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As documented in Episode 169 of the Baseball Brew Crew Podcast, we selected our 2023 Baseball Brew Crew Diamond Icons.

Of 32 nominees and a randomized head-to-head competition, Kevin Lyon, Michael Mondragon, Ian Fitzgerald, and Allan Jepsen have selected three new inductees.

Congratulations to Johnny Bench, Gaylord Perry, and Phil Niekro for joining the 3rd Class of inductees for these annual awards.

In addition, the 3rd 2023 Baseball Brew Crew Legacy Award goes to Brooks Robinson, who unfortunately passed away this year.

Also, the two 2023 Baseball Brew Crew Silver Chugger Awards go to Shane Barclay from JapanBall.com and ‘The Big Hurt’ Allan Jepsen.

Thank you to the judges, nominees, and winners for a great 2024.

Click here to see the: 2022 Diamond Icon Winners
Click here to see the: 2021 Diamond Icon Winners

2023 Baseball Brew Crew Diamond Icons

To honor the three top members of the Baseball Brew Crew community that have greatly impacted our year

Johnny Bench (3rd Diamond Icon Class, 2nd Ballot) – Johnny is an MLB Hall of Famer who played for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers ever. He is a 14× All-Star, 2× World Series Champion, 2× NL MVP, World Series MVP, 10× Gold Glove Award Winner, and on the MLB All-Time and All-Century Teams. Johnny was also the host of the Baseball Bunch television series and commercial spokesperson for Krylon Paint. Most talked about moments: Johnny Bench wishes the Baseball Brew Crew a Happy 2-Year Anniversary (Video), Johnny Bench on the Baseball Bunch (Video), Johnny Bench & Bob Uecker Krylon Commercial (Video), and Johnny Bench sings ‘Oklahoma Morning’ on Hee Haw (Video)

Gaylord Perry (3rd Diamond Icon Class, 2nd Ballot) – Perry is a Hall of Fame pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, and Kansas City Royals. He has a 314–265 Win/Loss record, is a 2× Cy Young Award winner (1972, 1978), and pitched a no-hitter on September 17, 1968. Most talked about moment: Perry was widely considered to use the effective (yet illegal) spitball pitch. His 1974 autobiography was called ‘Me and the Spitter’. He was not ejected for the illegal pitch until August 23, 1982 — the 21st season of his career (Video)

Phil Niekro (3rd Diamond Icon Class, 3rd Ballot) – ‘Knucksie’ pitched for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1964–1983, 1987), New York Yankees (1984–1985), Cleveland Indians (1986–1987), and Toronto Blue Jays (1987). Niekro and his younger brother Joe amassed 539 wins (the most combined wins by brothers in baseball history). Phil’s 121 career victories after age 40 is an MLB record. He is a 5× All-Star (1969, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1984) and pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on August 5, 1973. Most talked about moment: An inspiration to all of us old guys with his knuckleball and upbeat personality (Video))

2023 Legacy Award Winners

To honor and remember fallen members of the Baseball Brew Crew community

Brooks Robinson (3rd Recipient of the Award) – Nicknamed “Mr. Hoover” and “the Human Vacuum Cleaner,” Brooks Robinson is considered the most outstanding defensive third baseman in Major League Baseball history. An 18-time All-Star, he won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, the most by a position player, and tied with Jim Kaat for the second-most of all-time, behind Greg Maddux. His 2,870 career games at third base exceeded the closest player by nearly 700 games when he retired and remained the most games by any player in history at a single position. His 23 seasons with a single team set a major league record since he was matched only by Carl Yastrzemski. Most talked about moments: Best of Brooks Robinson’s Defense for the Baltimore Orioles
(Video)

2023 Silver Chugger Award Winners

To honor outstanding achievement for the Baseball Brew Crew in the field of entertainment

Shane Barclay (3rd Silver Chugger Award Class) – Shane Barclay is the Owner and President of JapanBall.com. He has worked in professional baseball for many years, and his company offers baseball tours of Japan, the Dominican Republic, Europe, and South Korea. His passion and baseball knowledge are evident; we are privileged to call him a friend. Most talked about moments: Beer Baseball Hoppy Hour Ep. 5: (Video) Baseball Brew Crew Interview Series, Ep. 3 with Shane & Anna DiTommaso: (Video)

‘The Big Hurt’ Allan Jepsen (3rd Silver Chugger Award Class) – Allan has made five appearances on the Baseball Brew Crew programming. He is our Canadian Brother from another mother. His passion for pro wrestling, baseball, and craft beer has made him a fan favorite. And the only thing that separates us from him is 1,300 miles and one big Pat Borders. Most talked about moments: Baseball Brew Crew Hoppy Hour, Ep. 10: (Video) Baseball Brew Crew Podcast Ep. 167: (Video)

The Remaining 2023 Baseball Brew Crew Diamond Icons Nominees

Billy Martin (2022, 2023 Nominee) – Billy was a player for seven MLB teams and a manager for five MLB teams including the New York Yankees five times. His #1 is retired by the Yankees. He revitalized the Oakland A’s at the start of the 80s in the “Billy Ball” era. And had a publicly famous player/manager feud with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in the late-70s. He was also a recognizable television star with appearances on Miller Lite and Pepto Bismol commercials, the first WrestleMania, and an infamous Saturday Night Live cameo. Most talked about moments: George Steinbrenner & Billy Martin Miller Lite Commercial (Video), Pepto Bismol Commercial With Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner (Video), and Billy and Reggie nearly came to blows in the dugout at Fenway Park (Video)

Bob Watson (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A first baseman/left fielder for the Houston Astros (1966–1979), Boston Red Sox (1979), New York Yankees (1980–1982), and Atlanta Braves (1982–1984). Most talked about moments: Watson was credited with scoring the 1,000,000th run in MLB on May 4, 1975, and won $10,000 and one million Tootsie Rolls provided by the event’s sponsor. And he also had a cameo appearance in the 1977 movie ‘The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training’ (Video)

Bobby Valentine (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A utility player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and Seattle Mariners. Later a manager for Texas Rangers (1985–1992), Chiba Lotte Marines (1995, 2004–2009), Mets (1996–2002), and Boston Red Sox (2012). Won the Japan Series in 2005. Most talked about moment: Valentine was ejected from a June 9, 1999, 14-inning game and returned to the dugout in a disguise. (Video)

Dave Winfield (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A Hall of Fame player for the San Diego Padres (1973–1980), New York Yankees (1981–1988, 1990), California Angels (1990–1991), Toronto Blue Jays (1992), Minnesota Twins (1993–1994), Cleveland Indians (1995). Most talked about moment: Winfield, unfortunately, killed a bird with a warm-up toss in Toronto on August 4, 1983. But the police treated the incident as if he did it on purpose (Video)

Dick Allen (2023 Nominee) – The ‘Wampum Walloper’ was one of the early African Americans to play for the Philadelphia Phillies during the Civil Rights Movement and played every day despite ongoing racism. Allen’s fifteen-year-long Major League Baseball career included playing first base, third base, and outfield for the Phillies (1963-69, 1975-76), Cardinals (1970), Dodgers (1971), White Sox (1972-74), and Athletics (1977). The 7× All-Star was among baseball’s top sluggers in the 1960s and early 1970s, winning the National League Rookie of the Year in 1964 and leading the American League home runs twice in 1972 and 1974. Most talked about moments: Dick Allen’s Famous Chili Dog Game (Video), Cooperstown Justice — Dick Allen (Video).

Earl Weaver (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A Hall of Fame manager for the Baltimore Orioles (1968–1982, 1985–1986). In 11 of his 17 seasons, the Orioles won 90 or more games, winning the 1970 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Most talked about moment: Weaver was known for his cigarette smoking habit in the dugout and fiery temper with umpires that were often captured on video (Video)

Eddie Gaedel (2021, 2022 Nominee) – Weighing 60 pounds and standing 3 feet 7 inches tall, Eddie Gaedel gained recognition in the second game of a St. Louis Browns doubleheader on August 19, 1951. He made a single plate appearance and was walked with four consecutive balls before being replaced by a pinch-runner. Most talked about moment: Gaedel became the shortest player in the history of Major League Baseball (Video)

Fred Lynn (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A center fielder for the Boston Red Sox (1974–1980), California Angels (1981–1984), Baltimore Orioles (1985–1988), Detroit Tigers (1988–1989), and San Diego Padres (1990). A 9× All-Star (1975–1983), AL MVP (1975), AL Rookie of the Year (1975), ALCS MVP (1982), 4× Gold Glove Award (1975, 1978–1980), and AL batting champion (1979). Most talked about moment: Kevin Lyon (Field Correspondent & Senior Research Analyst of the Baseball Brew Crew) once accidentally bumped Fred’s wife in the head with a bat at an autograph signing (Video)

Hal McRae (2021, 2022 Nominee) – McRae was an outfielder and designated hitter for the Cincinnati Reds (1968, 1970–1972) and Kansas City Royals (1973–1987). The manager for the Royals (1991–1994) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2001–2002). A 3× All-Star (1975, 1976, 1982), 2× World Series champion (1985, 2006), and in the Royals Hall of Fame. Most talked about moment: McRae was known as a VERY aggressive baserunner (Video) and an even MORE aggressive manager (Video)

Harry Caray (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A Ford C. Frick Award winner as a broadcaster for the St. Louis Cardinals (1945–1969), St. Louis Browns (1945–1946), Oakland Athletics (1970), Chicago White Sox (1971–1981), and Chicago Cubs (1982–1997). Caray is credited with popularizing the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch of Cubs games at Wrigley Field. Most talked about moments: Caray would often announce the game from the outfield bleachers surrounded by beer cups and fans during his tenure with the White Sox. He also filmed commercials for Budweiser beer as a ‘Cub Fan, and a Bud Man’ (Video)

Joe Niekro (2021, 2022 Nominee) – The younger brother of pitcher Phil Niekro, Joe played for the Chicago Cubs (1967–1969), San Diego Padres (1969), Detroit Tigers (1970–1972), Atlanta Braves (1973–1974), Houston Astros (1975–1985), New York Yankees (1985–1987), and Minnesota Twins (1987–1988). He is the Astros all-time leader in wins (144), walks (818), and wild pitches (128). Most talked about moment: During a game against the California Angels on August 3, 1987, Niekro was caught with an emery board and a piece of sandpaper that flew out of his pocket as he emptied it (Video)

Jose Canseco (2021, 2022 Nominee) – An outfielder / designated hitter for the Oakland Athletics (1985–1992, 1997), Texas Rangers (1992–1994), Boston Red Sox (1995–1996), Toronto Blue Jays (1998), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1999–2000), New York Yankees (2000), and Chicago White Sox (2001). He is a 6× All-Star, 2× World Series champion (1989, 2000), AL MVP (1988), AL Rookie of the Year (1986), and 2× MLB home run leader (1988, 1991). Most talked about moment: On May 26, 1993, against the Cleveland Indians, a fly ball that Canseco lost sight of as he was crossing the warning track hit him in the head and bounced over the wall for a home run (Video)

Kenny Rogers (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A pitcher for the Texas Rangers (1989–1995, 2000–2002, 2004–2005), New York Yankees (1996–1997), Oakland Athletics (1998–1999), New York Mets (1999), Minnesota Twins (2003), and Detroit Tigers (2006–2008). A 4× All-Star (1995, 2004–2006), World Series champion (1996), and pitched a perfect game on July 28, 1994. Most talked about moment: His unprovoked attack of cameramen during pre-game warmups (Video)

Kevin Youkilis (2021, 2022 Nominee) – The ‘Greek God of Walks’ was first and third baseman for the Boston Red Sox (2004–2012), Chicago White Sox (2012), New York Yankees (2013), and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (2014). Youkilis is a 3× All-Star (2008, 2009, 2011), World Series champion (2007), Gold Glove Award (2007), AL Hank Aaron Award (2008), and in the Red Sox Hall of Fame. Most talked about moment: Youkilis transitioned after retirement to owning a craft beer brewery called Loma Brewing Company in Los Gatos, California (Video)

Lars Nootbaar (2021, 2022 Nominee) – Nootbaar is a rookie outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a three-year starter for the USC Trojans and was named the 2018 All-Pac-12 Conference as a sophomore after hitting .313 with 34 RBIs, 33 runs scored, and seven home runs. Most talked about moment: As documented in Ep. 55 of the Baseball Brew Crew Podcast, Angelo Trinidad (VP of Content Development) saw Lars play in Triple-A for the Memphis Redbirds against the Nashville Sounds on May 14th, 2021. Lars went from a heel to babyface in the course of a few innings (Video)

Lou Piniella (2021, 2022 Nominee) – ‘Sweet Lou’ was a left fielder for the Baltimore Orioles (1964), Cleveland Indians (1968), Kansas City Royals (1969–1973), and New York Yankees (1974–1984). Piniella was manager of the Yankees (1986–1987, 1988), Cincinnati Reds (1990–1992), Seattle Mariners (1993–2002), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2003–2005), and Chicago Cubs (2007–2010). He was the AL Rookie of the Year (1969), 3× World Series champion (1977, 1978, 1990), and 3× Manager of the Year (1995, 2001, 2008). Most talked about moment: Like Hal McRae and Earl Weaver, Piniella has a fiery temper and a short fuse with umpires (Video)

Mal Fichman (2021, 2022 Nominee) – A minor league baseball manager notable for leading multiple championship teams in the Frontier League in the mid-to-late 1990s. Most talked about moment: On June 29, 1989, the Boise Hawks’ manager is suspended for one game for returning to the field after being ejected in the sixth inning disguised as the team’s mascot Humphrey the Hawk. The impostor gave instructions to his team for the remainder of the Northwest League contest against Salem (Story)

Morganna (2021, 2022 Nominee) – Morganna the Kissing Bandit was an entertainer who disrupted sporting events from 1970 through the 1990s. She famously rushed the field on many occasions and kissed players from Major League Baseball, the NBA, and even the NHL. Most talked about moment: Morganna has too many great moments to list here. Suffice to say, she is a legend (Video)

Ozzie Smith (2021, 2022 Nominee) – ‘The Wizard’ is a Hall of Fame shortstop for the San Diego Padres (1978–1981) and the St. Louis Cardinals (1982–1996). A 15× All-Star (1981–1992, 1994–1996), World Series champion (1982), NLCS MVP (1985), and a 13× Gold Glove Award winner (1980–1992). Most talked about moments: Ozzie was a part of the Baseball Brew Crew One Year Anniversary Gala and was a regular on The Baseball Bunch (Video)

Phillip Wellman (2021, 2022 Nominee) – Wellman is the current manager of the San Antonio Missions, a Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. He has also managed the Winston-Salem Warthogs (1996), Burlington Bees (1997–1998), Chattanooga Lookouts (1999, 2001–2003), Mississippi Braves (2007–2010), Arkansas Travelers (2014), and the Amarillo Sod Poodles (2019–2020). Most talked about moment: On May 26, 2016, in a game against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, he was ejected after protesting a runner called out. The aftermath became an instant classic (Video)

Randy Johnson (2021, 2022 Nominee) – ‘The Big Unit’ is a Hall of Fame pitcher for the Montreal Expos (1988–1989), Seattle Mariners (1989–1998), Houston Astros (1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999–2004), New York Yankees (2005–2006), Arizona Diamondbacks (2007–2008), and the San Francisco Giants (2009). He is a 10× All-Star, pitched a no-hitter on June 2, 1990, and pitched a perfect game on May 18, 2004. Most talked about moment: In a freak accident on March 24, 2001, during the 7th inning of a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants, Johnson threw a fastball that struck a dove (Video)

Robin Ventura (2023 Nominee) – Ventura played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball for the White Sox, Mets, Yankees, and Dodgers. The White Sox selected him with the tenth overall pick in the 1988 MLB amateur draft from Oklahoma State University. As a National College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Ventura was a three-time All-American who achieved a Division I-record 58-game hitting streak. He also won the Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award, and played for the Olympic baseball gold medal-winning team in 1988. Most talked about moments: Robin Ventura and Nolan Ryan duke it out (Video), Robin Ventura’s Grand Slam Single (Video) and Robin Ventura’s College Career (Video).

Rollie Fingers (2021, 2022 Nominee) – Rollie was a Hall of Fame pitcher for the Oakland Athletics (1968–1976), San Diego Padres (1977–1980), and Milwaukee Brewers (1981–1982, 1984–1985). Known for his neatly groomed handlebar mustache, Rollie finished his career with a 114–118 Win/Loss record, 1,299 strikeouts, and 341 saves. He is a 7× All-Star, 3× World Series champion, AL MVP (1981), and AL Cy Young Award (1981). Most talked about moment: Rollie was a part of the Baseball Brew Crew One Year Anniversary Gala (Video)

San Diego Chicken (2021, 2022 Nominee) – The San Diego Chicken is a sports mascot played by Ted Giannoulas. He is also known as The Famous Chicken, the KGB Chicken, or just The Chicken. The success of the Chicken helped lead to mascots becoming widespread throughout pro sports, particularly Major League Baseball. Most talked about moment: The Chicken appeared at WrestleMania XV and WrestleMania 2000. The costume was worn by Pete Rose at WrestleMania XV, during which he was given the Tombstone Pile Driver by Kane. He was also a standout character on the Baseball Bunch and many sporting events (Video)

Tommy Lasorda (2022 Nominee) – Tommy is a 2x World Series Champion manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Olympic Baseball Gold Medalist, and MLB Hall of Famer. He was also the ‘The Dugout Wizard’ on The Baseball Bunch and Slim-Fast spokesman. Most talked about moments: Lasorda has enough with the Philly Phanatic (Video), Lasorda gets Youppi! tossed from the game (Video), Tommy Lasorda meltdown about Kurt Bevacqua (Video), Tommy Lasorda on Dave Kingman (Video), and Tommy Lasorda is disgusted by PSY performance at Dodger Stadium (Video)

Tsuyoshi Shinjo (2021, 2022 Nominee) – Was an outfielder for the Hanshin Tigers (1991–2000), New York Mets (2001), San Francisco Giants (2002), New York Mets (2003), and Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (2004–2006). Shinjo is the second Japanese-born position player to play a Major League Baseball (and the first in the National League) game and was the first Japanese-born player to appear in the World Series. Most talked about moment: In 2022, the flamboyant Japanese celebrity, model, and clothing mogul nicknamed BIGBOSS (ビッグボス, Biggubosu) managed the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to a 59-81-3 last-place finish in the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball (Video)

Wally Backman (2021, 2022 Nominee) – Wally was an infielder for the New York Mets (1980–1988), Minnesota Twins (1989), Pittsburgh Pirates (1990), Philadelphia Phillies (1991–1992), and Seattle Mariners (1993). He managed the Binghamton Mets, Las Vegas 51s, Buffalo Bisons, Acereros de Monclova, Brooklyn Cyclones, New Britain Bees, and Long Island Ducks. Most talked about moment: As manager of the South Georgia Peanuts he had this very Earl Weaver-ish meltdown caught immortalized on the TV series ‘Playing for Peanuts’ (Video)

Wade Boggs (2021, 2022 Nominee) – ‘The Chicken Man’ is a Hall of Fame third baseman for the Boston Red Sox (1982–1992), New York Yankees (1993–1997), and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998–1999). A 12× All-Star (1985–1996) and 5× AL batting champion (1983, 1985–1988) retired with a .328 batting average with 3,010 hits, 118 home runs, and 1,014 RBIs. Most talked about moment: Boggs is rumored to have once consumed 107 beers on a cross-country flight. This was featured in an episode of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ in which Boggs had a cameo role (Video)

Dick Allen (2023 Nominee) – The ‘Wampum Walloper’ was one of the early African Americans to play for the Philadelphia Phillies during the Civil Rights Movement and played every day despite ongoing racism. Allen’s fifteen-year-long Major League Baseball career included playing first base, third base, and outfield for the Phillies (1963-69, 1975-76), Cardinals (1970), Dodgers (1971), White Sox (1972-74), and Athletics (1977). The 7× All-Star was among baseball’s top sluggers in the 1960s and early 1970s, winning the National League Rookie of the Year in 1964 and leading the American League home runs twice in 1972 and 1974. Most talked about moments: Dick Allen’s Famous Chili Dog Game (Video), Cooperstown Justice — Dick Allen (Video).

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