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Tobin's Top 10 Trophies

Excluding the Big 4 sports championship trophies, Tobin McDuff lists his top 10 favorites.
10. GOLD GLOVE TROPHY 
Just over 50 years ago, a Rawlings sales manager named Elmer Blasco made the observation that well over half of the pros in the game wore a Rawlings glove. It didn’t take him long to realize that Rawlings should create an award that recognized defensive excellence. Thus the iconic Rawlings Gold Glove Award was born. The rest is history!

For the initial award design, Blasco worked with the Brown Shoe Company in St. Louis. They supplied him with gold tanned leather that was used to create ladies’ formal slippers. Rawlings constructed the glove and affixed it to a walnut base to create the very first Rawlings Gold Glove Award. The look of the award didn’t change much over the next 50 years. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2007, the award was given an updated look. Inspired by the look of a luxury automobile, the new award features a burled cherry wood base with a lacquered black piano wood trim. Additionally, a section of the award base is covered with Rawlings Heart of the Hide™ leather embroidered with the Rawlings Patch logo. The updated pro award is 12” deep x 17” wide x 2 ½” tall. If the award recipient is a Rawlings sponsored player, they will receive a gold version of their game day model on their award. Other winners will receive a generic gold Rawlings model.

While the look of the award has changed over the course of 50 years, one thing remains the same: defense continues to be the heart of the game and the heart of the Rawlings brand. (Courtesy: Rawlings.com)

9. VICTORY BELL
 The bell was given to the UCLA student body in 1939 as a gift from the school's Alumni Association. Initially, the UCLA cheerleaders rang the bell after each Bruin point. However, during the opening game of UCLA's 1941 season (at the time, both schools used the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for home games), six members of USC's Trojan Knights (who were also members of the SigEp fraternity) infiltrated the Bruin rooting section, assisted in loading the bell aboard a truck headed back to Westwood, took the key to the truck, and escaped with the bell while UCLA's actual rooters went to find a replacement key. The bell remained hidden from UCLA students for more than a year, first in SigEp’s basement, then in the Hollywood Hills, Santa Ana and other locations. At one point, it was even concealed beneath a haystack. Bruin students tried to locate the bell, but to no avail. A picture of the bell appeared in a USC periodical. Tension between UCLA and USC students rose as each started to play even more elaborate and disruptive pranks on the other. When the conflict caused the USC President to threaten to cancel the rivalry, a compromise was met: on November 12, 1942, the student body presidents of both schools, in front of Tommy Trojan, signed the agreement that the bell would be the trophy for the game.

The winner of the annual football game keeps the Victory Bell for the next year, and paints it the school's color: "True Blue" for UCLA, or cardinal for USC. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)


8. VENUS ROSEWATER TROPHY
Awarded to the ladies' singles champion at Wimbledon since 1886.

Size:18 3/4 inches in diameter.

History: This sterling silver trophy with gilded trim was made in 1864 by Messrs. Elkington and Co. Ltd. of Birmingham. It is a copy of an electrotype made by artist Caspar Enderlein, which was a copy of a pewter original from the 1500s that resides in the Louvre. And yes, the "Venus" part was there long before Ms. Williams won it four times.

Does the winner keep it? No, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum does. Winners receive an eight-inch replica and prize money (roughly $1.4 million in 2007).

Why it's cool:1. It's usually presented by a real duke and duchess (of Kent, to be specific). 2. The decoration theme is not tennis or sport but mythology. In the middle is Temperance, the spirit of moderation. Around the rim is the goddess Minerva with symbols for the liberal arts: astrology, geometry, arithmetic, music, rhetoric, dialectic and grammar. That makes it so much more erudite than, say, a silver football. (Courtesy: Washington Post)



7. THE YELLOW JERSEY 
The leader in the first Tour de France was awarded a yellow armband. The color yellow was chosen as the magazine that created the Tour, L'Auto, printed its newspapers on yellow paper. The yellow jersey was added to the race in the 1919 edition and it has since become a symbol of the Tour de France. The first rider to wear the yellow jersey was Eugène Christophe. Each team brings multiple yellow jerseys in advance of the Tour in case one of their riders becomes the overall leader of the race. Riders usually try to make the extra effort to keep the jersey for as long as possible in order to get more publicity for the team and the sponsor(s) of the team. Eddy Merckx has worn the yellow jersey for 96 stages, which is more than any other rider in the history of the Tour de France. Four riders have won the general classification five times in their career: Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain.(Courtesy: Wikipedia)



6. FIFA WORLD CUP TROPHY 
With the Jules Rimet Cup now in the permanent possession of Brazil after their third World Cup™ triumph in Mexico City in 1970, FIFA commissioned a new trophy for the tenth World Cup™ in 1974. A total of 53 designs were submitted to FIFA by experts from seven countries, with the final choice being the work of Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga.

He described his creation thus: "The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory".

The current FIFA World Cup Trophy cannot be won outright, as the regulations state that it shall remain FIFA's own possession.

The new trophy is 36 cm high, made of solid 18-carat gold and weighs 6175 grammes. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the Trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. (Courtesy: FIFA.com)


5. JEWELED SHILLELAGH
A jeweled shillelagh is passed between the annual winner of the USC-Notre Dame game, perhaps the finest intersectional rivalry in college football.
A shillelagh (pronounced "shuh-LAY-lee") is a Gaelic war club made of oak or blackthorn saplings from Ireland. Those are the only woods used because, it is said, they are the only ones tougher than an Irish skull.

The foot-long shillelagh has ruby-adorned Trojan heads with the year and game score representing USC victories, while emerald-studded shamrocks stand for Notre Dame wins. For tie games, a combined Trojan head/shamrock medallion is used. On the end of the club is engraved, "From the Emerald Isle." The victor of the Trojan-Irish game gains year-long possession of the trophy.

Upon its initial presentation in 1952 by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Los Angeles, it was said that "this shillelagh will serve to symbolize in part the high tradition, the keen rivalry and above all the sincere respect which these two great universities have for each other."

The original shillelagh was flown from Ireland by Howard Hughes' pilot, according to legend. It was devised by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Los Angeles, based on a suggestion by Vern Rickard. John Groen designed it. Although the shillelagh was introduced in 1952, the medallions go back to the start of the series in 1926.

When the original shillelagh ran out of space for the Trojan heads and shamrocks after the 1989 game, it was retired and is permanently displayed at Notre Dame.

A new shillelagh - slightly longer than the original - was commissioned by Jim Gillis, a former baseball player at both USC and Notre Dame and a one-time president of the Notre Dame Club of Los Angeles, and handcrafted in 1997 in County Leitrim, Ireland. It contains medallions beginning with the 1990 game. There are now 44 shamrocks, 34 Trojan heads and 5 combined medallions on the shillelaghs. (Does not include 1 USC win vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 35.) (Courtesy: USCTrojans.com)



4. LITTLE BROWN JUG 
NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams annually compete in more than 75 regular-season trophy games, and each of those games owes its beginning to the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, some misgivings about water and a 30-cent jug. Dating back to 1909, the battle for the Little Brown Jug is the oldest trophy game in FBS college football.

While the jug rivalry started in 1909, the story began six years earlier when the teams battled in Minneapolis. Heading into that 1903 contest, Michigan was undefeated in 29 straight games, while the Golden Gophers came into the game with a 10-0 record. Having doubts that Minnesota would provide clean water for its opponent, head coach Fielding Yost ordered a manager, Tommy Roberts, to purchase a receptacle for drinking water that would be free from suspicion. Roberts thus purchased a five-gallon jug from a variety store in Minneapolis.

With two minutes remaining in the game, Minnesota rallied to tie the game 6-6 on a touchdown. When they blasted over the goal line, the fans rushed the field in excitement. The ensuing pandemonium led to the game being called with time still remaining on the clock.

In their haste to leave and catch the train back to Chicago, Michigan left the jug behind. Minnesota equipment manager Oscar Munson found it the following morning and brought it to Director of Athletics L.J. Cooke. In remembrance of the game, they decided to give it a paint job, scribing, "Michigan Jug - Captured by Oscar, October 31, 1903," on one side. On the opposite face they spelled out the score, "Minnesota 6, Michigan 6," making the Minnesota "6" three times larger than the Michigan score. For the next several years, Cooke suspended the jug from the ceiling of his office in the Minnesota Armory until Yost and the Wolverines visited Minneapolis again in 1909.

Stories vary on when and why the teams decided to play for the jug. The common version claims that when Yost realized he left the crock behind, he sent a letter requesting the jug be returned to Ann Arbor. Cooke allegedly wrote back, "If you want it, you'll have to come up and win it."

Other evidence points to the rivalry being crafted just prior to the 1909 game when Cooke and Yost met in the Minnesota athletic director's office. According to Cooke's memoirs, he showed Yost the old water jug and suggested that playing for the crock "might be material to build up a fine tradition," and Yost agreed. Michigan won the 1909 game, 15-6, and returned to Ann Arbor with the new trophy. The Wolverines defended the jug in Ann Arbor in 1910. In large part thanks to Michigan's withdrawal from the Western Conference, the jug was not contested again until 1919.

In September 1931, the Little Brown Jug disappeared from the Michigan Athletic Administration Building trophy case. In November, it seemed as though the trophy was returned when a mysterious car with four men wearing dark goggles dropped off a look-a-like jug at an Ann Arbor gas station. Skeptics were abound and the local press deemed it "a clever imitation," but Yost argued that it was the original. Michigan defeated the Gophers that week and again in 1932. Then in August 1933, a different jug appeared "in a clump of bushes near the medical building" on Michigan's campus. Yost confirmed this was the real trophy and it has been in service ever since.

In 1934, Minnesota finally defeated the Wolverines and the jug was returned to Oscar Munson, the man who found the jug in 1903. Munson promptly hid the jug away in a secret location. Since then, the Little Brown Jug has been carefully guarded by the football equipment manager at each school. The Michigan guardian of the trophy is Jon Falk.

The Little Brown Jug has been tucked away in Schembechler Hall since Michigan claimed a 28-14 victory in Minneapolis in 2006. Wolverines have won 54 of the last 65 games in the series, including 38 of the last 41 and 22 of the last 23. After not playing in 2009 and 2010, U-M blanked the Gophers, 58-0, on Oct. 1, 2011, at Michigan Stadium, the first Wolverine shutout win in the series since 1976, and followed that up with a 35-13 win on Nov. 3, 2012, in the teams' first meeting at TCF Bank Stadium. On Oct. 5, 2013, U-M continued its winning ways with a 42-13 homecoming victory at the Big House. (Courtesy: MGoBlue.com)




3. BORG-WARNER TROPHY
Specifications:

Trophy height without base: 52 inches
Trophy height with base: 64.75 inches (or 5 feet, 4.75 inches)
Trophy weight with base: Approximately 110 pounds
The Borg-Warner Trophy is one of the most coveted trophies in the world of sports. While it pays tribute to many of the most revered drivers in auto racing history year-round, during the Month of May it becomes the focal point for the drivers attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, a reminder of the glory and tradition associated with winning the fabled event.

Fan photos of the Borg-Warner Trophy from Flickr.com
With victory at the Indianapolis 500 comes the honor of having one’s face sculpted onto the 74-year-old trophy. Separate squares are affixed to its sterling-silver body, on which each winner’s face, name and winning year are permanently etched. A silversmith is commissioned each year to create the new champion’s portrait/sculpture in bas-relief for placement on the trophy.


In 1935, the Borg-Warner Automotive Company (now called BorgWarner) commissioned designer Robert J. Hill and Spaulding-Gorham, Inc., of Chicago, to create the trophy at a cost of $10,000.


Unveiled at a 1936 dinner hosted by then-Speedway owner Eddie Rickenbacker, the Borg-Warner Trophy was officially declared the annual prize for Indianapolis 500 victors. It was first presented that same year to champion Louis Meyer, who remarked, “Winning the Borg-Warner Trophy is like winning an Olympic medal.”


The trophy was refurbished in 1992 and is valued at more than $1 million. Today, 100 faces grace the trophy’s squares. The faces date back to Ray Harroun, winner of the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, and include two sets of dual victors (one driver started the race and the other finished it) for 1924 and 1941. Four-time champions A.J. Foyt (1961, ‘64, ‘67, ‘77), Al Unser (1970, ‘71, ‘78, ‘87) and Rick Mears (1979, ‘84, ‘88, ‘91) are the only drivers to have their faces appear more than three times on the trophy. Mears is the only one of those three to have a new likeness rendered for each of his four victories. Tom Sneva (1983) is the only champion who appears on the trophy wearing his eyeglasses, by his request.
Besides displaying Indianapolis 500 champions, the trophy features a 24-karat gold head portrait of the late Speedway Owner and President Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. in tribute to his rejuvenation of the track and the Indianapolis 500 after World War II. Hulman’s image was added in 1987.


The last driver to have his likeness placed on the original trophy was Bobby Rahal in 1986, as all the squares had been filled. A new base was added in 1987, and it was filled to capacity following Gil de Ferran’s victory in 2003. For 2004, Borg-Warner commissioned a new base that will not be filled to capacity until 2034.


Since 1988, an 18-inch tall replica of the trophy, a “Baby Borg,” has been crafted in sterling silver for presentation to the champion. A new tradition began with the 1997 winner as BorgWarner also presented the winning car owner with a “Baby Borg.”


Each May, the Borg-Warner Trophy is featured at a number of Indianapolis 500 events, including the public drivers’ meeting at the track, the 500 Festival Parade and the post-race Victory Celebration. Immediately after each race, the trophy is hoisted into Victory Circle with the winning car and driver for photographs. (Courtesy: IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com)



2. WAGON WHEEL
The Wagon Wheel Trophy was awarded originally in 1945 to the winner of the annual Akron-Kent State football game.  

According to legend, the “Wagon Wheel” trophy traces its beginnings to the spring of 1870 when Akron industrialist John R. Buchtel set out for the town of Kent in search of a site to establish a college. In the muddy Ohio fields, however, his wagon became bogged down in the area where Kent State University is currently located. When horses pulled the wagon, a wheel came loose and became buried until it was discovered in 1902 during the construction of a pipeline along the Western Reserve Trail.

The wheel eventually fell into the possession of Dr. Raymond Manchester, who as the Kent State Dean of Men in 1945, suggested the local historic artifact be offered as the trophy to the winner of the annual Akron-Kent State football game.  (Courtesy: WagonWheelChallenge.com)


1. WANAMAKER TROPHY
There may be a trophy that has more frequent flyer miles. The Stanley Cup, for example, has visited soldiers in Afghanistan and has been to places such as Sweden and Russia as part of the tradition that allows each player from the National Hockey League's championship team to squire it around for a day or two.

There may be a trophy etched with more names. The Claret Jug, of course, has been around since 1872, too late for Old Tom Morris but just in time for Young Tom. That's 130-plus British Open champions' names inscribed on the Jug, from Young Tom to Young Tiger.

There also have been trophies that met more tragic ends. The U.S. Golf Association, in fact, has twice lost its biggest prizes to fire. In 1925, when Bobby Jones was custodian of the U.S. Amateur trophy -- then the symbol of a major championship -- a fire at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta turned it into a cinder. The U.S. Open trophy met a similar fate in 1946 at Tam O'Shanter in Chicago, when it melted into a puddle of silver after another clubhouse fire.

So, sure, other trophies and cups may be better traveled or may have more history, both good and bad. But the Wanamaker Trophy, the symbol of the PGA Championship since 1916, could spin a few yarns of its own.

It has partied with John Daly, for goodness sake. It almost burned Jack Nicklaus' hands after sitting for hours under the bright sun in Dallas. And it has traveled with Walter Hagen, maybe its favorite story and certainly its best known, at least until Rich Beem gets done with it.

Beem, the 2003 PGA Championship winner, once plopped his newborn son atop the Wanamaker for a memorable photograph. But that's nothing. Beem claims that when he dies, his replica Wanamaker Trophy will be turned into an urn, or, in his words, "The biggest urn you have ever seen."

Then, like the USGA's original trophies, it will be reduced to ashes, or something like that. Until then, Hagen's story remains atop the list. But let's start at the beginning.

Early in 1916, Rodman Wanamaker, a sportsman of much renown and the heir to a New York City department store empire, summoned some friends, including prominent golfing types like Francis Ouimet, A.W. Tillinghast and Hagen himself, to a luncheon meeting at the Taplow Club. He thought it was high time to form a national organization to promote professional golfers, who suffered at the time from terminal disrespect.

Remember, it would be another four years before Inverness Club in Toledo became the first major championship venue to open its clubhouse doors to professional golfers during the 1920 U.S. Open. Golf professionals were considered the hired help.

Wanamaker vowed to change that, and his luncheon resulted in formation of The PGA of America. He suggested a professional-only tournament, put up $2,500 of his own money for the prize fund, and ordered a silver cup.

A man with such great vision demanded a great trophy. What he got was 28 inches high, 10-1/2 inches in diameter and 27 inches from handle to handle. It weighs 27 pounds, even without a young child on top.

British-born Jim Barnes won the first two PGA Championships and was the first to have his name etched into the big trophy. Then came Jock Hutchison and Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen and then Hagen again. And here's where it gets interesting.

The debonair Hagen won the PGA Championship four straight years, from 1924?27, and the whereabouts of the Wanamaker Trophy seemed insignificant. He was asked during the 1926 award ceremony why he didn't have the trophy, and the Haig replied that he hadn't brought it with him because he had no intention of surrendering it.

But that's just what happened in 1928. Leo Diegel upset Hagen in the quarterfinals at Five Farms Country Club in Baltimore and went on to win the title with a comfortable victory in the finals. When time came for Hagen to hand over the Wanamaker Trophy after his long reign, he sheepishly admitted he'd lost it.

How do you lose such a shiny, classy chunk of silver? Well, it depends on which version you buy. Was the trophy entrusted to a cabbie in Chicago in 1925, a gypsy cab driver in New York City a year later, or a hack in Dallas after Hagen's win in 1927?

Let's go with this one: Hagen went partying -- no surprise there -- after winning his seventh major championship at the 1925 PGA Championship at Olympia Fields in Chicago. It's a toddling town, and Hagen surely had a toddy or two or three while celebrating into the wee hours of the morning. Somewhere along the line, he jumped out of a cab to join some friends who were heading into a nightclub. The Wanamaker didn't jump with him.

Hagen seemed to recall slipping the cabbie $5 to deliver it to his hotel, but it never arrived. Instead, it somehow made its way from Chicago to Detroit -- would this make it a traveling trophy? -- and was found in 1930 in an unmarked case in the basement of L.A. Young & Company, the firm that manufactured the Walter Hagen line of golf clubs. Lost? Misplaced? Tucked away? No one knows for sure.

In the meantime, The PGA of America had a duplicate of the Wanamaker Trophy made. Once the original was recovered, it was retired and is now on display at the PGA Historical Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Champions' names are still added annually to the priceless original, but it is the more recent version that PGA Championship winners pose with these days. That's the one Daly, as the story goes, turned into a keg the night of his come-from-nowhere victory at Crooked Stick in 1991.

It is a smaller replica that PGA champions get to keep for perpetuity, unless they wish to also purchase a full-size replica. One of those, as Rich Beem might someday prove, is also suited for perpetuity. (Courtesy: PGA.com)


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