Aug. 11, 2002 – Three Virgin Islanders — a boxer, a tennis star, and a baseball player — were inducted into a national hall of fame Thursday night on St. Thomas, along with one of Puerto Rico's greatest baseball players, who died in a plane crash 30 years ago.
Misfortune cast another shadow over the ceremony as honoree Livingstone "Ras-I Alujah" Bramble stayed home because of the death of his brother in a car accident. A cousin, Sean Bridgewater, accepted the trophy for Bramble and conveyed the boxer's thanks, saying, "It is very humbling to be standing here on his behalf."
The one inductee on hand to receive recognition was 78-year-old tennis player/instructor Vic Ebbesen.
Family members also came to accept posthumous honors for Elmo Plaskett and Roberto Clemente.
This was the second year that the Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame held ceremonies locally to honor the Virgin Island's best.
Joining in the Thursday night event were two of the 2001 inductees, Al McBean and Horace Clarke, both of whom returned home to the Virgin Islands after ending their major league baseball careers. Even in their supporting roles at this year's banquet, they were receiving praise for their accomplishments.
Arif Khatib, founder of the Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, thanked McBean especially for bringing his own hall of fame trophy along to the ceremony — because, he said, "The trophies that were to be given … [are] somewhere in Customs."
One by one, the 2002 inductees or their representatives struck a pose beside McBean's trophy. "It is definitely a great honor to be here, representing my family," said Luis Clemente, son of Roberto Clemente.
Also recognized separately as outstanding athletes were three other V.I. tennis players, veterans George Lewis and Fenella Cooper and 18-year-old Aisha Christian.
Among the local officials on hand for the banquet and induction ceremonies were Delegate Donna M. Christensen, Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, St. John Administrator Julien Harley — who is Ebbesen's son-in-law, and Valerie George, director of Beacon Schools of the Virgin Islands.
Last year saw the first induction of V.I. athletes into the Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame. Last year, as this year, a number of the professional athletes who came to the Virgin Islands to take part in the Beacon Schools Celebrity Golf Tournament fund-raiser also supported the hall of fame event. Khatib said he hoped to forge a stronger link between future hall of fame ceremonies and the annual Beacon golf tournament. The goal of both programs is to help young people, he said.
Before the start of the ceremony, George said she was there to support the hall of fame, but it was not part of the scheduled Beacon golf tournament events.
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