By Andrew Wiley
When M.N. Rawlins became the first president of the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association in 1904, roads were unpaved, the Wright brothers had just gotten a plane into the air for 40 seconds and the newspaper was emperor of the information empire.
A lot has changed.
Streets have been paved, planes are now the safest way to travel and newspapers have been tossed aside for their flashier, younger cousin, the Internet.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the PSWA’s annual dinner banquet, commemorating the previous year’s Philadelphia sports standouts.
The 107th PSWA dinner was held Jan. 31 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ with more than 1,000 people in attendance.
The main award at each banquet is for professional athlete of the year. This year was no different, with 2010 National League Cy Young award recipient Roy Halladay being named the winner.
Halladay was not the only professional Philadelphia athlete to receive an award, however. He was joined by teammate Shane Victorino and 76er Elton Brand who received the Humanitarian of the Year award and the Good Guy of the Year award, respectively.
In one of the most memorable speeches of the night, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel claimed the best part of his evening was when he got to meet Matt Hoffman, a Rowan University football player who donated stem cells to a 58-year old man suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2009. Manuel’s speech was filled with some humor as well.
“I thank the PSWA for allowing me to speak, and quite frankly, I don’t think they could have chosen a better speaker,” Manuel quipped.