Members of the FC Sports Hall of Fame were on hand to congratulate Class of 2011 inductee John Bagley and 2013 Hall of Famer Earl Lavery on being recognized by the Greater Bridgeport Athletic Association at their annual dinner in May. From left Dave Bike (2005), Don Cook (2013), Lavery, Ed Finnegan (2012) and Bagley.
The Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the Fairfield County Sports Commission, Inc., honors newly elected Hall of Famers with an induction ceremony at the Commission’s annual Sports Night awards dinner.
On October 17, 2005 the inaugural Hall of Fame inductions took place at the Fairfield County Sports Commission’s First Annual Sports Night.
Watch the 2013 Hall of Fame video
With the creation of the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame, the area has one central location to honor those residents who excelled in sports in professional, amateur and service categories. Nominating and selection committees, comprised of members from the media, community and the Sports Commission, go through the balloting process each year to determine the inductees. Announcements from each years honorees, are selected from the entire Fairfield County area, not just from the 15 communities served by the Commission.
The Hall of Fame houses three wings: Jackie Robinson Professional, James O’Rourke Amateur and J. Walter Kennedy Community Service. Establishing a tribute to three of the most influential sports heroes of the past from the Fairfield County community allows the three wings to take the names of these legendary figures, who all called Fairfield County home.
“Naming the wings after sports legends from Fairfield County who have paved the path of our sports history in this area is the natural first step in establishing the foundation for the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame,” says Tom Chiappetta, Executive Director.
The Jackie Robinson Professional Wing is named after the legendary Brooklyn Dodger and Baseball Hall of Fame member, who lived in Stamford for most of his post-baseball life. The James O’Rourke Amateur Wing honors the Bridgeport baseball pioneer, who is also enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The J. Walter Kennedy Community Service Wing, recognizes the former NBA Commissioner, Basketball Hall of Famer and former Stamford mayor.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
JACKIE ROBINSON PROFESSIONAL WING
Eligible candidates must have been raised in Fairfield County (playing majority of their youth and/or high school sports here). Must have played or officiated in a minimum of two major league seasons, and listed as such as being on a professional roster in the appropriate league records books, or documented by the highest professional league level for their sports—no minor league experience eligible.
Those leagues include but not exclusive to: MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, MLS, AFL, PGA, LPGA, Champions Tour, ATP,
Members of the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame gathered together at the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance Gold Key dinner in 2013. From left Frank “Porky” Vieira (2006), Dave Strong (2012), Gary Liberatore (2008), Mike Gminski (2007) and Dave Bike (2005).
WTA, MLL, MISL, NASCAR, Pro Boxing (also any defunct leagues such as ABA, USFL, WFL, WUSA, NASL etc.)
Also any athlete that played on a U.S. Olympic or National team is eligible for the professional wing. Not as an individual participant as an Olympian or national performer.
JAMES O’ROURKE AMATEUR WING
Is open to any amateur athlete that played a majority of their youth sports, high school or college career in Fairfield County. It is also open to those playing adult amateur sports for a minimum 5-year period.
This also includes athletes that performed as an individual (not as part of a team sport) as a U.S. Olympian or U.S. national performer, or as an Olympian or National performer for their native country.
J. WALTER KENNEDY COMMUNITY SERVICE WING
Candidates are those who have provided outstanding service to the sports community and live or lived in the county, including coaches, officials/umpires, recreation personnel, league commissioners/executives, longtime volunteers, sports benefactors, sports industry leaders and corporate sponsors. Candidates must have a minimum of 10 years of outstanding achievement in the county.
The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame is housed at the University of Connecticut Stamford Campus in downtown Stamford. The Hall of Fame is open 6 days a week from 9am – 5 pm.