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, 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, 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
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, 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, 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
Female Sports Star of the Year
Sports Story of the Year