CINCINNATI (April 13, 2014) — The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum has announced Chuck Harmon as the 2014 recipient of the Powel Crosley, Jr. Award.
The Powel Crosley, Jr. Award was created to honor individuals who have exemplified the Crosley spirit of dedication, devotion, and service to the Cincinnati Reds over an extended period of time. The award is only presented on occasion when a truly deserving candidate emerges, whose lifetime achievements, efforts and activities have made a lasting impact and contributed greatly to the betterment of the Reds.
Harmon, who became the first African-American to play for the Reds in 1954, will be presented with the Powel Crosley, Jr. Award on Tuesday, April 15 (Jackie Robinson Day) during on-field ceremonies prior to the Reds vs. Pirates game (7:10 p.m.) at Great American Ball Park.
Harmon will sign autographs and meet with fans that evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. The signing is free with Museum admission.
"We are extremely pleased to recognize Chuck Harmon for his tremendous courage, strength of character and devotion to the Reds for over 60 years," said Rick Walls, Reds Hall of Fame & Museum executive director. "Whether it is appearing in the community or signing autographs for his many fans, Chuck truly represents everything that is positive about the game of baseball and the Cincinnati Reds."
The 60th anniversary of Harmon’s debut with the Reds is April 17th, and he will celebrate his 90th birthday on April 23rd.
Harmon will also be recognized with the Powel Crosley, Jr. Award at the 2014 Reds Hall of Fame Induction Gala on Sunday, August 10 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.
One of the city’s great baseball ambassadors, Chuck Harmon began his association with the Cincinnati Reds in 1952 when he was acquired by the club after five successful campaigns in the Minor Leagues. Harmon made the 1954 Reds roster as a utility player and was called on to pinch-hit on April 17 in Milwaukee. When he stepped into the batter’s box, Harmon became the first African-American to wear a Reds uniform in a regular season game. Overall, Harmon appeared in 203 games for the Reds over the course of the 1954, 1955 and 1956 seasons.
Harmon has spent most of his post-playing career in Cincinnati and is one of the city’s most recognizable and beloved figures. A fixture for decades at Reds games and events throughout the tri-state area, he is one of the team’s most steadfast and enthusiastic supporters, promoting the team and the game with uncommon dedication. A plaque in his honor was dedicated at the entrance of Great American Ball Park in 2004, one of the many tributes he has received in acknowledgment of his esteemed place in Reds history.
Chuck Harmon’s kindness, professionalism, and humor are readily evident to all who come into contact with him. His life has been defined by overcoming obstacles through hard work and willpower, all the while keeping constant his unbridled love for the game. The Reds organization and all of baseball have been enhanced immeasurably because of his presence.
Powel Crosley, Jr. Award
In 1934, motivated by civic pride and a love of baseball, entrepreneur and industrialist Powel Crosley, Jr. purchased a financially-strapped Cincinnati Reds franchise. Crosley brought stability and innovation to the Reds. Under his nearly three decades of stewardship, the Reds organization introduced night baseball to the Major Leagues, saw the expansion of its home ballpark, solidified the grand Cincinnati Opening Day tradition, hosted two All-Star games, fielded some of the most memorable teams in club history and strengthened its position as an integral part of the civic and cultural fabric of Greater Cincinnati. Previous recipients of the Powel Crosley, Jr. Award were Bernie Stowe, Gene Bennett and Sheldon "Chief" Bender in 2008 and Louis & Louise Nippert in 2010.