A little less than four months after Jonathan Ogden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the lineman who was the Ravens' first-ever draft pick in 1996 will return to Baltimore to give another podium speech.
The Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation will induct Ogden into its Hall of Legends during the foundation's annual gala on Saturday, where the former left tackle will become the first Ravens player to take a place next to such heralded Baltimore sports figures as Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Art Modell and Brooks Robinson.
It will be a busy weekend for Ogden, who is also set to receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring during a halftime ceremony when the Ravens host the New York Jets Sunday. It will be the latest in a series of honors for Ogden, who was named to 11 straight Pro Bowls and won Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens.
"Not only was Jonathan an exceptional player, he was instrumental in re-establishing Baltimore's proud football tradition," said Mike Gibbons, executive director of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, in a statement. "It seems fitting to induct the legendary J.O. into our Hall of Legends."
The Foundation will award Ogden a plaque, as well as a permanent place in the Sports Legends Museum. He will be welcomed to the Hall of Legends by former Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams. Former Baltimore Colts running back Lenny Moore and Robinson, the Oriole third baseman, will also be present.
Ogden played for St. Albans while growing up in Washington D.C. and — after playing his college ball at UCLA — returned to the region as a first-round draft pick for the Ravens, who had moved from Cleveland. He became a fan favorite while developing into the pre-eminent left tackle in the league, and establishing charitable roots in Baltimore.
He created the Jonathan Ogden Foundation when he arrived in 1996, to assist young people in disadvantaged communities. The Foundation formed the Jonathan Ogden Club, which has helped more than 400 high school seniors in SAT/ACT prep and college selection. Of those students, 100 percent have graduated on time and 84 percent enrolled in an institution of higher education.
"Growing up just outside of Maryland, I was able to watch and learn from so many great professional athletes before me," Ogden said in a statement. "I am honored to be inducted into the Hall of Legends and excited to join an elite class of members who have not only made an impact in their respected professions, but who have given the city of Baltimore and state of Maryland so much to be proud of."
Longtime Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said it was remarkable that two Ravens stalwarts — linebacker Ray Lewis was selected with the 26th pick — came in the franchise's first draft.
"To think that they joined us the same day in our first draft and both became standard bearers at their positions is pretty remarkable," Newsome said in an email. "During Jon's career, no player in the NFL played his position as well as Jon did his. He was dominant in every way."
While autographs will not be allowed, guests will be able to take a picture with Ogden in his gold jacket and Pro Football Hall of Fame bust. The evening includes a seated dinner, open bar, auctions and a commemorative program called "Jonathan Ogden: Baltimore's First Raven — A Legendary Tribute."
The Hall of Fame bust will also be available to the general public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, when fans can take pictures with it at the Sports Legends Museum for the price of admission. It is the only time that the bust will be taken from its place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
What: Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation Annual Gala
When: Saturday, Nov. 23 – 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Rd, Windsor Mill, MD 21244
Cost: $175 individual, $1,500 table for 10. Tickets are still available.
Contact: Ashley Serano, 443-277-6145Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun