1970 S. Rae Hickok Belt Presented to Top Professional Athlete from The Brooks Robinson Collection. A strong argument could be made that the annual Hickok belt is the most prestigious in all professional sports, at least in terms of the competitive field. Whereas every other iconic symbol of supremacy--from the Heisman Trophy to the Cy Young Award to the various league MVP's--is confined to a single sport, the Hickok belt recognized no such boundaries, considering the totality of golf, boxing, tennis and the four major professional team sports. Honorees are the faces on the Mount Rushmore of American athletics: Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Rocky Marciano, Arnold Palmer, Sandy Koufax, Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali.

    In 1970, it was superstar Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson who joined that most discriminating brotherhood, following one of the greatest wire-to-wire seasons in American sports history. To his eleventh consecutive Gold Glove campaign in the hot corner, Robinson added hefty offensive production with ninety-four (94) runs batted in and over fifty extra base hits to help his Baltimore Orioles claim the American League East by a gaping fifteen-game margin.

    But as brilliant as his regular season production had been, his postseason heroics were borderline supernatural. Robinson led all Orioles with an eye-popping .583 batting average in the three-game ALCS sweep of the Minnesota Twins, then kept the offensive pedal to the metal with .429 in the Fall Classic, setting or matching records for total hits and total bases in a five-game Series. His defense was equally brilliant, causing losing Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson to lament, "I'm beginning to see Brooks in my sleep."

    In a long and brilliant career, the 1970 World Series was Robinson's greatest masterpiece.

    So it surprised nobody when the good folks at Hickok named Robinson as the 1970 honoree, presenting him with the belt proudly listed here. The massive relic approximates the appearance of a boxing championship model, with a figural athlete framed by text on the buckle that reads, "S. Rae Hickok Award, Professional Athlete, Brooks Robinson 1970." The small diamonds that spangled the sides have been replaced with zirconia, the originals commandeered for jewelry for the various members of the Robinson family. The three large stones at the figural athlete's feet are likewise non-precious, as issued.

    The buckle is attached to a huge alligator band and housed in a velvet-lined hinged wooden display case affixed with an engraved plaque reading, "S. Rae Hickok Award, 1970, Brooks Robinson." Case exhibits a degree of handling wear, but belt itself (other than the aforementioned stone replacements) is unchanged since the date of presentation. Letter of provenance from Brooks Robinson.

    Guide Value or Estimate: $20,000 - up.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    5th-7th Thursday-Saturday
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