A bit of our history…
Excerpts from two stories written by long-time PSWA treasurer Bob Kenney, and published in the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s hard-cover banquet program from our 100th anniversary on January 26, 2004:
“If the often-maligned Philly press corps has accomplished anything over the past century, it is the ability to throw a party. With a list of guests and honorees that reads like a ‘Who’s Who in American Sports,’ the annual banquet has become nationally known for its large dais honoring many athletes from both the colleges and professional teams.”
“It all began back on May 12, 1904 when a group of 43 writers got together in the Majestic Hotel, reportedly to talk about improving working conditions at the area sporting events. At some point in the session, one of the members raised a half-filled stein and suggested the writers hold a party to honor the top sports performers from the previous season.
“‘I’ll drink to that,’ a colleague shouted, and before long the idea developed into a plan. The sports writers of the Philadelphia area and their ‘most loyal fans in the country’ have been drinking together ever since.”
After the first PSWA dinner, in 1904, “A headline in the Public Ledger the next morning read: ‘The Sporting Writers Entertained and Their Guests Are Filled With Hot Air and Other Things.”
“This was a big event in the era of the horse and buggy, unpaved roads and just 45 states. It was two years before the invention of the radio tube and almost a half century before television. Newspapers were king.”
“When the writers’ association began in 1904, baseball was king, boxing was second best. Football was struggling to prove it wasn’t a ‘game for fools’ and basketball wasn’t even in the picture.”
“There were 10 daily newspapers in Philadelphia in 1903, selling for a penny a copy. Competition was stiff.”
Our illustrious list of nominees since 1905 include, but are not limited too…
- Babe Ruth, Jim Thome, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Mike Schmidt, Mike Trout, Roy Halladay, Brad Lidge, Connie Mack, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Tom Seaver, Tommy John, Ozzie Smith, Mike Piazza, Roy Campanella, Tug McGraw, Richie Ashburn, Tommy Lasorda, Shane Victorino, Rube Waddell, Mickey Cochrane, Tris Speaker, Lefty Grove, Dizzy Dean, Jim Piersall and Jim Abbott, Walter Johnson, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Happy Chandler, Mickey Vernon, Chuck Klein, Ford Frick, Branch Rickey, Jimmie Foxx and Ty Cobb.
- Brian Dawkins, LeSean McCoy, Chuck Bednarik, Ron Jaworski, Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin, Matt Ryan, Jon Runyan, Tyler Matakevich, Bill Bergey, Mark Herzlich, Keenan Reynolds, Tommy McDonald, Steve Van Buren, John Heisman, Rocky Bleier, Greasy Neale, Sid Gillman, Buck Shaw, Sheldon Brown, John Cappelletti, Jimmy Brown, Knute Rockne, Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, Bert Bell, Herschel Walker and Otto Graham.
- Allen Iverson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant, Moses Malone, Billy Cunningham, Bill Walton, Paul Arizin, Red Auerbach, Sonny Hill, Lou Carnesecca, Chuck Daly, Hal Greer, Harry Litwack, Jack Ramsay and Dolph Schayes.
- Ed Snider, Bernie Parent, Eric Lindros, Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Primeau, Bobby Clarke, Ron Hextall,Bill Barber, Gordie Howe, Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen, Simon Gagne, John LeClair, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr and Mark Howe.
- Jim Thorpe, Mark Spitz, Jesse Owens, Marty Liquori, ‘Babe’ Didrikson Zaharias and Carl Lewis.
- Jay Wright, Fran Dunphy, Geno Auriemma, Phil Martelli, John Chaney, Herb Magee, Tom Gola, John Giannini, Bo Ryan, Speedy Morris, Larry Brown, Harry Perretta, Cathy Rush, Theresa Shenk Grentz, Andy Reid, Dick Vermeil, Matt Rhule, Andy Talley and Charlie Manuel.
- Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Bernard Hopkins, George Foreman, Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Floyd Patterson, Evander Holyfield and Rocky Marciano.
- Billie Jean King.
- Carli Lloyd and Sébastien Le Toux.
- Byron Nelson, Jay Sigel, Terry-Jo Myers and Ben Hogan.
Two-time Triple Crown Winning Jockey Eddie Arcaro and Triple Crown Winner Julie Kronse.
- Howard Cosell, Steve Sabol, Harry Kalas, Richie Ashburn, Merrill Reese, Scott Franzke, Larry Andersen and Bill Campbell.