PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Long before the last pitch was thrown or the stands emptied at the 2014 Little League World Series, the Taney Dragons had captured the hearts of the Delaware Valley. On June 12, 2015, the Philadelphia Sports Congress (PHLSports) will recognize the team’s accomplishments by honoring them with the 2015 John Wanamaker Athletic Award, during a ceremony and luncheon at the Crystal Tea Room. The award, which has been bestowed since 1961 to the athlete, team or organization that has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and the team or sport in which they excel, will be presented by the Sports Congress, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), in conjunction with Amerimar/TIER REIT.
Last summer, the Taney Dragons captivated the city as the first Philadelphia team to capture the Mid-Atlantic Little League Regional title, earning a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Garnering even more national attention, Taney’s pitcher Mo’ne Davis made headlines as the first female player to win a game in the World Series. Thanks in part to her historic shut-out, Davis made history again as the first Little Leaguer to ever be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. After ending their run only two wins away from the U.S. Championship, Taney was greeted by thousands of fans in a Philadelphia parade and rally for the team, culminating the ‘feel good story of the year.’ Since then, Davis and the team have appeared everywhere from Good Morning America to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“The Taney Dragons are honored and grateful to receive the prestigious John Wanamaker Athletic Award,” said Alex Rice, Coach of the Taney Dragons. “It is incredibly flattering to be included on this wide and varied list of Philadelphia’s greatest athletes and most accomplished teams. Last summer, the road to Williamsport was a special ride. It was our honor to represent the City of Philadelphia and show the heights our boys and girls can reach given the opportunities. Philadelphia and our kids can achieve anything.”
Also being recognized at this year’s luncheon is Special Olympics Philadelphia, a program that, since 1971, has offered year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The group will receive the Robert P. Levy Community Service Award, presented to an individual or organization that has done the most to “improve the quality of life in Philadelphia through sports.”
Rounding out the honorees, the City of Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation Department will present its fifth annual Sports Volunteer of the Year Award to Donald “Coach Don” Richardson, Director of the Pop Warner football Philadelphia Blackhawks Athletic Club, who has played an active role within the organization since 2000.The award is presented annually to the “men and women in our community whose exemplary volunteer efforts have made a real difference in the lives of our City’s young people through sports.”