A Season of Cups & Trophies
Trophies loom large this time of year as teams slug it out through the finals to try and make history.
NHL champions will raise North America’s oldest professional sports trophy, the Stanley Cup. First awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club, the Cup was named after Lord Stanley of Preston, then Governor-General of Canada.
The original puck-chasing prize was just a punch bowl before it came to rest on top of an oversized, silver and nickel trophy weighing 34½ lbs.
NBA winners will mark their triumph by hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, named for the league’s commissioner who served from 1975 to 1984. Originally a wide-mouthed chalice, the current hoops prize depicts an official size basketball on a solid rim.
The English Premier League, now in its 25th season, will hand out their relatively young cup, while the League’s affiliate, the FA Cup, will present soccer’s oldest trophy dating back to 1871 (photo above).
In continental Europe, winners of the year-long Champions League competition will soon embrace a long-handled silver urn with the inscription “Coupe Des Clubs Champions Europeens”. The trophy was first presented in the 1950’s after French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, pushed for a pan-European soccer tournament.
In the waters of Bermuda, sailors are poised to compete for the 35th staging of the America's Cup, the oldest international sports trophy.
Affectionately known as the “Auld Mug”, the ewer-shaped trophy was first awarded in 1851 to the New York Yacht Club for defeating the Royal Yacht Squadron in a race around England’s Isle of Wight.
Joining the America's Cup in the pantheon of 19th century trophies are the Scottish Cup 1873 (soccer), Calcutta Cup 1879 (rugby), Ashes Urn 1882 (cricket), Challenge Cup 1896 (rugby) and Davis Cup 1900 (tennis).
Baseball’s World Series champs receive the Commissioner’s Award, the only trophy among the four major sports in America not named after a specific person.
Depicting a ring of 30 gold-plated flags symbolizing the league’s 30 teams, the Award was first bestowed in 1967 when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox for the World Series.
Prior to 1967, Major League Baseball did not have a trophy.
Super bowl victors savor the Vince Lombardy Trophy, first delivered in 1967 and named three years later after legendary coach Vince Lombardy who won the first two super bowls with the Green Bay Packers. The sterling silver figure takes the shape of a football in a kicking position.
First accorded in 1930, the prestigious FIFA World Cup Trophy was previously known as the Jules Rimet Trophy, after FIFA’s president who launched the world’s most widely-watched sporting event.
Pursued not just on the soccer field, the original Jules Rimet was stolen twice while on display- first in England in 1966 but later recovered; then in Brazil in 1983 and never seen again.
In its most recent format, the 14½ inch world cup sculpture depicts two human figures holding up the earth.
It's not a surprise that we still honor cups and trophies, the most cherished objects to immortalize teams and championships.
Other articles enjoyed: The First Super Bowl, The Heisman Trophy As A Non-Predictor, For Every Winning Streak, A Losing One, America's Cup- Rich Man's Sport, 70 Years Of NFL Relocations, Oldest Franchises- Survivors Of Time
BASEBALL July 13, 2010 The NL beat the AL 3-1 in the All-Stars exhibition game. Held at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in California, the game was preceded with a short memorial honoring George Steinbrenner who had died early that morning. The AL fielded the likes of Derek Jeter (SS-Yankees), Ichiro Suzuki (OF-Mariners) and Mariano Rivera (P-Yankees), while the AL brought out David Wright (3B-Mets), Albert Pujols (1B-Cardinals) and Roy Halladay (P-Phillies).
SOCCER July 2, 2000 France defeats Italy 2-1 at the UEFA European Championship. It was their 2nd title at the quadrennial extravaganza, which has been held since 1960 to determine the continent’s best national team; Germany and Spain are tied at the top with 3 wins each. One of the most exciting finals in tournament history, France equalized a goal in the closing minute of official time to send the game into overtime and then land a ‘golden goal’ in sudden death.
TENNIS July 7, 1990 Martina Navratilova claims a record 9th Wimbledon singles title after defeating her American opponent, Zina Garrison, 6-4, 6-1. It was Navratilova’s last career grand slam singles after compiling 17 victories since her first one at Wimbledon in 1978. Considered one of the greatest female athletes in the game, the Czech-born and U.S.-naturalized tennis star was ranked No. 1 in singles for a total of 332 weeks, and No. 1 in doubles for a total 237 weeks.
BOXING July 7, 1980 Larry Holmes knocks out Scott LeDoux in the 7th round to retain his WBC Heavyweight title. It was the 35th professional and undefeated bout for the Georgia native who swung one of the fiercest left jabs in boxing history. Holmes battled the greatest heavyweights of his era and he would defeat Muhammad Ali in the 10th round just 3 months after his encounter with LeDoux. The “Easton Assassin” retired in 2002 after posting a career record of 75-69-6.