When Hawks star midfielder Tom Mitchell won his third Peter Crimmins Medal in 2021, he joined the ranks of players to have won three or more best and fairest Awards, the club’s most prestigious award.
Mitchell’s success is now recognised in the best and fairest cabinet, a centrepiece of the Hawthorn Story as seen in the Hawks Museum.
Last year’s award marks Mitchell’s third Peter Crimmins Medal, having won the accolade in his debut year in 2017. His second came in his Brownlow winning season of 2018.
A short history of the Best & Fairest Award
Recent research has confirmed that when the Hawthorn Football Club joined the VFL/AFL in 1925, the award retained the title of ‘Best All-Rounder’, first introduced in 1902 when the club played in the Metropolitan Junior Football Association.
The title of the award changed to the best and fairest in 1929, when Ernest ‘Tich’ Utting won the award. The winner was decided by player vote until 1932, when the club’s committee took over the role. The coaching staff now awards the votes.
Leo Murphy was the first player to win the best and fairest award back-to-back, in 1936-1937.
Club legend, Leigh Matthews leads the count having won the best and fairest a record eight times - 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982.
The 2012 Brownlow Medallist and current Coach Sam Mitchell has won five Crimmins Medals, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 and in 2016, his last season with the Hawks.
Club legends, John Kennedy Snr (1950, 1951, 1952 and 1954) and Jason Dunstall (1988, 1989, 1992 and 1993), winning on four occasions. This tally was also reached by 1999 Brownlow Medallist, Shane Crawford (1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003).
Tom Mitchell joins the Mayblooms star from the 1930s, Albert Mills (1933, 1935 and 1939), Club Legend Graham Arthur (1955, 1958 and 1962) and the 1961 Premiership star, Ian Law (1961, 1962 and 1964).
The irrepressible club legend, Michael Tuck, who won seven premierships, four as captain, showed his value as a player placing nine-times in the best and fairest, coming second seven times and third, twice.
Another consistent performer was the very popular player from the 1950s, Roy Simmonds. He finished in the top three in seven consecutive seasons. He won this prestigious award in 1956. He came second three times and third on three occasions.
There have been four name changes of Hawthorn’s Prestigious Award
Initially known as the best all-rounder, 1902–1928, and then the best and fairest 1929–1984. A subtitle was added in 1976, when Leigh Matthews won the fourth of his eight best and fairest awards, with ’Peter Crimmins Perpetual Trophy’ being added to honour former captain, Peter Crimmins, who tragically died from cancer two days after the 1976 Premiership.
In 1985, when Dermott Brereton won the award, the title of the award was changed to club champion, retaining the subtitle, the Peter Crimmins Perpetual Trophy.
The award was renamed the Peter Crimmins Medal in 2004, with Peter Everitt the first recipient.
Players who have won the Best & Fairest twice
Stan Spinks 1932, 1938, Leo Murphy 1936, 1937, Alec Albiston 1941, 1946, Bob Keddie 1967, 1969, Peter Hudson 1968, 1970, Peter Knights 1975, 1978 (tied with Leigh Matthews), Terry Wallace 1981, 1983, John Platten 1987, 1994, Paul Salmond 1996, 1997 and Luke Hodge 2005, 2010.
The search continues
The Hawks Museum is still searching for who may have won the award in 1926 and 1931.
If anyone can shed any light, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Intending to visit the Hawk Museum? Please contact the Museum directly. We are undergoing a major review of the club collection and may be closed on certain days.