The San Diego Hall of Champions now occupies the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park. The sports museum will soon close.
San Diego’s Hall of Champions will soon close. I was told yesterday that the museum’s final day is uncertain, but most likely imminent. So you’d better hurry on over to Balboa Park before it is gone forever.
A couple days ago news broke that the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park’s Palisades area, which has been the location of the Hall of Champions for many years, will become the home of a brand new San Diego Comic-Con museum. It’s an exciting bit of news and should revitalize this slightly less active section of Balboa Park. I’m sure the neighboring museums will benefit from what is sure to be a very popular attraction. But it’s so very, very sad to see the Hall of Champions come to an end.
I learned the plaques from the Breitbard Hall of Fame will be relocated to the Western Metal Supply Co. at Petco Park, and the Padres will claim the exhibits that pertain to their team. The San Diego Chargers exhibits will head up to Los Angeles now that the team has moved north. Other sports artifacts and bits of memorabilia will be claimed by their respective owners: athletes, teams, collectors and sports organizations. So, I suppose, the history of athletic achievement in San Diego will live on.
Here’s one final look inside the Hall of Champions. It’s where many fantastic memories were made and preserved. San Diego has been home to some of the world’s greatest champions, including baseball’s Tony Gwynn, skateboarding’s Tony Hawk, NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson, golf’s Phil Mickelson, basketball’s Bill Walton, boxing’s Ken Norton, diving’s Greg Louganis, sailing’s Dennis Conner . . . and many others.
Peering into the entrance of the Hall of Champions. Colorful exhibits celebrate San Diego champions from a wide variety of sports.
Large banners inside the museum entrance honor an athlete’s dedication, confidence, focus, determination and character.
A San Diego Chicken suit worn by Ted Giannoulas. The funny mascot is known and loved worldwide.
Tony Gwynn jersey and memorabilia near the Hall of Champion’s indoor cafe.
A big National League Champions pennant above the front door of the Hall of Champions, won by the San Diego Padres in 1984.
A large statue of Muhammad Ali stands above an event space where many local sports award ceremonies are held. Ali was defeated by Ken Norton at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1973.
The Hall of Champions honors local high school coaching legends.
The San Diego County Officials Hall of Fame.
The Dragonfly II human powered vehicle is on display in the museum.
Sign describes the Dragonfly II. Richard Byrne of San Diego rode it to a first place finish at the 1983 Human Powered Speed Championships held on the Indianapolis race track.
One display case contains old high school sports souvenir programs.
Another case holds objects related to Padres home run slugger Nate Colbert.
The San Diego Hall of Champions has an extensive Moores Family Baseball Exhibit.
The exhibit features many memorable moments in San Diego Padres baseball history.
Top players in Padres history include Trevor Hoffman, Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley. Bruce Bochy is remembered as a fan favorite manager.
Remembering the 1984 National League Champion Padres.
Major League Baseball’s Padres are a beloved sports team in San Diego.
Notable Padres players in the 1970’s include Randy Jones, Rollie Fingers, Dave Winfield and Gaylord Perry.
Display recalls the 1954 PCL Championship, won by the Padres.
Another display shows the San Diego Padres in their earliest years.
On July 4, 1871 San Diego was a dusty little border town of barely 2300 hardy souls. On this day baseball was first played in our city!
One section in the Hall of Champions honors San Diego Collegiate Stars of football.
Local college football memories live on at the Hall of Champions.
Alvin Hall played five seasons for MCRD, and ranks as one of the Marine Corps’ greatest running backs.
The San Diego Chargers exhibit at the Hall of Champions includes many player jerseys.
The San Diego Chargers produced many fond memories for local football fans.
Trophies and plaques from the exciting Don Coryell era San Diego Chargers.
More NFL football memories from the 90’s.
This display shows some San Diegans who starred in the NFL, including Marcus Allen, Junior Seau, Terrell Davis, Art Powell and Marshall Faulk.
The San Diego Chargers won the AFL Championship in 1963.
Exhibit fondly remembers the early days of the San Diego Chargers.
A display case at the Hall of Champions dedicated to San Diego basketball’s original NBA Clippers and Rockets.
Jerseys and equipment from different incarnations of the San Diego Gulls hockey team.
Surfing is a major sport in Southern California. So many different surfboards are displayed in the San Diego Hall of Champions.
The underside of one of Tony Hawk’s practice skateboards shows a lot of wear!
Motocross exhibit at the Hall of Champions.
An exhibit features a NASCAR racing suit worn by 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who grew up in El Cajon.
An inboard hydroplane that set a world record in 1975.
Designed by San Diegan Steve Ball, this 850 C.C. inboard Hydroplane is on display at the Hall of Champions.
Two walls on the Hall of Champions’ second floor house the Breitbard Hall of Fame, celebrating great San Diego athletes.
A random photograph of one section of the Breitbard Hall of Fame.
Dennis Conner has been called America’s greatest sailor.
Bill Walton is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Another wall on the second floor of the Hall of Champions contains Sports Illustrated covers that feature San Diego athletes. Dennis Conner with Ronald Reagan, and Phil Mickelson winning his first major.
Heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton prepares for his first defense.
As of June 2008, the Sports Illustrated feature story has included San Diegans 113 times.
Tony Gwynn, the best hitter since Ted Williams.
UCLA’s red-hot redhead, center Bill Walton.
Randy Jones’ threat to win 30.
A sculpture of Muhammad Ali in a corner of the Hall of Champion’s second floor.
Now we check out the second wall of the Breitbard Hall of Fame. Golf’s Craig Stadler was a product of the San Diego Junior Golf Association.
Ken Norton began boxing in the Marine Corps while stationed at Camp Pendleton.
Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk makes San Diego proud.
Marshall Faulk broke NCAA rushing records at San Diego State University.
Greg Louganis of San Diego has been called the greatest diver of all time.
Junior Seau is remembered with love by many in San Diego. He was an NFL football great.
The statue of Muhammad Ali looks down at tables set for a special evening event at the San Diego Hall of Champions.
Gazing down at the front entrance of the sports museum from the second floor.
The lower level of the Hall of Champions is dedicated to competitive sailing. It isn’t surprising that San Diego has produced many of the greatest sailors in the world.
One of many displays that recalls sailing’s very rich history in San Diego.
Two small sailboats inside the San Diego Hall of Champions.
San Diego has produced many sailing World Champions.
Every U.S. Olympic sailing team since 1964 has featured at least one San Diegan.
A look into the Hall of Champion’s Bill Koch America’s Cup Gallery.
A model of America, the racing schooner that beat many British competitors in 1851, establishing the America’s Cup. Today, a replica full-size boat makes San Diego Bay its home.
A timeline shows America’s Cup history and traditions, including the evolution of racing craft.
San Diego Yacht Club’s Dennis Conner won the America’s Cup four times.
Painting of Oracle vs. Alinghi, 2010. By artist Tim Thompson.
A replica of the America’s Cup, the oldest international sporting trophy in the world.
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