Proceeds from the online auction, which runs through Sat., Nov. 4, will benefit the Hall’s ongoing awards and recognition programs, community outreach initiatives, and the Breitbard Hall of Fame, which was recently relocated to the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in Petco Park.
“The museum simply wasn’t a sustainable model, and closing it allows all other Hall programs to continue,” said SDHOC Executive Director Drew Moser, who cited rising costs and lack of attendance for its closure.
One of the nation’s largest multi-sport museums, it boasted three levels’ worth of prized sports memorabilia displayed across 68,000 square feet. The Hall of Champions, which was located in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park, stemmed from the concept of the Breitbard Athletic Foundation. It was the brainchild of the late Bob Breitbard, who was a classmate of legendary baseball great Ted Williams at San Diego’s Herbert Hoover High School in the mid-1930s and himself a former football player and coach at San Diego State College (now San Diego State University).
The Breitbard Athletic Foundation was founded in 1946 to recognize significant athletes and their outstanding achievements and contributions to San Diego. In addition to Williams, amazing athletes such as Tony Gwynn, Junior Seau, Bill Walton, LaDainian Tomlinson, Gene Littler, Craig Stadler, Florence Chadwick, Dave Winfield, Greg Louganis, Rollie Fingers, Graig Nettles, and many more are honored inductees to the organization’s prestigious Breitbard Hall of Fame.
One of the largest – and heaviest – items featured in this month’s auction is an exact duplicate of the famed “Rocky” bronze statue that was featured in the 1982 film “Rocky III.” Standing nearly 13 feet tall and weighing close to 2,000 pounds, the statue’s presentation includes a large, engraved gold plaque that reads: “ROCKY BALBOA Created in 1980 for the Movie ’Rocky III’ by A. Thomas Schomberg Edition #2/3 on Loan to the San Diego Hall of Champions from Robert Breitbard.” The statue is expected to fetch as much as half a million dollars or more.
Among some of the other top lots being offered are dozens of prestigious horse-racing trophies from the massive Eugene V. Klein Collection. Included in the vast assortment is the impressive 1985 Preakness Stakes Championship Trophy, which was won by “Tank’s Prospect,” a three-year-old stallion that was owned by the late Klein, who also was the former owner of the San Diego Chargers from 1966 to ‘84.
Speaking of the Chargers, even though the team relocated to Los Angeles earlier this year, the history of the Bolts is captured as several pieces chronicling the team’s existence in San Diego are up for grabs including the team’s MVP award that covers more than three decades of play (1961 to ’92); its “Lineman of the Year” honors from 1971 to ’92; and its “Charger of the Year” trophy (1969 to ’75).
The San Diego Padres, meanwhile, were headlined for 20 seasons by the late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn (a.k.a. “Mr. Padre”) and many of Gwynn’s milestone mementoes are being auctioned including his autographed and notated 2,915th hit baseball and his game worn and signed uniform from career hit No. 2,919. He finished his career with 3,141 hits, which remains a team record.
Other important historical pieces offered within the SDHOC Collection are turn-of-the-last-century sterling silver football trophies chronicling the city’s longstanding relationship with the armed services; cherished game worn items from Ted Williams’ distinguished baseball career; San Diego Rockets’ memorabilia from the city’s original NBA franchise that now calls Houston home; and several original oil paintings by the late Ernie Barnes, a former Chargers offensive lineman who turned out be an acclaimed artist following his NFL career.
Breitbard, the Hall of Champions’ imaginative creator and visionary who passed away in 2010 at the age of 91, left behind an incredible legacy of celebrating outstanding athletic achievement within his community.
Bidding is open to registered bidders only at www.scpauctions.com beginning on Wed., Oct. 18, and closing on Sat., Nov. 4. For more information on how to participate and take part in the bidding, please call 949-831-3700 or visitwww.scpauctions.com.
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