The below table was researched by Rhett Bartlett and Trevor Ruddell (MCC Deputy Librarian).
The earliest published list of Richmond’s Best and Fairest winners appeared in the club’s 1969 annual report.
This list stretched back only as far as 1940. The listings after this year may be regarded as very reliable. They were probably based on annual inscriptions on a perpetual trophy or a honor board.
In 1941 the perpetual Vic Thorp Shield was inaugurated and the name of Richmond’s Best and Fairest Player was inscribed on it until 1954.
From 1955 Richmond’s Best and Fairest winners were no longer inscribed on the shield (which was full) but written on the Harry Dyke Honour Board. Therefore, there is an unbroken list of Best and Fairest winners from the beginning of the 1940s.
This list is corroborated by contemporary accounts of the award winners in Richmond’s annual reports and the press. Therefore, there was no issue regarding current list of Best and Fairest from the 1940s onwards.
Richmond’s annual reports from 1969 until 1987 listed Best and Fairest winners only as far back as 1940 (this was corroborated in VFL publications).
In Richmond's 1988 Annual Report, the Best and Fairest list was extended back to 1921 .
In Richmond’s 1993 Annual Report the list was extended further back still to 1911.
Not one of those additions were supported by evidence, nor presented to the Board or any committee at that time.
They were simply added into the table without review.
(As the removal of Dyer's 1932 B+F award gained notable press report, its important to remember that :
It wasn't until the 1988 Annual Report that Dyer was first labelled as receiving the 1932 B+F. The evidence used to report that inclusion was misinterpreted. It included a reference in the 1932 Annual Report which states: "The handsome cup presented by Hoyts Cinema Theatre, Bridge Road was won by J. Dyer. The Burnley Theatre Cup was won by the Captain, P. Bentley. Both players richly deserved the honor bestowed on them" Those awards were simply a popular player award, and are not identified in any club documentation as a club Best and Fairest.
The minute book makes no mention of a Best and Fairest, nor does the Annual Report.
In 2000 research began on the Best and Fairest list history, by Trevor Ruddell (MCC Asst. Librarian), Roland Weeks (Museum Curator), and Rhett Bartlett (Historical Committee member).
Over the next 19 years this research was reviewed by former RFC president Leon Daphne, then Museum curator Ron Reiffel, and members of the Historical Committee.
An overview presentation was made to the RFC Board, who then requested all the evidence to be submitted to the Historical chairman. The chairman reviewed all the evidence, and continued to engage with relatives of all players affected. The chairman's review was then presented to the Board who reviewed the evidence and on November 29, 2019 - the club released a statement advising of the Best and Fairest historical changes.
As a result, the following entries were removed:
1911 Bill Mahoney, 1913 Charlie Ricketts, 1914 Sid Reeves, 1916 Arthur Bettles, 1917 Vic Thorp, 1918 Barney Herbert, 1919 Barney Herbert, 1920 Dan Minogue, 1921 Hughie James, 1922 Mel Morris, 1923 Hugh James, 1924 Vic Thorp, 1925 Tom O'Halloran, 1926 Alan Geddes, 1932 Jack Dyer, 1933 Maurie Hunter, 1934 Ray Martin, and 1936 Martin Bolger.
In 1964, the Best and Fairest Medal was named The Jack Dyer Medal.
Currently, the runner-up medallions are named: Jack Titus Medal (2nd), Maurie Fleming Medal (3rd), Fred Swift Medal (4th), Kevin Bartlett Medal (5th).
Important official sources of information of the era include Richmond Football Club’s annual reports and minute books which have been thoroughly examined. The inscriptions on cups and trophies held by the Richmond Football Club Museum have also been consulted.
Chief among the independent primary sources were local newspapers such as The Richmond Guardian, The Richmond Australian and The Richmond Chronicle. These papers have been thoroughly examined as were Melbourne’s sporting and football journals of the era such as The Richmond Football News, The Football Record, The Sporting Globe, The Sport, and The Winner. Daily metropolitan newspapers were consulted as were yearly football magazines and annuals.
This below table only lists those players who received an awarded titled 'Best and Fairest'
There were other yearly awards (ie: Best All-round, Consistent Play, Best Player), and they are noted in the fourth column.
Example of Voting changes over the years
In 1929, votes were recorded by the opposing captains, in 16 matches. The Interstate and final games not being included.
In 1943, New system inaugurated - 3 non-playing selectors cast votes for best 5 players each game
In 1945, 3 non playing selectors picked best 5 each week.
In 1950, the three non-playing members of the selection committee vote. Five players earn votes for each game.
In 1957 'Richmond awards 15 votes for its best and fairest award each week and Wright averaged 11 votes in each game he played' (The Age)
In 1967 5,4,3,2,1 votes were given for each game by selectors R Dickinson, Basil McCormack, and Jack Titus. The winner was announced at Family Day at Richmond ground
In 1968 - votes were given by non-playing selectors.
The 1974 Best and Fairest votes were counted at a supporter's day at Mornington Racecourse Nov 3 1974
1976 - 5,4,3,2,1 system.
In 1986 - 5,4,3,2,1 system. Votes by 5 members of selection committee
In 2008 five members of match committee cast votes for each of the team's 22 players. Players can receive zero to five votes from each coach (the most being 25 for a match).
In 2015 , all the team's players on match day receive a rating from 0-5 (a joint match committee decision). Votes are not allocated for what the match committee deems as below-average performance.
From 2017, all of the team’s players on match day receive a rating from 0-5 (a joint match committee decision) based on their overall performance. The match committee assessed each player’s offensive, defensive, and contest impacts on the game.
Votes are not allocated for what the match committee deems a below-average performance. The club includes Finals matches in its voting.
Most B+F wins: 5x Jack Dyer (1937-1940, 1946) , 5x Kevin Bartlett (1967-68, 73-74, 77)
Most consecutive wins: 4 x Jack Dyer (1937-1940), 3x Ron Branton (1960-1962)
First B+F win: 'Basil McCormack 1927''
Most top 3 finishes: Kevin Bartlett (8 times), Wayne Campbell (8 times), Francis Bourke (7 times), Dustin Martin (7 times)
(note that I have only been able to source Top 3 results back to 1943)
|1908 - 1920||-||Not Awarded|
|1921||-||Not Awarded||(Hughie James received "Best Player of the Season" Oscar Mitchell Cup (as per 1921 Annual Report)|
|1925||-||Not Awarded||(O'Halloran did win 'Best All Round player')|
|1926||-||Not Awarded||(Geddes did win 'All Round player')|
|1928||1st||Basil McCormack||Trophy Suit (as per Annual Report)|
|1929||1st||Jack Titus||5 votes Trophy|
|=2nd||Les Gallagher, Basil McCormack||2 votes|
|=4th||Jack McCormack, Allan Oakley, Percy Bentley, Stan Ryan, William Benton, Stan Judkins, Jack Fincher||1 vote|
|1934||1st||Not Awarded||(Ray Martin wins a lounge-suite for 'Best Player')|
|1935||1st||Ray Martin||Silver bowl and cut glass set|
|1937||1st||Jack Dyer||J. Jones Trophy|
|1938||1st||Jack Dyer||H.L Roberts Trophy|
|1940||1st||Jack Dyer||Prize unknown|
|1941||1st||Jack Titus||Prize Unknown|
|1942||1st||Leo Merrett||received the J.H Trophy|
|1944||1st||Leo Merrett||99 Trophy|
|1945||1st||Bill Morris||137 Trophy|
|3rd||Fred Burge||79 Toaster.|
|1946||1st||Jack Dyer||126 Jack Jones Trophy 'Cocktail Cabinet'|
|1947||1st||Billy Wilson||109 Prize unknown|
|1948||1st||Bill Morris||148 votes Golf clubs, upholstered chair|
|1949||1st||Geoff Spring||117. Received dining-room suite|
|1950||1st||Bill Morris||99||J.H. Jones Trophy|
|=7th||Fred Burge + Geoff Spring||47|
|1951||=1st||Des Rowe + Roy Wright||98.5|
|=2nd||Roy Wright + Ron Branton||74|
|10th||Peter Morris + Ken Ward||27|
|=6th||Roy Wright + Peter Morris||41|
|2nd||Neville Crowe||112 (dnp Rd 11 onwards)|
|=6th||Royce Hart + Dick Clay||65|
|1968||1st||Kevin Bartlett||185 (polled in all but three games)|
|2nd||Neil Balme||210 (Footy Record had 207, but said KB won by 50 votes)|
|=9th||Neil Balme, Mark Lee||53|
|1979||1st||Barry Rowlings||192 (only played from Rd 5 onwards)|
|=8th||Brendan Bower, Michael MItchell||51|
|=6th||Anthony Banik, Matthew Knights||118|
|=5th||Jeff Hogg, Brian Leys||17|
|=7th||Stevan Jackson, Mark McQueen||14|
|=9th||Craig Lambert, Chris Naish||12|
|=12th||Brendon Gale, Ian Herman, David Honybun||8|
|=8th||Chris Bond, John Howat, Craig Lambert||7|
|=11th||Duncan Kellaway, Brian Leys, Scott Turner||6|
|=5th||Wayne Campbell , Matthew Knights||17|
|=8th||Greg Dear + Matthew Richardson||18|
|=10th||Nick Daffy + Brendon Gale||41|
|=10th||Chris Bond + Paul Bulluss||43|
|=5th||Brendon Gale + Darren Gaspar||111|
|=4th||Ben Holland + Matthew Knights||20|
|9th||Joel Bowden + Darren Gaspar||14|
|=9th||Mark Chaffey + Matthew Knights||74|
|=6th||Alex Rance + Robin Nahas||159|
|=10th||Dustin Martin + Bachar Houli||170|
|=7th||Steven Morris + Jack Riewoldt||211|
|=7th||Brett Deledio + Alex Rance||230|
|=6th||Trent Cotchin + Nick Vlaustin||47|
|=9th||Shaun Grigg + Dylan Grimes||44|
|=7th||Dylan Grimes + Brandon Ellis||30|
|=8th||Dan Butler + Bachar Houli||56|
|=10th||Jason Castagna + Daniel Rioli||47|