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
FOOTBALL April 26, 2008- Jake Long of the University of Michigan is first pick by the Miami Dolphins at the NFL draft. He signs a 5-year, $58 million contract, making him the highest paid offensive lineman in the league’s history. Long would stay with the Dolphins through 2012 and later join the Rams, Falcons and Vikings before retiring in 2017.
NASCAR April 26, 1998- Bobby Labonte wins the DieHard 500 as the only driver for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. It was the 2nd season victory for the Texas native who also took 1st place at the Primestar 500. At season start, Labonte had finished 2nd to Dale Earnhardt at the Daytona 500, but landed 6th in final points standings at year-end.
GOLF April 24, 1988- Rosie Jones wins the LPGA USX Golf Classic in a playoff against Kathy Postlewait. It was the second of what would be 13 total victories at the LPGA. The California native attended Ohio State University and turned professional in 1982. Though never clinching a Major, she placed 2nd four times in her career.
TENNIS April 29, 1978- Tennis twin prodigies Mike and Bob Bryan are born in Camarillo, California. The duo won 16 Grand Slam Doubles championships between 2003-2014 and were named ATP team of the decade. They also took gold in Doubles Tennis at the 2012 Olympics. Both played at Stanford University, winning back-to-back NCAA titles.