Football Legend Namath Coming To Hazleton

October 10, 2018
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Football Legend Namath Coming To Hazleton

Broadway Joe is heading to Broad Street.

Joe Namath, a quarterback in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will join Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon at his Around the Horn Holiday Celebration on Dec. 14 at the Pines Eatery, 8 W. Broad St. in Hazleton.

Maddon and Namath didn’t meet until six years ago, but a link between them goes back to Maddon’s teenage years. Namath had earned a Super Bowl ring after backing up his guarantee that the New York Jets would upset the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 clash.

Maddon, who pitched and played shortstop for the baseball team, also quarterbacked the football team at Hazleton High School, from which he graduated in 1972.

“Friends called him ‘Broad Street Joey,’ the Hazleton version of Broadway Joe Namath, his favorite player,” Tom Verducci writes in “The Cubs Way,” a book published after Maddon led the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.

While both Joes grew up in Pennsylvania — Namath hails from Beaver Falls, Beaver County, 285 miles to the west — they met in Jupiter, Florida, in 2012. Maddon was managing the Tampa Bay Rays and invited Namath to serve as honorary coach for a spring training game.

At the Around the Horn celebration, which will have a Roaring Twenties theme, other celebrities will be on hand. Guests will play casino-style games, bid on sports memorabilia and listen to Hazleton native Bob Baronio and his big band.

Proceeds will benefit the Hazleton Integration Project, which runs the Hazleton One Community Center. The center provides educational, athletic and cultural activities to help unite people of different cultures who call the city home.

Maddon is the honorary chairman and longtime backer of the Hazleton Integration Project.

For the past eight years, he has participated in holiday events and hosted Thanksmas in Hazleton, a dinner for the needy between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In that stretch, the people who have visited to help the Hazleton Integration Project include Major League Baseball managers Yogi Berra, Don Zimmer and Tommy Lasorda; baseball stars Cal Ripken Jr., Tino Martinez, Jose Cardenal, Luis Tiant, Carlos Pena, Rick Sutcliffe and Orlando Cepeda; pro football’s Mike Ditka; pro wrestling’s Sgt. Slaughter; comedian Bill Murray and broadcasters Kimberly Jones, Todd Kalas, Ed Randall and Tim Kurkjian.

For information about tickets and sponsorships for the Around the Horn celebration, contact Frank Radice at 570-233-5328 or vccpro@thevalleycountryclub.com.

Contact the writer:

kjackson@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3587

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