Ron Rubenzer

Class of 2017

1st Baseman, Outfielder

Jim Falls Sturgeons 1986-90, 93-03; Cadott Red Sox 1991-92

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A left-handed slugger, Ron Rubenzer’s large stature and monstrous swing cut an imposing presence for Chippewa River Baseball League pitchers during his 18 seasons of league play.

As a young player, Ron entered the CRBL in a part-time role with the talented, successful, and veteran laden Jim Falls Sturgeons of the late 1990s.

Moving to the Cadott Red Sox in 1991, Rubenzer had a breakout campaign, getting named All-CRBL as an outfielder on the merits of his .397 average (23 for 58) to go along with 4 doubles, 3  home runs, and 11 RBI’s.

After one more season in Cadott, the Big Lefty returned to his hometown Sturgeons in 1993, which began an eight season run (1993-2000) in which he averaged over 4 home runs and 14 RBI’s while hitting a accumulative .325 (145 for 446).  Within that stretch, Ron had perhaps his finest season in 1994, when he hit .500 (26 for 52) with 4 doubles, 5 home runs, and 16 RBI’s in route to his second All-CRBL award as an outfielder.

Rubenzer’s performance in his last two seasons as a full-time CRBL player in 1999 and 2000 validates his reputation as a true masher.  In 1999, the Big Sturgeon tied for the CRBL lead in home runs with 7 while knocking in 26 run in 18 league games.  He followed that up in 2000 by hitting .411 (23 for 56) with 6 long balls and 22 RBI’s in another 18 game CRBL season.  In both years, Ron was named Honorable Mention All-CRBL.

Rubenzer was also a very durable and valuable pitcher for both Cadott and Jim Falls.  Logging 422 innings over his CRBL career, the left-handed thrower posted a league leading ERA of 2.66 in 1990 (7 ER in 22.2 IP) for the Sturgeons.  In six seasons, Rubenzer pitched over 40 league innings (1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999) and surpassed 50 innings twice – 54.1 in 1992 and 54 in 1997.

From 2001 to 2003, Ron circled back to a part-time player role with the Sturgeons before going on to finish his amateur baseball career with the Weyerhaeuser Black Hens of the Dairyland League, playing in to the late 2000s.

A participant in ten All-Star games (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), the thunderous power and towering home runs that Rubenzer regularly displayed make him one of the most prodigious power hitters in CRBL history.  Upon induction, Ron’s highest all-time rankings can be found in home runs (9th), slugging percentage (14th), RBI’s (33rd), and innings pitched (39th).

Andy Abrahamson

Class of 2016

1st Baseman

Bloomer Merchants 1980-86, 88-92; Bloomer Fightin’ Woodticks 1993-2007

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A left-handed stick with a compact swing, Andy Abrahamson embodied the elements of all great home town baseball players – skill, dedication, humility, and an intense want to play the game.

Competing for the Bloomer Merchants from 1980 to 1992 and then for the Bloomer Fightin’ Woodticks from 1995 to 2007, Andy began as a catcher before finishing the latter portion of his CRBL career as a first baseman.

Abrahamson’s 27 seasons of CRBL games were a picture of consistency brightly illuminated by the sheer quantity of his hitting accomplishments.  In nine seasons, Andy hit over .300 (1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2003, 2005).  Amidst those .300 efforts, the sure-handed 1st baseman tied the single-game CRBL record for doubles with 4, a mark he reached on June 13, 1992 in a 15 to 8 win vs. the Cadott Red Sox.  In two additional campaigns, the portside swinger eclipsed .400 twice in league play (.421 in 1990 and .435 in 1998).  The apex came in 1996 when Andy’s quick, contact geared stroke vaulted him above the rarified .500 barrier when he led the CRBL in hitting with a .531 average (26 for 49).  Included in those 26 hits was a league pacing 8 doubles to go along with two home runs and 19 RBI’s.  Abrahamson’s shining performance resulted in his recognition as an All-CRBL 1st baseman in that memorable 1996 season.

Over the course of his nearly three decades of CRBL competition, Andy was part of 12 WBA qualifiers in Bloomer – five times with the Merchants (1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987) and seven times with the Fightin’ Woodticks (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007).  In two of those appearances, (1987 and 2007), Andy’s productive bat and veteran leadership helped the Bloomer gang make it to the Final 8, where on both occasions they suffered tough, opening game losses.

A participant in seven CRBL All-Star games (1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2003), the impressive scope of Abrahamson’s CRBL career has him ranking among the elite in numerous offensive categories.  Upon induction, the Bloomer stalwart is ranked 5th in games

played, 5th in at-bats, 5th in singles, 6th in walks, (tied for) 8th in RBI’s, 8th in hits, 12th in runs scored, and 16th in total bases.

Jeremiah Paulson

Class of 2014

1st Baseman

Augusta Athletics 1993-2006

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Jeremiah Paulson’s 14 season tear through the CRBL was marked by booming homeruns, searing line drives, shell shocked opponents, and skittish pitchers.  Historically, the Augusta legend can unequivocally be viewed as one of the greatest players the Chippewa River Baseball League will ever have.

The 1993 addition of “Miah” to Augusta’s roster elevated the A’s line-up to a combustible level.  Hitting .406 with 4 doubles and 1 home run in 10 games, Paulson helped propel Augusta to their second straight South Division title and CRBL crown before losing 9-5 to Abbotsford in the WBA championship game.

In 1994, Paulson became a CRBL immortal when he won the hitter’s Triple Crown, batting .527 (29/59) with 11 homers and 30 RBI’s.  In doing so, Jeremiah became only the 6th player in CRBL history to accomplish the feat.  His 11 long balls also set a single-season record in that category that has since been equaled twice (Dusty Freitag in 1996 and Todd Lasher in 2012).  The Ruthian performance was the pillar of Augusta’s march to another South Division title and capturing of the WBA championship with an 8-4 victory vs. the Whittlesey Reds in the title bout.  It was the CRBL’s first WBA crown for a CRBL team since the 1953 Thorp Cardinals.

Paulson came back in 1995 to win another batting title with a .483 average while tying for the CRBL lead in hits with 28 in 58 at-bats.  Accentuated by his 8 long balls and 23 RBI’s, Miah’s presence again played an irreplaceable role in the A’s winning a fourth consecutive South Division title and the franchise’s third CRBL title belt.

One of only three players in league history to hit 4 home runs in a game, Paulson accomplished the feat on July 17, 1994 in Augusta’s 37 to 9 thumping of the Cadott Red Sox at Cadott.  In the same game, Jeremiah also had 6 hits, putting him in another exclusive club numbering only 13 CRBL hitters.

1995 was also the year Jeremiah gained national acclaim when as a junior at Northwest Missouri State he was featured in “Faces in the Crowd” of Sports Illustrated.  In the May 8, 1995 issue, Paulson was highlighted for his homerun barrage in a doubleheader vs. Southwest Baptist.  In the two games, he was 4 for 8 with 4 homeruns and 11 RBI’s.  In game number two, Paulson hit a homer in three consecutive at-bats, including a grand slam and 3-run home run in one inning.

From 1996 to 1998, the Big Lefty played intermittently for the Athletics as he became a full-timer for the Eau Claire Cavaliers.  Yet, in playing only 12 CRBL games in 1998 Paulson still managed to lead the league with 9 big flies.

In 2000, Miah returned to the CRBL full force, hitting .415 (27 for 65) while tying for the circuit lead with 10 home runs and pacing the circuit outright with 34 runs scored in 18 games.

The CRBL’s switch to wood bats in 2001 had little effect on Paulson’s offensive propensity.  Over his last six season’s in the CRBL, Miah averaged 5 home runs, 24 hits, 18 RBI’s, 16 runs scored, and an accumulative batting average of .414 (146 for 353).  For his entire 193 game CRBL career, he finished with per game averages of 1.19 RBI’s and 1.45 hits.

During his 14 league campaigns, Miah tied or led the league in offensive categories 17 times: once in runs scored (34 in 2000), twice in hits (28 in 1995 and 23 in 2001), twice in RBI’s (30 in 1994 and 20 in 2002), twice in walks (19 in 2003 and 19 in 2005), three times in batting average (.527 in 1994, .483 in 1995, and .468 in 2002), as well as a league record seven times in home runs (11 in 1994, 9 in 1998, 10 in 2000, 4 in 2001, 5 in 2002, 8 in 2004, and 5 in 2005).

A participant in five All-Star games, Paulson was named the game’s MVP in the 2000 contest hosted by Jim Falls.  In his standout performance, he was 3 for 4 with 5 RBI’s and hit a go ahead grand slam in the seventh inning that was the deciding margin in the South’s 8-4 win over the North.

Accordingly, the left-handed smasher was named All-CRBL seven times (1994, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), good for 7th all-time in the award’s existence.  Moreover, in two seasons (2001 and 2003) Jeremiah was named Honorable Mention All-CRBL.

Paulson departed from the CRBL gallery after the 2006 season, moving to the western part of the WBA map.  Starting in 2007, Miah began playing for the Ellsworth Hubbers of the St. Croix Valley League where he still continues to mercilessly destroy the offerings of opposing pitchers.

Upon induction, Paulson’s embedded all-time CRBL rankings include the prestigious top spots in both batting average and slugging percentage.  His additional high ranks can be found in home runs (2nd), total bases (8th), RBI’s (tied for 13th), runs scored (19th), doubles (20th), walks (tied for 25th), and hits (30th).

Dennis Lee

Class of 2014

1st Baseman

Augusta Athletics 1989-96

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The Augusta Athletics of the 1990’s had a memorable array of talented and fearsome players that collectively dominated the CRBL.  Amidst this accomplished and winning crew was 1st baseman Dennis “Denny” Lee, who is readily acknowledged by his Augusta brethren as the leader of the A’s rise to CRBL prominence.

Hitting from a simplistic upright stance, the right-handed swinging Lee brought immediate respect and awareness to the potency of Augusta’s line-up.  In the Athletics’ first CRBL season, Denny hit .321 (18 for 56) with 4 home runs and 17 RBI’s as the team went 9 and 7 while qualifying for the WBA gala from the South Division.  This would be the first of five consecutive seasons of hitting .300 or better, capped by his career best .446 average (29 for 65) in 1993.  His 65 at-bats and 29 runs scored that year both led the nine-team CRBL.  Denny also set personal highs in 1993 with 6 doubles and 6 home runs as he was deservedly recognized with an All-CRBL award.  Lee’s other league leading total came the previous year when his 26 RBI’s were tops in 1992. Despite his relatively short playing career in the CRBL, Denny is still tied for 35th all-time in long balls with 24.

The run production and leadership that Denny provided became crucial factors in the A’s noteworthy run of success in the CRBL and the WBA.  During the 1st baseman’s seven seasons of CRBL conflicts, Augusta won four South Division titles, three CRBL championships, qualified for seven WBA tournaments, played in four Final 8’s, and made it to two WBA  championship games, and winning the prized WBA championship in 1994.

With his time on Augusta dating back to the organization’s independent beginnings of the early 1980’s, Lee will forever be viewed as one of the town’s baseball giants.  Through his induction in to the Chippewa River Baseball League Hall of Fame, Dennis Lee rightfully takes his place as one the greats in the storied history of the CRBL.

Rich Woodford

Class of 2011

Pitcher, 1st Baseman

Cadott Red Sox 1969-74; Lafayette Indians 1969, 83-88; Lafayette Lakers 1976-83

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Difference makers from the mound and the plate are rare but sought after commodities in CRBL play.  Through 82 seasons of league history, roughly 25 players have excelled within these parameters.  Rich “Butch” Woodford was one of those players.

After getting his start as a part-time player for the Lafayette Indians and Cadott Red Sox in 1969, the wiry lefty led the CRBL with 3 triples in 1970 during his first year as a full-timer for Cadott.  Rich tied for the high mark in triples with 2 during a 1973 season in which he hit .310, his first .300+ effort.  Offensively, his other pace setting total came in 1976 with 4 doubles and in 1987 when he scorched a career best .519 (28 for 54) average to lead the CRBL for the 12 and 5 Lafayette Indians.  Woodford’s .331 career average was sculpted through eight seasons hitting over .300 (1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1983-1986), two seasons over .400 (1979, 1980) and the previously mentioned .519 in 1987.

In 1971, he also was a league leader, but this time from the mound with a 2.10 ERA (7 ER/30 IP) while winning 3 and losing 1 for the 11 and 6 Red Sox. 10 years later, Butch’s suffocating 0.58 ERA (2 ER/31 IP) in 1981 was also tops in the CRBL.  Had a career high 6 wins in 1982, helping the Lakers of Lafayette cap off three straight Final 8’s (1980-82).  Notched five sub-3.00 ERA seasons (1969, 1971, 1977, 1981, 1983).

Used primarily as a reliever and spot starter throughout his CRBL career, Butch logged a personal best 63 innings in 1976 during his first season with the Lakers.  In collecting 14 career saves, the southpaw tied for the league lead in this area with 1 in 1980 and led outright with 3 lockdowns in 1983 and 1986.

A competitive winner during his time in the CRBL, Woodford played on 16 winning squads (1970-1971, 1973-1974, 1976-1985, 1987, 1988), two .500 teams (1972, 1986), and only one losing squad (1977).  He was a member of one league champion (1973 Cadott Red Sox), three division champions (1973, 1985, 1988) 14 WBA qualifiers (1970-1974, 1977, 1979-1983, 1985, 1987, 1988), and four Final 8 clubs (1974, 1977, 1980, 1981).

A participant in six All-Star games (1973, 1980, 1981, 1983-1985), Butch was voted All-CRBL in 1974 for the Cadott Red Sox, 1979 as a Lafayette Laker, and 1987 as a Lafayette Indian.

Upon induction, the Lefty’s best all-time rankings can be found in saves (4th place), triples (4th place), and stolen bases (10th place).

John Harings

Class of 2010

Pitcher, 1st Baseman

Tilden Tigers 1946-54, 56, 58-59; Tilden Terrors 1960-61

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As part of a seemingly continuous line of memorable hurlers to take the field for Tilden, John Harings can be viewed as the first long-term standout from both the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box in CRBL history.

Establishing himself as a consummate innings eater, the right-handed Harings led the league with a career high 131.1 innings pitched in 1948.  In that same season, the righty also led the league with 11 wins and 155 strikeouts while posting a 3.29 ERA and earning a decision in each of Tilden’s 15 league games.

For the 13 and 1 North Division winning Tigers in 1950, Harings was the difference.  Striking out 124 batters in 112 innings, he led the league with 2 shutouts and 12 wins against just 1 defeat.  In 1951, he captured his lone ERA crown with a 2.63 mark, going 8 and 2 in 92.1 innings with 99 strikeouts for the 16 and 3 league runner-up Tigers.  This capped an iron man start to his career in which he averaged 8 wins, 102 innings pitched, and 107 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.41 ERA during his first six league seasons.  John’s other league leading totals came in saves three times (1946,1956,1958) and shutouts two more times (1947 and 1950).

With the bat, Harings hit over .300 in four of his fourteen seasons (1948,1949,1953,1961), with his career high of .391 (18 for 46) occurring in 1961.  In the process of logging 199 career hits, John led the league with 19 knocks in 1949, 3 homeruns in 1953, and tied for the league lead in doubles with 5 and triples with 2 in 1948.

Participated in two All-Star games (1950 and 1951).  One of the main cogs in Tilden‘s ascension to league dominance, Harings played on two division winners (1950 and 1960), one league champion (1949), and one WBA qualifier (1960).

Upon induction, John’s highest all-time rankings are that of 7th in innings pitched, 9th in wins, and 9th in strikeouts.  Offensively, Harings has the most 5-hit games in league history with 3.

Jeff Couey

Inaugural Class of 2009

1st Basemen, Pitcher

Cadott Red Sox 1972-73, 78-83

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Often recalled as the “Babe Ruth” of CRBL play, Jeff Couey was an imposing left-handed masher and a shut-down right-handed closer during his eight seasons for the Cadott Red Sox.

His first two years in the league were of modest beginnings, as he hit a combined .287 (25 for 87) with 1 homerun and 18 RBI’s.  As a pitcher in 1972 he threw only 6 innings, but in 1973 he emerged as a #1, going 4 and 0 with a 2.80 ERA in 35.1 innings and striking out 52 of the opposition.

In Cadott‘s 5-4 championship game win vs. the Jim Falls Sturgeons in 1973, Couey hit a key two-run double and struck out 15 in a complete game effort that should have served as a warning shot for what was to come.

After spending several seasons with the Eau Claire Cavaliers, Couey returned in 1978 to wreak havoc on league competition.  At the plate, he won the triple crown (.483 AVG, 6 HR, 26 RBI) and from the hill he was the ERA champ with a mark of 1.43 (5 ER/31.2 IP) while winning 4 games and losing 1.  In 1979, Couey became the first person in league history to win two triple crowns — and still is the only batter to claim them back to back — leading hitters with a .420 AVG, 8 HR, and 31 RBI.  He went on to lead the league in homeruns and RBI’s the next three years — 8 HR’s and a since broken league record of 38 RBI’s in 1980, 5 HR’s and 26 RBI’s in 1981, and 6 HR’s (tied) and 37 RBI’s in 1982.  Out of this five season rampage, Couey set league marks for most seasons as a home run leader (5), RBI leader (5), and most consecutive seasons leading in each category (5).

Also led the league in hits with 29 in 1979, and runs scored twice with 24 in 1978 and 25 in 1979.  The respect he was shown as a hitter was evident in that he led the league in walks four times — 18 in 1978, 20 in 1979, 18 (tied) in 1981, and 16 in 1982.  Received over one walk per game in his career.  Reportedly, he was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded.

From the bullpen, Couey acted as the late-inning hammer for the championship Cadott Red Sox teams.  In addition to winning the ERA title in 1978, Couey did the same in 1982 at 1.02 (9 ER/26.2 IP).  From his closing role, Jeff tied for the league lead in saves with 2 in 1979 and 1 in 1980, before setting a yet to be broken league record of 7 lockdowns in 1981.

During that 1978 to 1982 run, the Couey fueled Cadott Red Sox went an accumulative 81 and 9 in CRBL play, won four South Division crowns, three league championships, qualified for the WBA each year, and made the Final 8 in 1981.  His legend began to grow when he clubbed 3 homers and knocked in 5 runs during Cadott’s 8-2 South Division playoff win against the Lafayette Lakers in 1979 .  In Cadott’s 8-5 title loss vs. Tilden that year, he was walked 4 times, twice intentionally.  He hit 2 bombs against the Lafayette Lakers in Cadott’s 5-3 Southern Divison playoff victory in 1980, propelling the Sox to their first of three consecutive championships.  In five total championship games, he went 6 for 12 with a double, 2 homeruns, 10 base on balls, and 5 RBI’s while earning a save, a win, and whiffing 31 men in 18 innings of work with an ERA of 1.16.

Elected All-CRBL from 1978 to 1982.  Participated in three All-Star games (1973, 1980, 1981).  A full-time player in six of his eight league seasons, a longer stay would have enabled Couey to make even more immovable marks on the record books.  As it stands, his 37 homeruns rank him tied for 10th all-time while his save total of 12 puts him alone in 5th place.  Whatever his numbers may be, Jeff Couey indisputably etched his name as one of the more memorable players to ever don a uniform in the CRBL.

Ron Cronin

Inaugural Class of 2009

Pitcher, 1st Basemen

Bloomer Pines 1954-55,58-59,61-64,66; Tilden Tigers 1960; Lafayette Indians 1965

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Frequently described as “The Big Right-Hander”, Cronin used an unusual side-arm delivery to magnify a blazing fastball in forever making his mark as one of the premier strikeout pitchers in league history.

Racking up a remarkable 1,042 strikeouts in 764.1 innings, he was the “K King” when he retired, and his total still ranks 2nd all-time some 45 years after his last game.  Averaged over 12 strikeouts (12.27) per nine innings, the 3rd all-time highest mark.

Topped the 100 strikeout barrier in a season a league record six times, doing so in 1958 (144 K in 97.1 IP), 1960 (102 K in 96.1 IP), 1961 (143 K in 89.1 IP), 1962 (116 K in 85 IP), 1963 (153 K in 115.1 IP), and 1964 (108 K in 77.1 IP).  Led the Chippewa Valley League in punch-outs four of those years (1958, 1961-1963).  His streak of 5 seasons in a row (1960-1964) with over 100 strikeouts has never and may never matched.   Won 7 or more games six times, leading the league in that category three times (1960, 1962, 1963), with a high of 11 wins in 1963.  His career total of 59 wins still ranks 8th all-time.  Led the then Chippewa Valley League in innings pitched in 1960 and 1963.  Tied for the league lead in shutouts with 1 in 1955 and led the league with 2 in 1962.

Always a long-ball threat during his era, Cronin hit 2 homeruns in a season twice, leading the league with that total in 1963.  That same year, he also led the league with 13 RBI’s.

Played a major role on 4 division winners, helping to turn the tide for Bloomer (1958, 1961, 1963) and Tilden (1960).

Played in eight All-Star games (1955, 1958-1964).  Co-shares the single game league record for innings pitched with 16, doing so in a complete game, 4-1 loss to the Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports in 1958 during which he K’d 22 batters.

Larry Bowe

Inaugural Class of 2009

Pitcher, 1st Baseman

Lafayette Generals 1964; Lafayette Indians 1964-66, 68; Cadott Red Sox 1969-85

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Rarely mentioned as one of the league’s great pitchers, the right-handed throwing Bowe burst on to the league scene with the Lafayette Indians during the 1960’s, later turning into a consistent workhorse and veteran presence for the powerhouse Cadott teams of the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

After a modest but winning start to his career, 1969 saw Bowe blow up for 176 strikeouts in 129 innings, despite a 7 and 8 record to go along with a 3.07 ERA.

Larry jumped to the Cadott Red Sox in 1970, where he went 7 and 3 with a 2.70 ERA, 97 strikeouts, and 80 innings pitched while tying for the league lead in saves with 1 and shutouts with 2.  For the Sox in 1971, he racked up 140 K’s in 111.2 innings pitched while going 8 and 5 with a 3.22 ERA.

From 1968 to 1977, Bowe’s yearly averages were that of 6 wins, 74.1 innings pitched, 85 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.94.  The righty had an ERA under 3.00 seven times, with a low of 2.25 (4 ER/16 IP) in 1978.  Led the league or tied for the lead in saves four times, with a high of 2 in 1978.

Was a member of eight division winners, five league championship teams, sixteen WBA qualifiers, and three Final 8 teams while on the Cadott Red Sox.  Also won a division title and played in the WBA for the 1966 Lafayette Indians.  Individual highlight in these team accomplishments came in 1975 when he threw a complete game six-hitter in Cadott’s 5-2 championship game win vs. Tilden.

Upon induction, ranked 4th all-time in wins with 73, 4th all-time in innings pitched with 881.1, 3rd all-time in strikeouts with 987, and tied for 6th all-time in shutouts with 7.  Twirled the league’s 15th no-hitter in 1976 vs. Tilden, a 8-0 victory that marked the first time Tilden had been no-hit in their long, storied existence.

A full time player for 15 of his 21 years in the league, Larry gradually built up the offensive career totals of 221 hits, 149 RBI’s, and 175 runs scored in 939 at-bats.

Appearing in five All-Star games (1968,1970-1973), Bowe was named co-MVP of the 1973 contest in which he started and pitched 3 scoreless innings for the South in their 6 to 4 loss at Bloomer.  He was elected All-CRBL in 1972 and 1974, the only years in which that honor was awarded prior to it becoming a yearly tradition in 1978.