George W. Kirchner — just "Kirchner" to many — began his Lancaster New Era career as a paper carrier in 1921. He had no idea his name would become representative of "the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a local sports figure," as Sunday News sports editor Bill Fisher wrote of his friend in 1987. But during his 1929-1965 tenture as the New Era's sports editor, Kirchner solidified a tremendous influence on the Lancaster sports scene by virtue of his writing and his activities in the community, like found the New Era (now LNP) Tournament in youth baseball.
Kirchner, who died at age 57 in 1965, and George Crudden organized the inaugural Lancaster Sportswriters Banquet in 1952, with the idea of lauding an area sports figure for his or her "outstanding lifetime contribution in sports." That year, the first winner was Charles "Uncle Charley" Mayser, the longtime wrestling coach and AD at Franklin & Marshall. Since then, 68 individuals have gotten the nod, including Kirchner himself, posthumously in 1966, the same year the award was renamed in his honor.