10/27/2007 1:03 PM ET
A-Rod, Hunter earn top awards
Players chose Alex Rodriguez, who had the best season of his Hall-of-Fame career, and Torii Hunter, whose on-field brilliance was equaled by his commitment to the community, for top honors in the 2007 Players Choice Awards.
Rodriguez was selected as the Player of the Year and Hunter was selected as the Marvin Miller Man of the Year, which goes to the player whose performance on and off the field inspires others to a higher level of achievement.
The announcement was made Saturday in the fifth and final segment of the Players Choice Awards series on Yahoo! Sports.
Rodriguez and Hunter will each direct a $50,000 donation from the Players Trust to the charity of their choice. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3 million to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.
It was Rodriguez's record eighth Players Choice Award and second this season. He was also named the Outstanding Player in the American League by his peers during mid-September balloting under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
The other 2007 Players Choice Award winners are: C.C. Sabathia (Outstanding Pitcher, AL), Jake Peavy (Outstanding Pitcher, National League), Dustin Pedroia (Outstanding Rookie, AL), Ryan Braun (Outstanding Rookie, NL), Carlos Pena (Comeback Player, AL), and Dmitri Young (Comeback Player, NL). Shows for the outstanding rookies, pitchers and comeback players are available for on-demand play at Yahoo! Sports.
Rodriguez, who was also voted Player of the Year in the 2002 Players Choice Awards, was the dominant offensive force in baseball this season as he led the Yankees to their 12th consecutive postseasson. He led the Majors in home runs (54), RBIs (156), runs scored (143) and slugging percentage (.645). On Aug. 4, he became the youngest player to reach the 500-home run plateau.
The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award was a first for Hunter, who drew the acknowledgement of his fellow players with his passionate and tireless efforts to bring inner-city kids back to the baseball field through his Torii Hunter Project.
Hunter, who also provides personal and financial support for Athletes in Action and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Twin Cities, is best known for his highlight-reel catches in center field. But the charismatic 32-year-old also had one of the best offensive seasons of his career, establishing career highs in hits (172), doubles (45) and RBIs (107).
Peavy established career highs in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts and finished the season ranked first among all MLB pitchers in ERA and strikeouts. He also tied for second overall in wins by going 19-6, with a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts.
Sabathia, posted a career-best ERA and also established career highs in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. He helped lead the Indians to the AL Central Division Championship by finishing with a record of 19-7, a 3.21 ERA and 209 strikeouts.
In just his second full season, Fielder, 23, led the NL with 50 home runs and a .618 slugging percentage, as he helped power the Brewers to a second place finish in the NL Central Division, just two games behind the Cubs.
Fielder, who also placed third in the NL with 119 RBIs, led the Brewers' power surge this season. The club led all NL teams in home runs (231), finished second in total bases (2532) and slugging percentage (.456) and fourth in RBIs (774).
Braun, 23, led all Major League rookies in home runs (34), batting average (.324) and slugging percentage (.634), as he helped guide the resurgent Brewers to a second place finish in the NL Central Division.
Drafted fifth overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Braun made his MLB debut on May 25 and proceeded to give the Brewers a huge lift as they battled for the NL Central title. Braun attended the University of Miami, where he was named First-Team Freshman All-America and National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America.
Pedroia, 24, led all AL rookies with a .317 batting average, and his 165 hits were third among all Red Sox players, trailing only Mike Lowell (191) and David Ortiz (182). He also led all Major League rookies in doubles (39), was second in on-base percentage (.380) and third in batting average and hits. Brian Bannister of the Royals and Delmon Young of the Devil Rays were the two other finalists selected by the players.
Drafted in the second round (65th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Pedroia attended Arizona State where he was a three-time First-Team All-Pac 10 selection, the 2003 Pac-10 co-Player of the Year and the 2003 National Defensive Player of the Year.
Pena, who played just 18 Major League games and hit just one home run in 2006, joined the Devil Rays and became one of the game's most feared sluggers this season, placing second in the AL with 46 homers and a .627 slugging average. He also finished fourth in the league with 121 RBIs.
He set Tampa Bay's single-season records in homers, RBIs and walks, and became just the 11th player in American League history to collect at least 100 walks, 45 homers and 120 RBIs in a single season.
Young, 35, encountered problems on and off the field during the 2006 season, when he was released by the AL champion Tigers after only 48 games and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes shortly thereafter.
Persuaded by family members not to give up, he accepted the Nationals' 2007 Spring Training invitation as a non-roster player and not only made the club but earned a spot in the All-Star Game and finished ninth in the NL with a .320 batting average. He also had 74 RBIs and 38 doubles.
The 2007 Players Choice Awards finalists [winners in bold]:
Player of the Year: Matt Holliday (Colorado), Magglio Ordonez (Detroit), Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees)
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Tom Glavine (NY Mets), Torii Hunter (Minnesota), Jake Peavy (San Diego)
Outstanding Player: Curtis Granderson (Detroit), Magglio Ordonez (Detroit), Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Pitcher: Josh Beckett (Boston), C.C. Sabathia (Cleveland), Chien-Ming Wang (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Rookie: Brian Bannister (Kansas City), Dustin Pedroia (Boston), Delmon Young (Tampa Bay)
Comeback Player of the Year: Jon Lester (Boston), Carlos Pena (Tampa Bay), Sammy Sosa (Texas)
Outstanding Player: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Matt Holliday (Colorado), David Wright (NY Mets)
Outstanding Pitcher: Jeff Francis (Colorado), Jake Peavy (San Diego), Brandon Webb (Arizona)
Outstanding Rookie: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee), Hunter Pence (Houston), Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)
Comeback Player of the Year: Rick Ankiel (St. Louis), Josh Hamilton (Cincinnati), Dmitri Young (Washington)