The prestigious Hickok BeltTM Award Kicks Off – Announcing the Belt’s return after 36 years at the Comeback Dinner on Oct 16, 2011

ROCHESTER, NY – The return of the most coveted honor in American sports, the Hickok Belt Award has been a highly anticipated event for last 36 years. An award with such prestige in the sports world was destined to make a comeback. And on October 16, 2011, the wait was over.

Past belt winners and other honored guests gathered together at the Kickoff Comeback Dinner on Sunday October 16, at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. Attendees celebrated the Belt’s rich past and looked ahead at the bright future, as the search for the best athlete in all of professional sports begins in January 2012.

The evening featured a rare appearance by former world middle and welterweight champion Carmen Basilio. At age 84, Carmen delighted the crowd with his presence, signing autographs, posing for photos and offering his quick wit to the many who came to see the legendary champ and 1957 Hickok Belt Award winner.

Also to take the stage was the great Yankee pitcher “Bullet” Bob Turley who shared memories of the Hickok Belt Award ceremony in 1958 and some exhilarating stories from his days as a member of the New York Yankees during their exciting World Series run in the ‘50s.

With the backing of major supporters like the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and the Fergie Jenkins Foundation, the belt became a reality. President of the Fergie Jenkins Foundation, Carl Kovacs and Dave Goren, president of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, both spoke at the dinner, expressed their excitement regarding the return of the Hickok Belt Award and their commitment in partnering to promote its success in the years ahead.

The man behind the comeback, Tony Liccione has worked very hard to make the Belt a national success. As the night’s master of ceremonies, he presented a video of the Hickok Belt Award’s history that included exclusive interviews with past winners including Tom Seaver (’69), Carl Yaztremski (’67) and the late Mickey Mantle (’56).

Also seated at the head table along with Basilio and Turley was Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, San Francisco Giant and World Series Winner, Johnny Antonelli and former heavyweight, George Chuvalo.

The countdown to the naming of the 2012 Hickok Belt Award winner does not stop here. Much like the first 26 Belts awarded, the 2012 winner will be chosen by a national panel of esteemed sportswriters, assembled by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. 

Each month, starting in January 2012, a select 20 voter panel, with four members each from North, South, East and West regions, will select a monthly winner. Excitement will build throughout 2012 as each monthly winner is announced, leading up to the vote for the first annual winner in 36 years. The full NSSA membership of over 700 sportscasters and writers from across the country will select the Hickok Belt recipients from the 12 monthly winners.

To learn more about the monthly winners make sure to visit our website, www.HickokBelt.com. The site also features details on past Hickok Belt winners and the rich history of the Belt itself that any professional sports fan who loves sports history and the legends of the games won’t want to miss.