ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Since 1970, the Missouri Athletic Club has held the “Jack Buck Awards,” the city’s premier sports banquet named after the legendary broadcaster. Today, the dinner remains strong. Sold-out year after year, reservations will begin next week for the Dec. 11, 2017 event… and are expected to go fast.
Also released to the MAC membership next week will be the five candidates on the ballot for “Sports Personality of the Year,” the top award of the night.
The list of past recipients reads like a St. Louis range of Mt. Rushmores… from Bob Gibson (1970), Whitey Herzog (1982), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1988), Brett Hull (1990) and Kurt Warner (2000) … to Vladimir Tarasenko (2016), who last year became the sixth Blues player to take the honor.
Here’s the 2017 ballot, keeping in mind that recipients can only win once:
Jake Allen, G, Blues. “Jake the Snake” carried the team at times… and then stole a first-round playoff series win over the Minnesota Wild. Allen finished with a 1.96 goals against average in the postseason.
Alex Pietrangelo, D, Blues. The captain of a young 2016-17 team, Pietrangelo took on an important role replacing David Backes, who signed with the Boston Bruins as a free agent. Once again leading the team in ice time, Pietrangelo played 80 games, scoring 14 goals to go along with 34 assists.
Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals. DeJong, promoted to the club on May 28, homered in his first major league at-bat on that date. And then he hit 23 more. DeJong currently leads the Cardinals with 25 home runs (and counting) and has taken control of the shortstop position for the foreseeable future.
Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals. After leading his native Puerto Rico to a silver medal in the World Baseball Classic, Molina returned to spring training and inked a three-year, $60 million extension that kept him as a Cardinal through 2020. Molina, an eight-time All-Star, homered for the NL and nearly picked up MVP honors. As for the 2017 season, he contributed brilliantly down the stretch, directing the pitching staff and delivering clutch hits to bring the Cardinals back into playoff contention.
Tommy Pham, OF, Cardinals. You could make the case that without the addition of Pham, the Cardinals would not have been in a position to make a late run at a playoff spot. Pham, who did not make the team out of spring training, made his impact felt immediately upon his call-up on May 5. He went 2-for-4 with a home run in a 10-0 win over the Braves… a springboard to a solid offensive season (through 9/29): .308 average, 23 home runs, 73 RBI and 25 stolen bases, making him the Cardinals’ first 20-20 performer since Reggie Sanders in 2004.
Who would you select as the 2017 “Sports Personality of the Year” in St. Louis?
For more information on the Jack Buck Awards and how to reserve a seat: http://www.mac-stl.org