Spike’s, a company that provides trophies, awards and much more, celebrated the one-year anniversary of its current location last week by hosting a vendor show and welcoming a new tenant — the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
Spike’s was founded in 1929 at 1033 Race St. in Center City. It moved to 13th and Race streets in 1981 and stayed for a decade until being forced to relocate to 514 N. 2nd St. as construction began on the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
A year ago, Spike’s opened in a 24,000-square-foot building at 2701 Grant Ave. in Northeast Philly.
“We doubled our space,” said Keith Baldwin, CEO/managing director.
The company spent close to three years finding the right location.
“We wanted to stay in Philadelphia because of our employees,” Baldwin said.
Spike’s has a showroom, a warehouse and office space, but had some room to spare. So, the company decided to make room for one of its many customers, the local sports Hall of Fame, which does not yet have a permanent home.
The Hall has inducted more than 160 legends in the last nine years. Its 10th-anniversary class will be announced on June 6 and inducted during a Nov. 7 ceremony at the Sheraton Society Hill. The event will also serve as a reunion for members of the first nine classes.
Until recently, the Hall had its 2,500-plus individual items stored in a leased property at 919 N. 5th St. in Northern Liberties. The building wasn’t open to the public, and visitors could come only by invitation or appointment. But the site is being sold to make room for townhomes, and Hall officials were glad Spike’s could accommodate them.
The Hall has displays along the walls and in a room at Spike’s, and hopes to open to the public on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Hopefully, this will be the nucleus to get the word out so we can get grassroots momentum for a real facility,” said Hall vice president Steve Tallant.
Ideally, Hall officials would like that facility to be located either in Center City or at the sports complex in South Philadelphia.
For now, the Hall preview gallery is highlighted by two items on loan — Chuck Bednarik’s Pro Football Hall of Fame bust and a 1948 Olympic swimming gold medal belonging to the late Joe Verdeur, a North Catholic High School graduate who is considered the greatest swimmer of the first half of the 20th century.
The gallery is also the new home of the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society.
“They are the winningest franchise in Philadelphia history, and they left in 1954,” said Tallant, pointing to the five World Series titles won by the A’s.
Two local Hall of Famers are featured.
There’s a picture of the late Crescentville native Del Ennis, a former Phillies slugger who was named Rookie of the Year and selected to play in three All-Star games.
Pine Valley’s Tom Gola and the rest of the 1954 La Salle NCAA men’s basketball championship team were shown in an autographed picture. The box score of their 92-76 victory over Bradley in the title game showed Gola scoring 19 points. Gola also appeared on the cover of Dell Basketball magazine in 1955.
Other highlights include a tribute to the Palestra. There’s a turnstile, trainer’s table, glass backboard, rim and net, along with a picture of a Penn vs. Villanova game back when fans threw streamers on the court after the first basket for each team.
The area also has items related to Wilt Chamberlain, Veterans Stadium and the history of game tickets.
Spike’s, meanwhile, is doing good business selling trophies, awards, promotional products, apparel and signage. Its customers include individuals, teams, companies and event organizers.
The Phillie Phanatic joined in the April 23 festivities, as did Spike, the trophy shop mascot. Academy Injury & Health Center provided free massages, and guests received a wooden piece of the original Palestra floor that was replaced in 2008.
Baldwin, the company head, said its hallmarks are attention to detail and fast and dependable manufacturing and distribution.
Spike’s is planning an exterior wall mural that will commemorate the city’s sports championships. ••
For more information, visit phillyhall.org and gospikes.com
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org