President Ford throws out the first ball of the Texas Rangers’ 1976 season at Arlington Stadium. Photo via fb.com
The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame will honor a highly respected local businessman Thursday.
The hall will present Robert “Bob” Sullivan with its prestigious Gerald R. Ford Award at a ceremonial event, at the Riverfront Hotel Grand Rapids on Dec. 5, beginning at 6 p.m.
Sullivan, who owns Sullivan’s Carpet and Furniture in Grand Rapids, will be honored for the significant contributions he has made to sports and in the sports-related field.
“Bob Sullivan and his Sullivan’s championship baseball program is legendary throughout not only the state of Michigan, but nationally and internationally," said Jim Stark, MSHOF executive director. "Many former Sullivan’s players have gone on to play in Major League Baseball, and the many championships won by the Sullivan’s have brought great pride to West Michigan and our entire state.”
Sullivan established his semi-pro baseball team in 1953 and won the National Baseball Congress World Title four times. His club also won the Haarlem (Netherlands) Baseball Week Championship six times. He managed the Sullivan’s, scouted for the Detroit Tigers and still remains active in the local sports scene.
Sullivan’s teams played most of their home games at Valley Field on the northwest side of Grand Rapids. A few years back, the city commission changed the name of the neighborhood baseball park to Sullivan Field to honor his contributions to the sports scene and the city.
“We are fortunate to have Mr. Sullivan as a supporter of the West Michigan Sports Commission and a business leader in our community," said Mike Guswiler, executive director of the WMSC. "It comes as no surprise that Bob Sullivan is being honored with the Gerald R. Ford Award by the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.”
Previous winners of the award include Mike and Marian Ilitch, Peter Karmanos and Marty Allen.
Phil Regan, a former MLB pitcher, pitching coach and West Michigan Whitecaps manager, will be the event’s featured speaker.
Regan and Sullivan were inducted together into the Grand Rapids Hall of Fame in 1976, the local hall’s second year.
Tickets for the event are $50 and are available at the Riverfront Hotel, michigansportshof.org and by calling (248) 473-0656.