BY Steve Rudman 05:14PM 01/21/2011

The 76th Sports Star of the Year awards

A look at the nominees for Professional Athletes of the Year

The 76th annual Sports Star of the Year, presented by ROOT SPORTS™, will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle (200 University Street).

Launch as the “Man of the Year” banquet in 1935 by late Seattle Post-Intelligencer sports editor Royal Brougham, the show grew into the “P-I Sports Star of the Year” program in the early 1990s, when the newspaper began recognizing the area’s greatest male and female sports achievers.

Following closure in March 2009 of the print P-I, one of the region’s top sports traditions was in jeopardy of ceasing. But with the help of the Seattle Sports Commission and Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Sports Star of the Year celebrated its 75th year on the big stage at Benaroya Hall in 2009.  More than 1,000 people attended.

The current program calls for the selection by voters of the Professional Sports Star of the Year, the Male Sports Star of the Year, the Female Sports Star of the Year, and the Sports Story of the Year.

Professional Sports Star of the Year award nominees (nominees listed alphabetically):

Swin Cash, Storm / SCC Photo

SWIN CASH, Seattle Storm

A member of the Storm since 2008 and the 2009 WNBA All-Star MVP, Cash had another outstanding season in helping lead the franchise to the best record in the WNBA regular season and a sweep of the Atlanta Dream in the playoffs. In the regular campaign, the 6-1, three-time WNBA All-Star averaged 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds as the Storm went 28-6. Then she helped lead the Storm to their second league championship title (Seattle’s first since 2004) by averaging 16.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 steals in the postseason, in which the Storm went 7-0 and defeated Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta for the league title. An Associated Press All-American in 2002, when she was NCAA Final Four MVP while playing for Connecticut, Cash won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, and also took home a gold medal with Team USA at the 2010 FIBA Championship. She is a member of the Storm’s All-Decade Team. Note: Storm stars Sue Bird (2002) and Lauren Jackson (2003) are previous winners of the Star of the Year award. As such, they are ineligible to win again).

Tim Lincecum, Giants / SSC Photo

TIM LINCECUM, San Francisco Giants

A graduate of both Liberty High School and the University of Washington, Lincecum already holds the distinction of being the most decorated ex-Husky ever to play in the Major Leagues. A 2006 first-round draft choice by the Giants, Lincecum is already a three-time National League All-Star, a two-time Cy Young award winner, a two-time Sporting News Pitcher of the Year, a three-time strikeout champion, and a three-time NL leader in strikeouts-per-nine innings. Also the winner of the 2006 Golden Spikes Award while pitching for Washington, Lincecum capped his third full season in the majors by helping the Giants defeat the Texas Rangers in the World Series. He won Game 1, opposing former Mariner Cliff Lee, and followed up by beating Lee again in Game 5, the World Series clincher. Earlier in the playoffs, on Oct. 7, Lincecum fanned 14 Atlanta Braves in his first postseason appearance, establishing a Giants franchise record.

Fredy Montero, Seattle Sounders FC / SSC Photo

FREDY MONTERO, Seattle Sounders FC

The Sounders’ most accomplished offensive player, Montero holds practically every scoring record in the team’s brief franchise history. He followed a superb 2009 with another outstanding season in 2010, leading the club in nearly every statistical category, including goals with 10, assists (10), shots (91), shots on goal (34), fouls called (44) and fouls suffered (60). Montero was just one of two players to rank in the Top 10 in MLS goals and assists. Last July, MLS selected Montero as its Player of the Month after he scored two goals and recorded three assists in four weeks of league play. During the 2010 season, Montero scored four game-winning goals in MLS (six in all competitions) and added four game-winning assists. He was also ranked No. 1 in Major League Soccer’s “Top 24 under 24″ poll.

Lewis Ratcliff, Stealth / SCC Photo

LEWIS RATCLIFF, Washington Stealth

Ratcliff led the National Lacrosse League in scoring (46 goals) during the expansion franchise’s first season (2010) and then was named Reebok Most Valuable Player of the NLL Champion’s Cup game after he tallied five goals in Cup-clinching contest. Prior to joining the Stealth, Ratcliff had a decorated history in the National Lacrosse League. The 49th overall draft choice by the Calgary Roughnecks in 2001, Ratcliffe helped lead Calgary to the 2004 Champion’s Cup title, and in 2004 was the NLL’s All-Star Game Most Valuable Player after scoring four goals, including the game winner with 4.4 seconds remaining. In addition to playing for Calgary and Seattle, Ratcliffe has played with the Toronto Rock of the NLL and with the Victoria Shamrocks and Nanaimo Timbermen of the Western Lacrosse League. Born April 24, 1981 in London, England, Ratcliff holds dual citizenship in England and Canada.

Mike Williams, Seahawks / SCC Photo

MIKE WILLIAMS, Seattle Seahawks

A first round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, Williams effectively washed out of the league after three seasons (2005-07) in which he did next to nothing. After not playing in 2008 and 2009, Williams attempted a comeback in 2010 and, surprisingly, not only made the Seahawks roster, but became their primary receiver and a candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award. In his first season with the Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll, his college mentor at USC, Williams caught 65 passes for 751 yards and two touchdowns (regular season). In Seattle’s two postseason games, Williams snagged three touchdown passes, including a pair in Seattle’s 35-24 loss to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Divisional round. A huge target at 6-5 and 230 pounds, Williams reached double figures in receptions in three games, with a high of 11 on Oct. 24 against Arizona. In a subsequent game against the Cardinals (Nov. 24), he had a career-high 145 receiving yards.


Male Sports Star of the Year

  • J.R. Celski, USA Short Track Speedskating
  • Mason Foster, UW Football
  • Apolo Ohno, USA Short Track Speedskating
  • Quincy Pondexter, UW Basketball
  • Klay Thompson, WSU Basketball

Female Sports Star of the Year

  • Katie Follett, UW Cross Country/Track & Field
  • Jenna Hagglund, UW Volleyball
  • Ariana Kukors, USA Swimming
  • Jessica Pixler, SPU Cross Country/Track & Field
  • Karen Thatcher, USA Hockey

Sports Story of the Year

  • Washington Stealth, NLL Champions
  • Ichiro, 10th straight 200-hit season
  • Seattle Storm, WNBA champions
  • Auburn Little League
  • Felix Hernandez, AL Cy Young


  • riddleboy

    The Silva-Bradley swap was a crap shoot, or maybe a turkey shoot based on its outcome. The Cubs had the pleasure of Silva’s early season win streak in 2010 before canning him this season and the M’s got to witness the validation of eight MLB clubs’ opinions of Bradley.
    Did Z-man really think he was wiser than everyone else in baseball? Or did he think he could pull a rabbit from a truly empty hat? Or implant something in the vacuous hat holder atop Bradley’s neck? If so, he and Mike Holmgren should set up shop together.
    Fortunately, Bradley can be viewed in the rear view mirror. Now Z-man can get down to the business of building for the future. Whoops, forgot Figgins, Cust, Kennedy, Ja. Wilson and probably several other retreads.
    Another possibility is that Nintendo’s financial losses and current M’s attendance might force the reclusive Japanese owner to sell the club to a knowledgeable individual or group which would shred the Lincoln-Armstrong management script, thus giving Z-man the latitude to build real major league team in Seattle.
    Ah, hope springs eternal in the human breast.

  • Alex

    Milton Bradley was released because he sucked at baseball and is not part of the the team’s future. He was not released for being a malcontent.

  • Michael Kaiser

    I agree.

  • Michael Kaiser

    By the way, I “agree” with Art.  As for Cust, take away his walks–something you really are not looking for from your DH, although things are changing a bit with regard to DH expectations–and he would be borderline worthless.

    • Alex Ferri

      That’s like saying, “Take away Jose Bautista’s home runs and he would be borderline worthless.” 

      OBP is a big part of what makes Cust valuable– you can’t just disregard them. Also, a .457 slugging in May is pretty good considering offense is at a 20 year low.

  • Randy

    Regarding Casto,  Is the team rule not to smoke pot or not to get caught?

  • Cruddly

    I don’t know what you guys were expecting this year.  I guess that fluke playoff run last year raised everyone’s expectations — everyone except Carrol and Schneider, they knew better and blew up the roster.  Since then we have seen great improvement in many positions, except the most crucial, quarterback.  And this huge flaw could eventually bring this franchise down if something isn’t done about it. 
    That huge problem aside, I love seeing the Seahawks finally emphasizing  defense and giving  the 12th man something to make some noise about. There is just something cool about having a team known for its defense, even in this age of the elite quarterbacks.
    Nobody likes losing, but to suddenly accuse this franchise of going in the wrong direction is just short sighted.  Everyone agrees that even the much maligned and rookie laden offensive line showed improvement in the losing effort against Dallas by not giving up a sack, and by allowing Lynch to run for over 100 yards.  
    Okay, so they aren’t going to the Super Bowl this year.  Relax, the Mariners are just around the corner.

  • zippy

    right on for the offense- bu why does every story ignore significant progress on the defense– half the game, right?
    they find an elite slinger in the draft (seahawks have never had one) and they are right back in the mix. There likley is a franchise QB somewhere in the draft other than Luck- the trick is to figure out who that will be– I’m thinking Foles.

  • thxNJ7Z

    As for the roster rebuilding, I remember Sonic fans crying foul over Sam Presti’s demolition and rebuilding “the’re ruining the team on purpose so they can get out of town!” – No, they had a plan, and now the Thunder are a playoff calliber team. The Seahawks are on the same path, we will just have to wait and see if they get simmilar results. As for the coaching, young teams make mistakes, but the lack of apparent discipline is concerning.

  • Jeff Shope

    Can’t blame this mess on Ruskell anymore

  • Jeff Shope

    The vast majority of Schneider’s transactions have been to raise the baseline level of talent- dcrockett  u mean like at QB?  Trojanman and Bo Duke gave up how much again for clipboard jesus who can’t beat out Tjack who is the worst so called starter in the NFL? 

  • Brett

    Wow.  You’re talking about the best pitcher in the American League (better than Lincecum by the way).  If Felix doesn’t have intensity and a great work ethic, then nobody in Major League Baseball does.  What an absurd comment. 

  • Michael Kaiser

    People have been talking about Felix’s lack of maturity since day one, and given his age and lack of education, that is par for the course.  His inability to put teamates’ errors behind him, his tendency to take a host of things too personally, and a lack of sustained focus are all things people have noticed.  All also are hallmarks of a lack of maturity.  And as for Felix’s one–and almost by default at that, although that is beside the point–Cy Young overshadowing Lincecum’s sustained excellence over the course of several years and Cy Young’s, you are probably one of few that would take Felix over Lincecum if you had to win just one big game.  And, oh ya, Lincecum also has to focus on hitting.

  • Brett

    Agreed.  Cust is fine.  LF and 3B are the real problems.