For the past two decades, Terry Cannon has been honoring some of the most colorful (and occasionally historic) figures from the world of baseball by inducting them in the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals. The often-humorous alternative to the Baseball Hall of Fame will celebrate its 20th anniversary at 2 p.m. Sunday with an impressive lineup of guests at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium of the Pasadena Central Library, located at 285 E, Walnut St., Pasadena.
This year’s inductees are headed by legendary pitcher Tommy John, who racked up 288 victories in a storied career that included long-running stints with both the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, among others. In keeping with the quirky nature of the Reliquary, however, John is also being honored for the fact that he had a groundbreaking ligament surgery named after him and is also the all-time major-league leader in pitching no-decision games, and he will be present to accept the honor.
Also on the inductee lineup is Rusty Staub, one of the all-time great hitters in baseball, having achieved over 500 hits with each of four different teams. He later went to be a broadcaster for the Mets, opened a successful New York restaurant and established two charitable foundations. Since Staub unfortunately passed away this spring, his honor will be accepted by his sister, Sally Johnston, on behalf of the Staub family.
The third and most colorful inductee will be Nancy Faust, who was the most famous organist in baseball during her four-decade run playing for the Chicago White Sox from 1970 to 2010. Faust will be bringing her Hammond B3 organ to the ceremony, leading attendees in the National Anthem at the event’s opening and later performing a selection of her finest music after her induction.
But the fun doesn’t stop there, as the ceremony will also feature an honorary bell ringing paying tribute to the late Brooklyn Dodgers fan Hilda Chester, with everyone in attendance encouraged to bring a bell to ring in an annual burst of cacophony. Chester’s memory will also be honored by being the namesake of the annual Hilda Award, which recognizes distinguished service to the game by a baseball fan.
This year’s Hilda Award honoree is Bart Wilhelm, who has attended over 1,100 games in 270 different professional ballparks since 1984. The second presentation will be the Tony Salin Memorial Award, named in memory of the late baseball author and historian, and established to recognize individuals for their commitment to the preservation of baseball history.
The 2018 Salin Award recipient, Ross Altman, has over the past 30 years composed and performed musical tributes to many heroes of the national pastime, ranging from Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, and Sandy Koufax to Shrine of the Eternals inductees Jackie Robinson, Jimmy Piersall, and Steve Bilko.
Following the award presentations, the 2018 Keynote Address will be delivered by Dan Epstein, a Chicago-based journalist, historian, and raconteur. Epstein is the author of the acclaimed baseball books “Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ‘70s” and “Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of ’76,” both of which examine baseball’s most colorful and tumultuous decade and its overlap with American popular culture.
Following the Keynote Address, 2011 Shrine inductee Ted Giannoulas (aka the San Diego Chicken) will offer his comments in celebration of the 20th anniversary festivities of the Shrine of the Eternals.
Before and after the ceremony, attendees are invited to visit the Baseball Reliquary exhibition, “Shrine @ 20,” which is being presented through July 30 in the display cases in the North Entrance, Humanities Wing, and Business Wing of the Pasadena Central Library. Included in the exhibition are all 57 Shrine of the Eternals inductee plaques from 1999-2017.
The Shrine of the Eternals Induction Ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium of the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena. Admission is free. Call (626) 791-7647 or email Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.