the Cubs up for good in the 8-5 victory. Rizzo hit .483 and also scored seven runs in the series, which pitted the same franchises who were paired in 1932 and 1938.

“It’s been a season unlike any other in so many ways,” said Hal Richman, Strat-O-Matic President. “And while these may not be the favored teams in either league, anything can happen in a short series, and the Strat-O-Matic simulation, which has annually been a good predictor of the winner, reflect that.”

Each round’s series results are below; fans can see linescores for each contest at www.strat-o-matic.com.

2020 Strat-O-Matic Baseball Playoff Simulation Results:

A.L. Wild Card Round
Toronto 2, Tampa Bay 1
New York 2, Cleveland 0
Minnesota 2, Houston 0
Chicago 2, Oakland 0

N.L. Wild Card
Los Angeles 2, Milwaukee 0
San Diego 2, St. Louis 1
Chicago 2, Miami 1
Atlanta 2, Cincinnati 1

A.L. Division Series
New York 3, Toronto 1
Minnesota 3, Chicago 1

N.L. Division Series
San Diego 3, Los Angeles 2
Chicago 3, Atlanta 1

Championship Series
New York 4, Minnesota 1
Chicago 4, San Diego 1

World Series
Chicago 4, New York 3

Valentine, White, Leyritz Plus ‘69 Amazin’ Mets Kranepool, Swoboda, Shamsky Free Live Virtual Q&A’s Weds, Thurs

As baseball prepares for its return to Yankee Stadium and Citi Field this month, some of the standouts from years past take the virtual stage when former Mets Subway Series manager Bobby Valentine, currently A.D. at Sacred Heart University, former Yankees hard-hitting outfielder Roy White, Yankees postseason standout Jim Leyritz, and Amazin’ 1969 Mets World Series champions Ed Kranepool, Ron Swoboda and Art Shamsky appear in a pair of FREE live moderated video Q&A sessions via Wizard World Virtual Experiences (www.wizardworldvirtual.com). Fans can catch Valentine, White and Leyritz on Wednesday, July 15, at 7 p.m. ET, while the ‘69 Mets are live on Thursday, July 16, at 4 p.m. ET.

As part of the events, fans across the globe can:

Pricing for the individual chat, video and autograph packages vary by item and star, available here for White, Valentine and Leyritz and here for Kranepool, Swoboda and Shamsky.

Roy White

Fantasy Betting Has Long Been Part of the Scene – Just ask Mets and Yankee fans

Fantasy Betting Has Long Been Part of the Scene – Just ask Mets and Yankee fans

By TERRY LYONS, Contributing Columnist
@terrylyons @The Daily Payoff

The intersection of sports gambling and fantasy sports has been a key crossroad of the American sports scene long before the daily fantasy providers were sinking millions into a constant stream of radio and television ads.

While betting on the outcome of games, usually on a money line, might’ve put former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose in a predicament, the average baseball fan has long enjoyed the thrill of predicting the future.  Whether handicapping the pitching duel or wagering ridiculously on the very next pitch being a ball or strike, the experience has captivated the fans.

As the current climate continues to change, quicker than the ice melts in Antartica, the leading sports executives are recognizing the change and see the business opportunity on the horizon. But they would only have to look back to the summers of ’74 and ’75  in Queens County, New York to have seen the future.

While the New York Yankees and New York Mets were each playing mediocre baseball, teetering around .500, fans at Shea Stadium were treated to games nearly every night as the Yankees were relocated across the East River when The City of New York renovated Yankee Stadium for two seasons. The Mets’ roster featured Cy Young award winner Tom Seaver, who went 22-9 in ’75 when his club finished 82-80 and 10 games back of the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Yanks’ roster included the core of eventual ’77 and ’78 World Series championship teams. Yet the opportunity for a baseball fan that summer was simply the ease of getting great seats at prices that were next to nothing, especially for the displaced Bronx Bombers.

It was the perfect summer for high school buddies to head out to Shea, grab box seats for $5 apiece and play a game we simply called, “Pass the Hat.” We knew it was probably illegal but a harmless form of wagering.
Little did we know, it was an early form of fantasy baseball that kept us fully engaged each and every at bat.

The rules were simple. The game worked best when you had at least four participants, great when you had six or eight. To start, someone would take off their baseball cap and everybody would “ante up” a buck by tossing it into the cap. Batter up and the person holding the hat was eligible to collect the loot if a player got a hit when you were holding it. If the batter made out, you were obligated to toss in another $1 buck and pass the hat to your buddy seated next to you. If a player walked, you passed the hat free of charge, so, in our game, a walk was not as good as a hit. One caveat was the luck of holding the hat when a home run was hit. In that case, not only did you collect the money in the hat, but everyone participating was required to toss another dollar at the lucky winner, and then ante up again before the next batter.

As the years went by, we entertained ourselves with some other variations of our game, including an end-of-inning wonderkind called, “Grass-Mound-or-Other,” which required you to guess where the ball would end up after an inning ending out. After the final out, say a fly ball to left field, we eagerly watched the left fielder jogging towards his dugout to see if he would roll the ball to the pitchers mound and whether it would rest on the dirt hill (3-1 odds) or just off the edge and on the infield grass (even money). If the ball were tossed to a fan in the stands or carried into the dugout, all bets were off unless you had previously designated “other” which would get even money. There were many a times we had to stand on our infield box seats to get the proper angle on a ball tossed over the mound and nearly out-of-sight. It was glorious way to pass the time and highly intriguing, with the proof always shown through the fact neighboring fans would want to “get into” the game.

Surely there are hundreds of other New Yorkers with similar stories and different variations of the games they played at the ball field, and tons of examples of how soccer fans at Arsenal or dozens of other European Premier League clubs can wager on the first goal, the next goal or some other occurrence whether it involved the outcome of the game or just the next statistical transaction.

To date in the North American sports world, no league or venue has been permitted to get into the action because of federal laws. The recent influx of daily fantasy sports (DFS) is the first hint of gaming activity on an “official” basis, as Major League Baseball, via its digital media arm, MLB Advanced Media, has partnered with Draft Kings on an official sponsorship package.

That package consists mostly of touting their “experiential” offerings for tickets and other game enhancements or hospitality and trips.

The NBA partnered with Fan Duel, taking an equity position. However, the DFS offerings, to date, have only been salary cap-style games. The site infrastructures of either Fan Duel or Draft Kings have not been altered to allow in-game adjustments to line-ups or other such variations, such as predicting fantasy stats in an “At Bat” or single inning.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has boldly stated his viewpoint to potentially legalize sports gambling and take it away from the off-shore web sites or back-room bookies and into the open. His counterparts in charge of other major sports leagues have not been so forthcoming, especially the NFL and MLB which both seem to be burying their heads in the sand while Silver steps up, communicating transparently by way of his breath-of-fresh-air op-ed piece written in The New York Times last November 13th. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/14/opinion/nba-commissioner-adam-silver-legalize-sports-betting.html?_r=0

Wrote Silver in the NYT, “Betting on professional sports is currently illegal in most of the United States outside of Nevada. I believe we need a different approach,” noting the massive amounts of money wagered through “illicit bookmaking operations” or “shady offshore websites,” as he noted the popularity of sports gambling in the international world that is so much a part of the NBA’s global business plans.

In closing, Silver wrote under his by-line, “I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.”

But what wasn’t a major statement in Silver’s op-ed or yet recognized by the powers-that-be in any of the North American major sports, is the fact more lenient federal and state laws on gaming and fantasy sports will bring about more engagement with the fans.

“It can keep people much more engaged at so many different points in a game,” said Joe Favorito, the Director of Industry Relations and a faculty member at Columbia University’s sports management program. “If a baseball game score is one-sided, you might stay for the entire game,” he said while noting the payoffs for “In-game” wagering/entertainment might be a coupon for a free hot dog in the eighth inning or a promotion to get more 20-somethings to attend a different game, later in the season.

So while the wager doesn’t have to be about money, the bottom line for a sports team, league or venue should now be to use newfound, hand-held “app-crazy” technology and obvious widespread acceptance of gaming, to offer-up another form of in-game entertainment and keep the fans happy. Traditionalists might scoff at the idea, but they don’t have to play, just the way some sports fans go out to the races just to see the horses run or intelligent readers buy Playboy for the articles.

Personally, I’d like to see a much more transparent viewpoint come from the Park Avenue hallways of both Major League Baseball and the National Football League, as those two sports have the most to gain. But, until then, I’ll head out to Yankee Stadium or the new Shea (they call it CitiField), with my old buddies, my baseball cap and $20 or $30 in singles.