Rudell Stitch Sportsmanship Award
On June 5, 1960, Stitch went fishing with Bud Bruner, his manager and trainer, Bruner's son, and Charles Oliver, a friend. They were fishing on a rock shelf below the McAlpine Locks and Dam in Louisville, Kentucky when Oliver slipped. He grabbed Stitch, and they both went into the Ohio River. As he was swimming back to shore, Stitch heard Oliver yelling and went back to get him. Stitch and Oliver, both weighed downed by heavy waders and coats, disappeared in the turbulent water. Their bodies were found by the Coast Guard hours later.
At the time of his death, Stitch was the NBA's third-ranked welterweight.
Stitch posthumously received a medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund. It was his second Carnegie Hero Fund medal. He received his first medal for saving a man two years earlier. On September 18, 1958, Joseph Schifcar, an Army Corps of Engineers worker, fell into the Ohio River and began to sink. Stitch, who was fishing below a dam, waded into the water and took hold of Schifcar. The current swept Stitch off his feet, but he maintained a strong hold on Schifcar. Stitch supported him at the surface as they drifted sixty-eight feet in water as much as six feet feet deep over submerged rocks. A young man then entered the water and aided Stitch in towing Schifcar to safety.
Stitch is one of only four people to receive two Carnegie Hero Fund medals.