This year Dapper Dan is upping ante
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Move over Emmy, Grammy and ESPY. Make way for The Danny, the sports award for Pittsburghers by Pittsburghers.
The Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction will once again honor the sportsman and sportswoman of the year as selected by fan voting. But, in honor of the city's 250th birthday, this year's ballot has a fresh look. Voters will be asked to pick the best moment, the best team and the best player in Pittsburgh sports history. The award for each winner will be called The Danny.
Good luck in deciding. But in a place with such a rich sports tradition, it should be difficult to select the best of the best. Competition, the hard work required for excellence and an insatiable hunger for winners are as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers.
How many cities have savored the exhilaration of the only World Series decided by a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game, the most famous touchdown in NFL history in the Immaculate Reception and the super nova burst of excitement created by Mario Lemieux? And how many cities have three other moments challenging them for supremacy?
First thing's first.
- What: The 72nd annual Dapper Dan banquet and sports auction for Dapper Dan Charities, which benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.
- When: April 1.
- Honors: The sportsman and sportswoman of the year will be announced Feb. 24.
- Tickets: On sale in March.
The choice for top sportsman starts with Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback who is rewriting the Steelers record book. Also up for consideration are two college basketball coaches, Pitt's Jamie Dixon for his run of excellence, and Duquesne's Ron Everhart for resurrecting a moribund program. Then comes last year's recipient Sidney Crosby, the best hockey player in the world who could be an annual nominee for years to come, and Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor, arguably the top high school athlete in the country.
A coach and player from the Pitt women's basketball program are among the nominees for sportswoman of the year. Coach Agnus Berenato has led the program to heights it hadn't known before, and star player Marcedes Walker joins her on the ballot. Also in the running is Penn State volleyball star Christa Harmotto, an Aliquippa native who was recently named the Big Ten Player of the Year. And there is a team nomination for the Pittsburgh Passion, which proved that shoulder pads are not just a fashion accessory. For all the talk about the Patriots and their perfect record, the Passion went 12-0 to win the National Women's Football Association title last year.
Now for best moment.
The nominees are: Bill Mazeroski's home run to beat the Yankees in the 1960 World Series; Roberto Clemente's 3,000th hit Sept. 30, 1972; the Immaculate Reception; the Steelers' first Super Bowl win; Tony Dorsett shredding Notre Dame for 303 yards in a 34-20 Pitt win in 1975; the Penguins winning their first Stanley Cup; and Mario Lemieux's return from retirement Dec. 27, 2000.
Choices for best team aren't limited to champions. Most Steelers from the Super Bowl era consider the 1976 team the best of the lot, but injuries wiped out their backfield and they lost to Oakland in the AFC championship game. The 1992-93 Penguins, who finished first in their conference, had their hopes for a third straight NHL crown destroyed by an overtime loss in Game 7 of a playoff series against the Islanders.
The nominees for best team are: 1960 Pirates; 1976 Pitt football national champions; 1976 Steelers; 1978 Steelers, which computer models rate as the best football team of all time; 1979 "We Are Family" Pirates; 1991-92 Penguins, who won a second consecutive title; and the 1992-93 Penguins.
To those who attend games at PNC Park, Honus Wagner is a statue. To baseball historians and old-school fans, he is considered among the best, if not the best, player ever to play in the National League. Winner of eight batting titles and a shortstop who hit .300 or better in 17 straight seasons, Wagner was a charter member of the Hall of Fame. Inducted with him were Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.
In addition to Wagner, the nominees for best player include: Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Arnold Palmer, Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Mario Lemieux and Suzie McConnell-Serio, basketball star and current coach of the Duquesne women's team.
Fans can vote online in all of the categories starting today at www.post-gazette.com/dapperdan. The print ballot in the daily newspaper will only list sportsman and sportswoman. Winners of the sportsman and sportswoman will be announced Feb. 24. The Danny winners won't be revealed until the night of the banquet April 1.
This is the 72nd annual Dapper Dan, and tickets will go on sale in March. Last year's dinner and auction at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center raised more than $275,000 for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dapper Dan Charities, which benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.
First Published February 3, 2008 12:00 am