Two hard-hitting World Series champions and a Bronx basketball trailblazer enshrined in three Halls of Fame will be honored by AHRC New York City Foundation when they are presented with Thurman Munson Awards at the 44th annual benefit on Thursday night, March 14 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers (23rd Street at West Side Highway) in New York City: Four-time New York Yankees World Series champion first baseman Tino Martinez (1996, 1998-2000), 1986 Mets World Series champion third baseman Howard Johnson and Fordham University women’s hoops pioneer and New York City Basketball Hall of Famer Anne Gregory-O’Connell will each receive “Thurmans” as members of the “Class of 2024.”
The Munson Awards are presented to individuals for on-field excellence, and the betterment of sports and community. The AHRC NYC benefit has helped to keep the memory of the legendary Yankees catcher and captain Thurman Munson alive since his tragic passing 44 years ago, while raising more than $21 million for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives.
Robert Scheinman, Principal, J.T. Magen & Company, Inc., will receive the M. Anthony Fisher Humanitarian Award.
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.
The 2024 benefit will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of AHRC NYC.
The Master of Ceremonies will be FOX 5 lead sports anchor and Sports Extra host Tina Cervasio.
Special guests expected to attend include Football Giants Super Bowl champions Harry Carson, Ottis Anderson, Chris Canty and Karl Nelson; Yankees World Series Champion Jeff Nelson; four-time Islanders Stanley Cup Champions Butch Goring and John Tonelli, former Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa, NY/NJ Gotham FC soccer midfielder McCall Zerboni, SiriusXM Radio host Ed Randall and New York radio/television personality Sweeny Murti of MLB.com, with others to be announced.
Martinez, whose plaque installed in the Stadium’s Monument Park underline his Yankees legacy, was an integral member of four Bombers World Championship teams in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. During a 16-year major league career, Tino knocked in 1,271 runs on the strength of 1,925 hits and 339 home runs. The two-time All-Star had more than 100 RBI in six different seasons and led the American League in homeruns (44) and RBI (141) in 1997.
His two most memorable World Series home runs were a Grand Slam in Game 1 in 1998 to give the Yankees the lead and the win against the Padres; and then in 2001 against the Diamondbacks. With the Yankees down to their last out, Martinez launched a game-tying, ninth inning home run in Game 4 and the Yankees went on to win in the 10th.
Like Thurman, Martinez starred in the Cape Cod League early in his career (1986), and last summer returned to serve as an assistant coach for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. The Tampa native was a standout in college at the University of Tampa as a three-time All-American.
Johnson was a Tigers product who debuted in 1982 and was a member of Detroit’s 1984 championship team. He was traded to the Mets following that season and two years later went on to win his second World Series in 1986. With the Mets, Hojo was a two-time All-Star and led the National League in both home runs (38) and RBI (117) in 1991. Johnson still ranks third on the Mets’ all-time list for homers (192), RBI (629), doubles, and stolen bases (202).
Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame earlier this year, Hojo is a three-time member of the “30-30 Club” (1987, 1989 and 1991) all in New York, and set the record for most home runs (36) by a switch hitter in 1987.
During his 14-year career, Johnson drove in 760 runs totaling 1,229 hits, 228 home runs and 231 stolen bases.
Gregory-O’Connell scored 2,548 points and pulled down 1,999 rebounds during a storied Fordham career from 1976-80. She is enshrined in the Fordham Athletics Hall of Fame as the first female inductee in 1986, the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame (2017) and the Bronx Basketball Hall of Fame (2023). In 2023, in a celebration of Title IX’s 50th Anniversary, she was recognized for her contributions in spearheading the growth of women’s sports as an Atlantic 10 “Trailblazer’ by the conference for “paving the way for thousands of girls and women to participate in and be successful in sports and life.” Anne’s number is the only number of a women’s player retired by her alma mater (2009), and #55 hangs from the rafters at the Rose Hill Gymnasium on the Fordham campus.
The women’s basketball pioneer is a New York product from The Bronx, New York. A stone’s throw from Yankee Stadium, Anne Gregory was a dominant force on the Fordham University women’s basketball team from 1976-80, long before women’s basketball took off as part of mainstream sports. The rebounds total stood as a record in women’s basketball until 2009. Anne graduated cum laude from Fordham with a degree in sociology in 1980.
She was one of seven children who grew up in the Parkchester section of the Bronx and is a product of Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, New York. She played professionally briefly in France following her Fordham career.
Anne’s late husband was the beloved Hall of Fame college basketball writer Jim O’Connell, whom she met as a Fordham student when “Oc” was the university’s Sports Information Director.
Always giving young people direction during 36 years in Catholic School education, Anne’s post-basketball career included 20 years as guidance counselor at Holy Trinity High School, 12 years at Aquinas High School, and two years at Cardinal Spellman; Anne began that career at a physical education teacher and basketball coach at St. Helena Commercial High School.
The list of previous Thurman Munson Award recipients reads like a “Who’s Who” of sports stars including: Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Yogi Berra, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Gary Carter, David Wright, Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing, Julius Erving, Jim Brown, Harry Carson, Aly Raisman, Nancy Lieberman, Theresa Weatherspoon, and Mark Messier, just to name a few.
Founded 75 years ago, AHRC New York City is a family governed organization that is fiercely committed to achieving equity for people who are neurodiverse in New York City. With over 5,000 staff, reflecting the demographics of our city, we offer an unsurpassed array of services to more than 15,000 people and their families annually in the five boroughs. The organization is part of a social justice movement grounded in our common humanity. AHRC NYC is fully accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and is a recognized leader in the field. We are committed to promoting the highest levels of excellence and innovation in all of its programs and services.