The S. Rae Hickok Belt—created by the family that founded Hickok Manufacturing Corp. in Rochester and awarded annually to the athlete voted as the best in professional sports—will be presented following the 2012 seasons for the first time since 1976, company representatives announced Monday.
A dinner is scheduled for Oct. 16 at St. John Fisher College to celebrate the history and return of the Hickok Belt, representatives said.
Anthony Liccione, founder and president of the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame, has led the campaign to restore the award, presented for the first time in 1950 and whose previous winners include Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Willie Mays, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Mickey Mantle.
Sandy Koufax, a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, is the only pro athlete to win twice, in 1963 and 1965. Ken Stabler, a quarterback with the Oakland Raiders, was the last to win the belt, in 1976.
“For 26 years, from 1950 to 1976, the Hickok Belt was the crown jewel of American sports, bigger than any MVP, bigger than a Lombardi, bigger than a World Series ring, bigger than a green jacket,” Liccione said in a statement.
“It was bigger than all of them combined because it honored the best professional athlete across all sports, not just in one.”
The 2012 Hickok Belt winner will be chosen by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, Liccione said. A 20-member panel from across the country will select monthly winners, with the 12 monthly winners eligible to be chosen by the full NSSA.
Details are available at www.HickokBelt.com.
(c) 2011 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.