The San Pedro Sportswalk to the Waterfront received a brand new name. The newly-titled Los Angeles Sportswalk of Fame celebrated a new group of honorees at an induction ceremony on Monday, October 8.
The nonprofit organization, which also celebrates its 40th anniversary, also held its event at a new location, in front of the Battleship USS Iowa. Record attendance was set for the occasion, and more than $20,000 was raised for the local Boys & Girls Clubs.
Rick Pielago, President of the L.A. Sportswalk Foundation, noted, “I think we set a new standard for our organization with our latest induction. We had world-class athletic talent, a hometown flair, coupled with a military salute while raising money for a great cause. But, being competitive types ourselves, we can’t wait to break our own records in 2019.”
This year, the L.A. Sportswalk presented a plaque to a record-number eleven inductees. Special guests involved in the induction ceremony included Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who awarded each athlete with proclamations from both the County and City.
Sportscasters Petros Papadakis and Ed Arnold (Sportswalk honoree), and Vince Ferragamo (Sportswalk honoree), took turns at the podium with introductions, remarks, and questions for the newest inductees.
Bringing the illustrious total up to 150 honorees, this year’s L.A. Sportswalk of Fame inductees included:
Swimming legend, Joe Bird, has run over 25 marathons and competed in the Hawaiian Iron Man four times, but is best known for a wonderful career teaching and coaching swimming and water polo from 1961–1981 at Fermin Lasuen and Mira Costa High Schools. In three short years at Mira Costa, he turned the Mustangs into a swimming and water polo powerhouse, developing over 30 swimming All-Americans, countless All-CIF water polo players, and led both a 14’s team and a 16’s team to water polo national championships.
Motorcycle racing legend, Johnny Campbell, a San Clemente native, is an 11-time Baja 1000 Champion, establishing himself as one of the Kings of the Desert. Campbell’s success at the Baja 1000, where riders navigate their way across 1,000 miles of rugged Mexican terrain, is beyond explainable, winning eleven times at insane speeds on a motorcycle, a feat many in the sport consider to be untouchable.
Tillman Award winner, Ralph De-Quebec, USA Paralympic Sled Hockey Gold Medalist, United States Marine, San Pedro High School football alumni, who was notably featured on the cover of last month’s issue of San Pedro Today.
Baseball legend and business mogul, Ray Deeter, earned All-City honors at San Pedro High School for baseball and went on to Compton College after serving for the US in the Navy. In 1948, Ray played in the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues in 1948, followed by World Softball Championships in 1952-1953. In 1962 with the Mary Star softball team, he won another world championship in Connecticut and was named MVP of the tournament. Deeter was also a successful business leader in San Pedro for over 40 years.
Softball coaching legend and Trani Award winner, Tony Dobra, garnered an impeccable coaching record in 35 years coaching both at San Pedro High School and Mary Star. In his 29 years with San Pedro, the Pirates won 21 league crowns and 13 CIF-Los Angeles City Section championships. Dobra won 735 games, fourth all time in California according to Cal-Hi Sports.
Christopher Forsberg is the most successful drifting driver, having won three championships and 57 podium finishes. In Japan, Forsberg won a third Formula Drift championship.
Don Horn had an illustrious career in football at Gardena High from 1960–1962, and later quarterbacked Harbor College to an unbeaten 1964 season, played at San Diego State and quarterbacked the Aztecs to a 1966 “Small College” national championship. In 1967, he was drafted 25th overall in the NFL by legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lomardi, and was a member of the 1967 Packers team that won Super Bowl II.
Robby Gordon, son of off-road racer “Baja Bob Gordon,” got his start in off-road racing and won five straight SCORE championships from 1986–1990, a sixth championship in 1996, and then a seventh in 2009. In his career Gordon has won titles in Indy Cars, NASCAR sports cars, and off-road race cars, piling up victories in the Trans-Am Series, Formula Off-Road Series, the Inaugural Stadium Super Truck Championship, the Baja 1000 three times, and the Baja 500 four times.
Frank Manumaleuna was a four-sport star at Banning High in the early 1970s, but it was football where he most excelled. Manumaleuna went on to play at the likes of UCLA, San Jose State, the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and the USFL Portland Breakers in his career.
NFL Hall of Famer and USC athletic director, Lynn Swann, who as a top-notch wide receiver, was a member of the 1972 undefeated national champion Trojans team, and won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mike Scioscia, who recently finished his 19th season as the manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, lead-ing the Angels to the World Series title in 2002, and won over 1,500 games. In his playing days, Scioscia played in the Major Leagues for 15 years, winning two World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 and 1988.
Class of 2018 (l to r): Robby Gordon, Mike Scoiscia, Frank Manumaleuna, Lynn Swann, Tony Dobra, Johnny Campbell, Joe Bird, Chris Fors-berg, Don Horn and Ralph DeQuebec. Councilman Joe Buscaino and Supervisor Janice Hahn (center) were also in attendance. (photo: Michael Baker)