The Helms Award has been presented annually to the most outstanding player of the Claxton Shield competition since 1962, with the exception of 1990-99, when the original Australian Baseball League presented its own Most Valuable Player Award. The award gets its name from the now-dissolved Helms Athletic Foundation, based in Los Angeles, California in the United States.
Paul Helms, who founded the foundation along with Bill Schroeder, was an American sports philanthropist whose foundation selected annual National Championship teams and presented All-America honours in college football and basketball, the two major American university sports. They also operated halls of fame for professional football, Major League Baseball, the Pacific Coast League (Minor League Baseball), basketball, golf, tennis, swimming, auto racing, and track and field.
The Helms Award in Australia was first presented to the Australian Baseball Council (now known as the Australian Baseball Federation) in honour of Ron Sharpe, one of Australia’s greatest baseballers who received the Helms Athletic Award in the United States in 1950 for his feats. The award is still known as the Ron Sharpe Trophy.
Sharpe was a 2005 inaugural inductee into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame and a 1986 inductee into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. He achieved great acclaim for his performances representing South Australia from 1921, when he was first selected to the state team at age 16, to 1946, when he retired after representing his state for 18 seasons. In addition to his playing career, Sharpe was a baseball reporter for the Adelaide News from 1923 to 1953 and also served as a coach and administrator.
The Helms Award has had many noteworthy recipients throughout its 50 years of existence, from Hall of Famers like Laurence Home and Alan Albury to Olympians Richard Vagg, Rod van Buizen, Craig Lewis and Brett Roneberg, to current ABL players such as Tim Kennelly, Darryl George, Aaron Whitefield and most recently Alex Hall.
|2023||Alex Hall||Perth Heat|
|2021||Darryl George||Melbourne Aces|
|2020||Aaron Whitefield||Adelaide Giants|
|2019||Tim Kennelly / Markus Solbach||Perth Heat / Adelaide Bite|
|2018||Jake Fraley||Perth Heat|
|2017||Aaron Whitefield||Brisbane Bandits|
|2016||Justin Williams||Brisbane Bandits|
|2015||Aaron Miller||Adelaide Bite|
|2014||Ryan Casteel||Melbourne Aces|
|2013||Adam Buschini||Canberra Cavalry|
|2012||Tim Kennelly||Perth Heat|
|2011||James McOwen||Adelaide Bite|
|2010||Wayne Lundgren||New South Wales|
|2009||Nick Kimpton||Perth Heat|
|2008||Clinton Balgera||Western Australia|
|2003||Craig Lewis||New South Wales|
|2002||Rodney Van Buizen||New South Wales|
|2000||Chris Snelling^||New South Wales|
|1999||Adam Burton*||Melbourne Reds|
|1998||Brendan Kingman*||Sydney Storm|
|1997||Andrew Scott*||Adelaide Giants|
|1996||Gary White*||Sydney Blues|
|1995||Scott Metcalf*||Perth Heat|
|1994||Homer Bush||Brisbane Bandits|
|1993||Kevin Jordan*||Brisbane Bandits|
|1992||Adrian Meagher*||Daikyo Dolphins|
|1991||David Nilsson*||Daikyo Dolphins|
|1990||Phil Dale*||Melbourne Reds|
|1988||Tony Adamson||Western Australia|
|1985||Tony Stall||Western Australia|
|1983||Doug Mateljan||Western Australia|
|1980||John Galloway||South Australia|
|1978||Ray Michell||Western Australia|
|1975||Larry Home||New South Wales|
|1973||David Mundy||South Australia|
|1972||Don Knapp||Western Australia|
|1970||Paul Russell||New South Wales|
|1969||Neil Page||South Australia|
|1967||Garry Thompson||South Australia|
|1966||Kevin Greatrex||South Australia|
|1964||Adrian Pearce||South Australia|
|1963||Kevin Cantwell||New South Wales|
|1962||Anthony Strand||New South Wales|
*During 1990-1999, previous administrations did not recognise ABL MVP winners as Helms Award winners.
^During 2000 and 2001, previous administrations did not recognise IBLA MVP winners as Helms Award winners.