Once the most coveted honor in American sports, the Hickok Belt™ Award is back, and the countdown begins today to the day when the first Hickok Belt since 1976 will be awarded following the 2012 seasons, to the best athlete in all of professional sports.
The Hickok Belt defined the careers of Sandy Koufax, Ban Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali and 21 other professional sports legends from 1950 to 1976, and beginning in 2012, with the backing of major supporters like the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and the Fergie Jenkins Foundation, it will do the same for today’s greats, and tomorrow’s. The countdow n to the naming of the next Hickok Belt winner began with the recent launch of the award website, HickokBelt.com, and a Kickoff “Comeback” Ceremony and Dinner is slated for October 16th, 2011 at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, where the sports world will celebrate the Belt’s rich past and look forward to a bright future.
Special guest attendees for the upcoming event will include Fergie Jenkins (former Chicago Cubs pitcher), Bob Turley (former New York Yankees pitcher), Meadowlark Lemon (former Harlem Globetrotter), Carmen Basilio (two time welterweight boxing champion), George Chuvalo (Boxing legend and Heavyweight Champion). On the entertainment front, Ali Al Sayed, a renowned comic from Dubai and the comedic correspondent of Abu Dhabi Sports TV Show “The Beautiful Game” will get the crowd going. Broadway veteran and award winning comedienne, Mina Liccione, will also perform and introduce some of the outstanding special guests throughout the evening.
Traditionally the award ceremonies have included comedy segments. The Dubai based Dubomedy and VIVA Arts Directors, Liccione and Al Sayed, have signed on as the entertainment providers for the Hickok Belt Award. “We are deeply honored to be able to contribute to this legendary sports award” said Al Sayed. “As a major fan of sports and comedy, this is a dream come true! I am looking forward to adding humor to the event as well as getting to meet some of the great athletes I admir e!”
When asked how sports and comedy connect, Liccione replied, “As the daughter of a boxing promoter, I can tell you that athletes need a great sense of humor in order to handle the amount of stress and strain they endure! We all need a good laugh to pull us through and to bring us closer. Two boxers may be enemies in the ring but can later be found cracking jokes with each other at events such as this as they are a celebration of accomplishment, and with accomplishment comes joy!”
The man and driving force behind bringing the Belt back is Tony Liccione. “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, said Tony Liccione, Founder and President of the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame. “In fact, it was bigger than all of them combined, because it honored the best professional athlete across all sports, not just in one.”
“An award like this is special, not only because it recognizes the feats of an athlete amongst his peers in his sport, but also the best of the best in all sports,” said baseball Hall-of-Famer, Fergie Jenkins. “It is something that represent s competition at its purest. It’s an award given to the best of the best of the best.
The winner will be chosen by the USA National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Tony Liccione said. Each month, a 20 voter panel, with four members each from North, South,East and West regions, will select a monthly winner. The 12 monthly winners will then comprise the candidates from which the full NSSA membership will select the annual Hickok Belt Award winner each year.
For more information please visit www.HickokBelt.com. The site 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.