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Three Newark-bred star athletes and sports leaders will return for the 350th anniversary on July 27th

On Wednesday, July 27, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the Newark Public Library will host local author, historian, and former Star Ledger reporter Guy Sterling in conversation with notable Newarkers Rick Cerone, Larry Hazard and Li’za Donnell as part of its continuing series Newark Lifetimes: Recollections and Reflections.

Rick Cerone played basketball at Essex Catholic High School and Seton Hall University before becoming a Major League baseball catcher in 1975, playing for eight teams over his career, including the New York Yankees. He retired from playing in 1992 with a .245 batting average, 998 career hits and 59 home runs.

In 1998, Cerone founded the Newark Bears, a minor league team in the independent Atlantic League, which he sold in 2003.

Larry Hazzard was a three-time Golden Glove champion in the 1960s, while attending Central High School. He became a referee, an educator and school administrator, and has served twice as Commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. He is widely regarded as a leader and authority in the boxing industry: under his leadership, New Jersey was regarded as a major world boxing venue, and was recognized for having the most comprehensive rules, regulations and policies for enforcing safe, professional boxing.

Li’za Donnell played basketball at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School and Malcolm X Shabazz High School. She was a standout guard at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill leading the team with 50 steals as a freshman. She later played in the WNBA for the Washington Mystics, in the first year of the league.

All three speakers have been inducted into the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame: Cerone in 1989, Hazzard in 1991, and Donnell in 2007.

The program will be held in Centennial Hall on the second floor of the Main Library at 5 Washington Street, and is free and open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, please call 973-733-7793 or email