ST. LOUIS – Tamika Catchings will receive the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character at a Nov. 19 ceremony in St. Louis.
Hosted annually at the Peabody Opera House in Downtown St. Louis, the Musial Awards – presented by Maryville University – celebrate the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and the biggest names in sports who exemplify class and character. The event and its awards are named for the late Cardinals Hall of Famer who was beloved in St. Louis and around the world. It is a fitting tribute to Stan the Man, whose career and life were defined by the virtues of sportsmanship.
In her 16th and final WNBA season, Catchings put a selfless twist on her farewell tour. Normally, athletes of her caliber are celebrated with pregame ceremonies, speeches and gifts in each city where they make their last appearance. But the 10-time All-Star opted to forego the pomp and circumstance and instead used the opportunity to give back. At each final WNBA stop, she presented a $2,000 grant to a local charity and hosted a postgame meet-and-greet with fans. She signed autographs and auctioned off personal mementos, including the game shoes she wore each night.
Her “Legacy Tour” in itself is deserving of Musial Award recognition. But add to that the grace, generosity and perseverance she has shown throughout her career, and Catchings is a perfect recipient for the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character. Overcoming a hearing impairment that affected both ears, Catchings became a four-time All-American at Tennessee, the No. 2 scorer in WNBA history, and the league’s all-time leader in rebounds, steals and free throws. She was named league MVP in 2011 and won the WNBA championship with the Indiana Fever in 2012. This past August, Catchings earned her fourth Olympic gold medal as a member of Team USA. Even with all the accolades, she remains humble and accessible. In Indianapolis, she is a community icon. Since 2004, her Catch The Stars Foundation has empowered youth to achieve their dreams through programs that promote literacy, fitness and mentoring. Universally liked by fans, coaches and players, Catchings is a two-time winner of the WNBA’s Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.
The Musial Award for Extraordinary Character recognizes an individual or team who demonstrates remarkable poise, perseverance and overall sportsmanship. Previous recipients were the St. Louis Cardinals (2013), Mo’ne Davis (2014) and Lauren Hill (awarded posthumously in 2015).
Stan the Man set the standard. The Iron Man lived up to it. For embodying the class, integrity and humility synonymous with Stan Musial, Cal Ripken Jr. is receiving the pinnacle honor for sportsmanship: the Musial Lifetime Achievement Award.
In receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, Ripken is being honored for the way he played the game and the manner in which he carried himself on and off the field. A 19-time All-Star and holder of baseball’s record for consecutive games played, he is admired for his consistent, respectful and humble approach. Like Musial, Ripken spent his entire hall of fame career with one team – 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. He remains active in the game teaching “the Ripken Way,” particularly at the youth level, and has authored a series of books that uses baseball as a theme to address issues faced every day by kids who play sports.
Ripken joins Joe Torre (2014) and Arnold Palmer (2015) as the recipients of the Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship.
In addition to the Lifetime Achievement and Extraordinary Character awards, the Musial Awards will recognize several other individuals connected to the most inspiring stories of sportsmanship in 2016. The complete list of this year’s award recipients will be announced next month.
MUSIAL AWARDS TICKETS:
Tickets for the Musial Awards go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 20). Tickets are $50 (orchestra level seating) and $30 (mezzanine level seating), and can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com, at the Scottrade Center box office and all Ticketmaster ticket centers, or by phone at 800-745-3000. Additional service fees may apply.
The Musial Awards also offers all-inclusive tickets and packages that provide prime seating for the awards show plus a pre-show dinner, reserved parking and more. Information can be obtained at www.MusialAwards.com or by contacting Emily Thompson at 314-345-5111.
In addition to the live awards show on Nov. 19, the Musial Awards will air as a primetime one-hour television special in December on KSDK-TV Channel 5, St. Louis’ NBC affiliate, with potential syndication in other markets.
MORE ON THE MUSIAL AWARDS:
The Musial Awards is produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation. In addition to keeping alive the legacy of Stan the Man, the event aims to inspire selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society. This marks the 11th year the Musial Awards has taken place in St. Louis.
Showtime on Nov. 19 is 7 p.m.