NEW YORK -- In a season marked by extraordinary performances on and off the field, Major League baseball players today bestowed their highest honors on two players -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is Player of the Year and Minnesota Twins center fielder Torii Hunter is the Marvin Miller Man of the Year. The Major League Baseball Players Trust will honor the top Players Choice Award winners with donations of $50,000 each to charities recommended by Hunter and Rodriguez, as announced today on Yahoo! Sports in the finale of an innovative, five-part Internet series highlighting the on-field performances and community leadership of Major League players.
Rodriguez, 32, whose selection as Players Choice Outstanding Player was announced earlier this week, has accumulated a record eight Players Choice Awards in his stellar career, including recognition as 2002 Player of the Year. His season-long dominance at the plate helped keep the Yankees within reach of the playoffs, by leading the Majors in home runs (54), RBI (156), runs scored (143) and slugging percentage (.645). Rodriguez established career highs in runs, RBI and slugging percentage, and on August 4, he became the youngest player to reach the 500 home run plateau.
Hunter, 32, captured the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, named for the founding director of the Major League Baseball Players Association and awarded to the player whose on-field and off-the-field performance most inspires others to higher levels of achievement. To share his passion for baseball with those less fortunate, he established the Torii Hunter Project, which has partnered with Little League Baseballs Urban Initiative to help improve and maintain the condition of baseball diamonds in urban America. Hunter also provides personal and financial support for Athletes in Action and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Twin Cities. Hunter, whose defensive prowess in center field has become legendary, had a tremendous season at the plate, establishing career highs in hits (172), doubles (45) and RBI (107).
Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.
The 2007 Players Choice Awards finalists are [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)
Yahoo! Sports webcast schedule of the 2007 Players Choice Awards:
Tuesday, October 23 AL & NL Outstanding Pitchers
Wednesday, October 24 AL & NL Outstanding Players
Thursday, October 25 AL & NL Outstanding Rookies
Friday, October 26 AL & NL Comeback Players
Saturday, October 27 Player of the Year/Marvin Miller Man of the Year