Hickok Belt

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The S. Rae Hickok Professional Athlete of the Year award, known as the Hickok Belt, was a trophy awarded for 27 years to the top professional athlete of the year in the United States. It was created in honor of the founder of the Hickok Manufacturing Company of Rochester, New York, which made belts, hence the choice of a belt as a trophy.

The trophy was an alligator-skin belt with a solid gold buckle, an encrusted 4 carat (800 mg) diamond, and 26 gem chips. It was valued at over $10,000 in the currency of the time,[1] and its presentation was a major event in sporting news of the day.[2]

For the first 21 years, from 1950 to 1970, it was awarded in Rochester at the annual Rochester Press-Radio Club dinner (an event that continues today). After the Hickok company was taken over by the Tandy Corporation, the award was presented in larger cities such as Chicago or New York. The last award was made in 1976.

In 2010, Tony Liccione, the president of the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame, announced plans to reinstate the Hickok Belt starting in 2012.[3] The mold used for the belt starting in 1951 (the 1950 belt spelled Mr. Hickok's name as "Ray") has been found and will likely be used again.[3] Liccione plans to invite the 18 surviving belt winners (except O.J. Simpson, who is incarcerated in Nevada) to a banquet in September 2011, followed by the first new presentation of the belt in 2012.[3]

Starting in 2012, the plan is for the belt to be awarded based on a vote by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.[4] A 20-member panel will choose one athlete each month, with the twelve monthly winners eligible for the belt award at the end of the baseball season.[4]

Winners[edit]

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax was the award's only two-time winner
Year Winner Sport
1950 Rizzuto, PhilPhil Rizzuto Baseball
1951 Reynolds, AllieAllie Reynolds Baseball
1952 Marciano, RockyRocky Marciano Boxing
1953 Hogan, BenBen Hogan Golf
1954 Mays, WillieWillie Mays Baseball
1955 Graham, OttoOtto Graham Football
1956 Mantle, MickeyMickey Mantle Baseball
1957 Basilio, CarmenCarmen Basilio Boxing
1958 Turley, BobBob Turley Baseball
1959 Johansson, IngemarIngemar Johansson Boxing
1960 Palmer, ArnoldArnold Palmer Golf
1961 Maris, RogerRoger Maris Baseball
1962 Wills, MauryMaury Wills Baseball
1963 Koufax, SandySandy Koufax Baseball
1964 Brown, JimJim Brown Football
1965 Koufax, SandySandy Koufax (2) Baseball
1966 Robinson, FrankFrank Robinson Baseball
1967 Yastrzemski, CarlCarl Yastrzemski Baseball
1968 Namath, JoeJoe Namath Football
1969 Seaver, TomTom Seaver Baseball
1970 Robinson, BrooksBrooks Robinson Baseball
1971 Trevino, LeeLee Trevino Golf
1972 Carlton, SteveSteve Carlton Baseball
1973 Simpson, O. J.O. J. Simpson Football
1974 Ali, MuhammadMuhammad Ali Boxing
1975 Rose, PetePete Rose Baseball
1976 Stabler, KenKen Stabler Football

Revived belt[edit]

Year Winner Sport Monthly winners
2012 LeBron James Basketball
2013 LeBron James Basketball
2014 TBD  

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hickok Award to Yankee Star". The Windsor Daily Star. Associated Press. January 22, 1957. p. 18. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ Matthews, Bob (October 12, 2010). "Hickok Belt is returning to Rochester". Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York). Gannett Company. pp. 1A,4A. Archived from the original on October 14, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Bradley, Steve (October 13, 2010). "Hickok Belt mold to be used again". Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York). Gannett Company. pp. 1D,2D. Archived from the original on October 14, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Adams, Thomas (September 19, 2011). "Efforts underway to bring back the Hickok Belt". Rochester Business Journal (Rochester, New York). Archived from the original on September 19, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 

External reference[edit]