This event just keeps getting better and better.

That’s what I observed when I attended the 16th Annual John Henry “Pop” Lloyd Humanitarian and Youth Awards in Atlantic City this past weekend.

It’s run by Mike Everett, the program coordinator who’s also a member of the “Pop” Lloyd Committee.  This committee also includes Belinda Manning, the president of the committee and the daughter of Negro Leagues baseball star Max Manning, and Lawrence Hogan, a senior professor of history at Union County College of New Jersey, and the author of Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues & the Story of African-American Baseball.

I didn’t mention this in my post about it the other day, but the entirety of the program also includes a sports symposium at nearby Richard Stockton College.  This year’s theme was “The Content of Their Character: Athletes Living the Legacy.” The symposium takes place the Friday before the awards dinner.

Sunday following the dinner is always reserved for a commemorative service at the historic Asbury United Methodist Church in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

The program’s 2008 Humanitarian Award Recipients were:

  • sports journalist and author Frank DeFord;
  • Olympic gold medalists Harrison Dillard and Wendy Hilliard;
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame member Bob Feller;
  • former Harlem Globetrotters Eugene Hudgins, Bob Hunter, and Sam Sawyer;
  • educator and basketball coach Michelle Farrell, and
  • basketball coach Louis “Red” Klotz

In addition to the award recipients, this event always has numerous former players from the Major Leagues and the Negro Leagues, as well as former award recipients in attendance.

For example, Baseball Hall of Fame member Monte Irvin showed up, as did Mahlon Duckett and Harold Gould. Duckett and Gould played for the Philadelphia Stars, and Duckett appeared in The Black List, the highly acclaimed television special that aired recently on HBO.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

John Isaacs and me.

John Isaacs was there too.  It was very cool to see him chatting with some of the old-timers like Irvin, Dillard, and the former Globetrotters, although they all admitted that Isaacs was “way before their time.”

Speaking of Isaacs, sports journalist Glenn Innis wrote a nice birthday tribute about him last week in the New York Sports Examiner, entitled He Is Legend.  Here’s a piece of it, that also kindly mentions some my efforts:

“Coming out of high school, I didn’t have a lot of options,” explains the only living member from the legendary team. “It was either the Rens or the standing offer I had with NYU—New York Unemployment,” recalls the 6-1, 190-pound Isaacs, who also later starred for the Washington Bears.

Long an admirer of his game and exploits, I got to know “Mr. I” personally just over a year ago when I was commissioned by Hoop Magazine, the official NBA publication, to pen a cover piece on the Rens for Black History Month. The interview and introduction were both arranged by Claude Johnson, an Isaacs confidante and nationally known hoops historian who founded BlackFives.com, a vintage sports licensing company dedicated to researching, preserving, promoting, and teaching about the history of African American basketball teams

Here are some photos that perhaps speak better than the words I could use.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Some of the impressive hardware.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

The award dinner audience.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Frank Deford.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Harrison Dillard.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Louis "Red" Klotz.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Monte Irvin chats with John Isaacs.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Linda Ruth Tosetti (Babe Ruth's grand-daughter) catches up with Monte Irvin.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Louis "Red" Klotz seated with John Isaacs.

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

Monte Irvin, Harold Gould, and Mahlon Dickett (l. to r.).

16th Annual Pop Lloyd Awards

The 2008 John Henry "Pop" Lloyd Humanitarian Award recipients.

There were an impressive array of high school student award winners, all of whom seemed to have grade point averages of 3.9 or higher along with numerous noteworthy extracurricular activities.

Beyond this, they were highly interested in the old-timers, and in what was going on, that is, that the recipients were humanitarians — those that bring out best what is human in us the most.

I think you would agree that the John Henry “Pop” Lloyd Committee knows how to make history now!

(For all the rest of the photos, including student award winners, please visit the “Fans of the John Henry “Pop’ Lloyd Awards Weekend” Facebook page.)