By Kevin Ticen
Sports town or not a sports town? Too often that seems to be the question. Allow me to go out on a limb and put it in writing: Great sports town!
Yes, it is true that the Sonics and Storm are the only Seattle franchises to win championships but to define the sportiness of a community based solely on the amount of championships won is akin to valuing a hitter in baseball solely based on the amount of home runs hit. A nice stat for sure, but hardly what defines a great hitter.
To me, the greatness of our community is demonstrated by the amazing talent that we produce. Did you know the state of Washington is 13th in population yet has produced the seventh most draft picks in the history of the Major League Baseball draft? How about that a swimmer or diver from Washington state has competed in every Olympics dating back to 1968 except 1996 and the boycott year of 1980? How about that we produced the fifth most draft picks last decade in the NBA? You get the picture.
Do you want to know what else makes us great? A long standing tradition that we have to celebrate and honor our sport stars, the MTR Western Sports Star of the Year show. From our favorite Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics to homegrown legends such as Kasey Keller, Michelle Akers, Ryan Moore, Brandon Roy, Hope Solo, Apolo Ohno and Tim Lincecum, our community has had much to celebrate.
The 78th edition takes place at 7:30 on Friday, January 25th at Benaroya Hall. The reception begins in the Boeing Gallery at 5:30 and is your chance to mix and mingle with former award winners, nominees and many of our community’s biggest celebrities. Tickets to the event can be purchased through the Benaroya Box Office or online here.
In the year that we celebrate the golden anniversary of former Sports Star Jim Whittaker’s monumental achievement of becoming the first American to summit Mt. Everest, we look back at the success of our athletes over the past year. This includes athletes such as Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian becoming the first American in 24 years to win Olympic gold in the 100 free and Oak Harbor’s Marti Malloy becoming only the second US woman to ever win an Olympic medal in judo. Or how about performances such as coxswain Mary Whipple continuing her amazing six year unbeaten streak by winning her second Olympic gold or Chris Williams ranking as the #1 amateur golfer in the world. Needless to say, it has been another special year for our athletes.
I invite you to take a moment and tell us who you think is the greatest Washington athlete of all-time. Is it the man that summited Everest first, an Olympic gold medalist, a basketball Hall of Famer, a two-time Cy Young winner or perhaps that greatest goalie in the world?
Me? That’s easy: Bill Hutchinson. He is considered one of the greatest Husky baseball players and founded the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. If you can smash a fastball and revolutionize cancer care, you get my vote.