Luis Gonzalez, Charles Barkley among five to be inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame
The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame will induct its 45th class on Wednesday night. Arizona icons Luis Gonzalez, Charles Barkley, Danielle Ammaccapane, Joe Gilmartin and the late Cotton Fitzsimmons will earn this year’s honors.
The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission, which is a non-profit organization, honors athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports. Besides the ceremony, the night will also feature a cocktail reception and silent auction at the Scottsdale Hilton Hotel.
“We are thrilled about this year’s class as it represents some of the most colorful sports personalities of our modern era and it crosses over the player, coaching and journalism sectors,” said Wally Kelly, CEO of the commission. “As with every class that has been enshrined, these incredible individuals serve as inspiration for us all.”
Phoenix-based ESPN reporter and Baseball Writers Association of America member Pedro Gomez will emcee the evening of recognition for the five inductees.
World Series hero Gonzalez played eight seasons for the Arizona Diamondbacks and is still a part of the team as an assistant today. The five-time All-Star hit 224 home runs and 310 doubles for the D-backs and his No. 20 is now retired by the team. He played 1,194 games for Arizona and was third in the MVP voting in 2001, the same season his bloop single won the franchise its first title in just its fourth year of existence.
Barkley was only on the Phoenix Suns for four seasons, but he was a part of one of the best teams in the league. In 1992-93, his first season in the Valley, Barkley led Phoenix to its best-ever regular season record of 62-20 and an appearance in the NBA Finals. That season, he led the team with 25.6 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, was second on the team with 5.1 assists per game and was named the NBA MVP. He was elected to the NBA Hall of Fame in 2006 and is now a basketball analyst for TNT.
Fitzsimmons was a prominent figure in Phoenix in three separate decades. He began his coaching career in 1970 with the Suns and returned in 1988 where he won Coach of the Year honors. During his 21-year career, he won 832 games, including a 341-208 record in his eight years with the Suns. He passed away in 2004 from cancer.
Ammaccapane played golf at Arizona State, where she earned All-American first-team honors and was a NCAA National Champion in 1985. She earned seven LPGA tournament victories and represented the United States on the 1986 Curtis Cup team. She was inducted into ASU’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
Gilmartin is an award-winning sports writer and columnist and worked for the Phoenix Gazette for more than 30 years. He was also the very first Suns beat writer and broadcast analyst when the team was created in 1968. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 as the winner of the Curt Gowdy Media award.
The Hall of Fame ceremony is expected to start at 7 p.m. with a red carpet arrival of inductees at 5 p.m.