Hickok Belt

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 Stephen Rae Hickok, the founder of the Hickok Manufacturing Company of Rochester, New York, which made belts, hence the choice of a belt as a trophy.[1]

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,[2] and its presentation was a major event in sporting news of the day.[3]

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.[4] 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.[4] 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.[4]

Starting in 2012, the belt has been awarded based on a vote by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.[5] A 20-member panel chooses one athlete each month, with the twelve monthly winners eligible for the belt award at the end of the calendar year.[5] Three belts have now been awarded since 2012, two to Lebron James.


Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax was the award's only two-time winner prior to the awards revival in 2012
Year Winner Sport
1950 Rizzuto, PhilPhil RizzutoBaseball
1951 Reynolds, AllieAllie ReynoldsBaseball
1952 Marciano, RockyRocky MarcianoBoxing
1953 Hogan, BenBen HoganGolf
1954 Mays, WillieWillie MaysBaseball
1955 Graham, OttoOtto GrahamFootball
1956 Mantle, MickeyMickey MantleBaseball
1957 Basilio, CarmenCarmen BasilioBoxing
1958 Turley, BobBob TurleyBaseball
1959Johansson, IngemarIngemar JohanssonBoxing
1960 Palmer, ArnoldArnold PalmerGolf
1961 Maris, RogerRoger MarisBaseball
1962 Wills, MauryMaury WillsBaseball
1963 Koufax, SandySandy KoufaxBaseball
1964 Brown, JimJim BrownFootball
1965 Koufax, SandySandy Koufax (2)Baseball
1966 Robinson, FrankFrank RobinsonBaseball
1967 Yastrzemski, CarlCarl YastrzemskiBaseball
1968 Namath, JoeJoe NamathFootball
1969 Seaver, TomTom SeaverBaseball
1970 Robinson, BrooksBrooks RobinsonBaseball
1971 Trevino, LeeLee TrevinoGolf
1972 Carlton, SteveSteve CarltonBaseball
1973 Simpson, O. J.O. J. SimpsonFootball
1974 Ali, MuhammadMuhammad AliBoxing
1975 Rose, PetePete RoseBaseball
1976 Stabler, KenKen StablerFootball

Revived belt

LeBron James - a two-time Hickok Belt winner since the award's revival.
Year Winner Sport Monthly winners
2012 LeBron James Basketball
2013 LeBron James (2) Basketball
2014 Madison Bumgarner Baseball
2015 Stephen Curry Basketball
2016 TBD  


  1. Morrell, Alan (October 23, 2016). "Whatever Happened To ... the Hickok Belt". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, New York: Gannet Company. pp. 8A–9A. Archived from the original on October 24, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  2. "Hickok Award to Yankee Star". The Windsor Daily Star. Associated Press. January 22, 1957. p. 18. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  3. 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.
  4. 1 2 3 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.
  5. 1 2 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

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