Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kemp Wins 2011 Hank Aaron Award

As Orel mentioned last week, Matt Kemp won the 2011 Hank Aaron Award as the most outstanding offensive performer of the year. Yesterday, MLB made it official:

ARLINGTON -- Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays joined Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds as the only players to repeat a Hank Aaron Award, accepting his trophy Monday along with National League recipient Matt Kemp of the Dodgers in a ceremony before Game 5 of the World Series.

The awards for outstanding offensive performers, established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's home run record, each went to a slugger who led his league in homers during this regular season. Bautista topped the Majors with 43, and Kemp led the NL with 39.

"I congratulate Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp on being this year's recipients of the 2011 Hank Aaron Award, named for one of the true pillars of our game," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "Jose has repeated as the American League winner after another brilliant season at the plate, leading Major League Baseball in home runs, slugging and walks. Matt enjoyed an extraordinary year, vying for the National League Triple Crown in the season's final days and stealing 40 bases on the year.

"The best is yet to come for both of these young men. I look forward to watching Jose and Matt continue to emulate Hank's example in the years ahead."

Hammerin' Hank was unable to travel for his annual appearance at this World Series event, due to knee replacement surgery. The Hall of Famer said in a statement:

"It is a real privilege to have my name on the award that recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league. I want to congratulate Jose and Matt on their fantastic seasons and express my gratitude to the Hall of Famers and fans who helped select this year's winners."

Fans voted for the award on MLB.com, and for the second straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Aaron joined fans in voting. The Hall of Fame panel included two new members personally selected by Aaron: Roberto Alomar and Joe Morgan. They joined panelists from last year, including Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams and Robin Yount. That panel was comprised of some of the greatest offensive players of all-time who combined for 23,536 hits, 11,445 RBIs and 2,800 home runs. [...]

Kemp made one of the best Triple Crown bids in recent years, falling just short. In addition to leading the NL in homers and RBIs (126), he finished third in batting behind Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun, at .324. Kemp also led the NL in runs (115) and total bases (353). The 2011 NL All-Star also finished among league leaders in multihit games (57, tied for first), hits (195, second), slugging percentage (.586, second), extra-base hits (76, second), stolen bases (40, tied for second), on-base percentage (.399, fourth) and walks (74, tied for eighth).

Kemp became the seventh player in Major League history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, batting average, RBIs and stolen bases in their respective league, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb (1907, '09-11), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler ('20), Chuck Klein ('32), Willie Mays ('55) and Aaron ('63). In addition, the sixth-round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft was the first Dodger to lead the NL in home runs and RBIs since Dolph Camilli in 1941, and the first Dodger in history to lead the NL in homers, RBIs and runs scored.

Kemp is also the first Dodger to win the Aaron Award, though Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones are both prior recipients (just not as Dodgers).

photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images


MeanieBreanie said...

Way to go Mattie!