Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp and National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw were honored in January at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s Legacy Awards ceremony in Kansas City. Kemp received the Oscar Charleston Award as the NL’s Most Valuable Player, while was the National League recipient of the Bullet Rogan Pitcher of the Year Award. The Legacy Awards, established by the NLBM in 2000, recognize the best Major League Baseball players, managers and executives with awards given in the name and spirit of Negro Leagues legends such as Charleston, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and Buck O’Neil.
Only one team hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy, but there are plenty of other awards to go around. See which players were deemed best of the best.
NL Comeback Player — Lance Berkman
St. Louis Cardinals OF Lance Berkman struggled through an injury-riddled 2010. But in 2011, he proved he wasn't done with baseball, hitting .301 with 31 home runs and 94 RBI to win the National League Comeback Player award. The switch-hitter ranked in the top 10 in the NL in homers (tied for ninth), walks (fourth with 92), slugging percentage (fifth at .547) and on-base percentage (third with .412). Berkman shed about 20 pounds over the winter while working with a personal trainer. The Comeback awards are chosen by a panel of MLB beat writers. Berkman was also the Players Choice award winner for NL comeback player, as voted on by his peers.
AL Comeback Player — Jacoby Ellsbury
Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury The 28-year-old Ellsbury played just 18 games in 2010 because of injuries and hit only .192. Ellsbury came back as a force in 2011, setting career highs in most offensive categories, hitting .321 with 32 home runs, 105 RBI, 46 doubles, five triples, 119 runs and 39 stolen bases. He became the first Boston player to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season and led the major leagues with 364 total bases and 83 extra-base hits. He was third in the AL with 212 hits and tied for third in runs and doubles. The Comeback awards are chosen by a panel of MLB beat writers. Ellsbury was also the Players Choice award winner for AL comeback player, as voted on by his peers.
Roberto Clemente Award — David Oritz
Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz Boston's David Ortiz has won this year's Roberto Clemente award, given annually to a major league player who gives back through community service and also excels on the field. Ortiz is the second straight Red Sox player to win the honor, announced before Game 2 of the World Series. Pitcher Tim Wakefield won last year. Clemente was a Hall of Fame right fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while trying to deliver food and relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits. A panel of baseball dignitaries selects one player from 30 nominees, one from each club. Teams choose their nominee during the regular season, and the winner is announced at the World Series. The player who receives the most fan votes at MLB.com gets one vote in addition to the votes cast by the panel.
Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award — Ken Griffey Jr.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig presents Ken Griffey Jr. with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award prior to Game 4 of the World Series. This award was created in 1998 to recognize achievements and contributions of historical significance to the game. It is presented at the Commissioner's discretion; it is not an annual award. Selig noted both Griffey's tremendous accomplishments on the field as well as his idea to wear number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, a suggestion the commissioner expanded on in 2007 to allow players and coaches throughout MLB to join in what now has become an annual tradition.
NL Hank Aaron Award — Matt Kemp
Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp was selected as the NL recipient of the Hank Aaron Award. Established in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league. Fans vote for the award on MLB.com, and a panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron also vote. Kemp, 27, batted .324 (third in the N.L.) with 39 home runs and 126 RBI, leading the NL in homers, RBI, runs scored (115) and total bases (353). Kemp became the seventh player in Major League history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, batting average, RBI and stolen bases in their respective league. Kemp also won the Players Choice award as NL player of the year, as voted on by his peers.
AL Hank Aaron Award — Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista was selected as the AL recipient of the Hank Aaron Award, the the second consecutive year the Blue Jays slugger has won the award. Established in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league. Fans vote for the award on MLB.com, and a panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron also vote. Bautista batted a career-best .302 and led the majors with 43 home runs. The 31-year-old outfielder added 103 RBI and also led the majors with a .608 slugging percentage and 132 walks to go along with a .447 on-base percentage (second in Majors), 24 doubles, two triples, 105 runs scored (sixth in the A.L.) and 312 total bases (sixth in the A.L.).
Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year — Mark Trumbo
Angels slugger Mark Trumbo was named the Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year. He hit .254 with a team-leading 29 home runs and 89 runs batted in this season. Trumbo, 25, who spent six years in the minors, filled in for the injured Kendrys Morales. He finished with the most homers (29) by an AL rookie since Nomar Garciaparra hit 30 in 1997. Trumbo was in the lineup from Opening Day. Voting was done by 289 major league players, 177 in the AL and 112 in the NL. Trumbo also won the Players Choice award for AL rookie of the year as voted on by his peers.
World Series MVP — David Freese
St. Louis Cardinals 3B David Freese, a St. Louis native, was named World Series MVP. Freese hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 6 to force the deciding Game 7. Freese, also the NLCS MVP, capped his memorable October by hitting a two-run double in the first inning of Game 7 to tie the Texas Rangers at 2-2. He also drew a pair of walks that helped lead to runs, and the Cardinals held on for a 6-2 win and their 11th championship.
Rawlings Gold Glove awards
Eighteen players received Gold Gloves on Nov. 1, including nine first-time winners. Players from each of the nine positions in both leagues are voted on by managers and coaches; they can't pick players on their own teams. Breaking with the recent format, outfielders were picked for specific spots. See which MLB players rank best defensively. The 18 winners will be eligible for the inaugural Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, with the winner to be determined by fan voting, beginning Nov. 1 and ending Nov. 7, with the announcement of the winners on Nov. 11 at the Rawlings Gold Glove Award Ceremony in New York.
Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger awards
The American League and National League distributed the Silver Slugger awards to the best offensive players at each position on Nov. 2. Nine players received the award for the first time, and only six players were repeat winners from last year. The Silver Slugger, which was first awarded in 1980, is voted on by coaches and managers from both leagues, and voters are prohibited from rewarding players on their own team. See who won the Silver Sluggers.
Players Choice Awards
Players Choice Awards have been presented annually since 1992. Players honor their peers with 10 awards in six categories. Winners in all categories designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the MLB Players Trust.The 2011 winners: Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Michael Young, Rangers MLB Player of the Year: Justin Verlander, pitcher, Tigers Player of the Year (each league): Curtis Granderson, Yankees (AL); Matt Kemp, Dodgers (NL) Pitcher of the Year: Justin Verlander, Tigers (AL); Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (NL) Rookie of the year: Mark Trumbo, Angels (AL); Craig Kimbrel, Braves (NL) Comeback Player of the Year: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox (AL); Lance Berkman, Cardinals (NL)
NL Rookie of the Year — Craig Kimbrel
Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was the unanimous choice by BBWAA for NL Rookie of the Year. Kimbrel was 4-3 with 2.10 ERA in his rookie campaign. His 46 saves tied for the National League lead and set a major league single-season rookie record, breaking the mark of 40 set by Texas' Neftali Feliz in 2010. Kimbrel pitched 38 consecutive scoreless appearances at one point during the season, covering 37-2/3 innings. He converted 25 straight save opportunities in that stretch, allowing only 14 hits and walking 11, while fanning 67 hitters. He was an All-Star and got the final out of the seventh inning to help preserve the National League's 5-1 victory. Voting was done by 289 major league players, 177 in the AL and 112 in the NL. Kimbrel also won the Players Choice award for NL rookie of the year as voted on by his peers and was named named the Sporting News Rookie of the Year in the National League.
AL Rookie of the Year — Jeremy Hellickson
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was named the American League Rookie of the Year by the BBWA. Hellickson went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA in helping the Rays win the AL wild-card spot. The last time an AL rookie had a lower ERA than Hellickson's 2.95 was 1990, when Kevin Appier posted a 2.76 for the Royals. A rookie had not finished with Hellickson's combination of wins, innings and ERA since 1980, when Britt Burns did so for the White Sox. He drew 17 of 28 first-place votes and finished ahead of Los Angeles Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo.
NL Manager of the Year — Kirk Gibson
Kirk Gibson was named NL manager of the year by the BBWAA. After losing 97 games in 2010, the D-backs took on the attitude of their manager and won the NL West with a 94-68 record, grabbing the division's top spot on Aug. 10 and never relinquishing it. The Sporting News also voted Gibson the NL Manager of the Year.
AL Manager of the Year — Joe Maddon
Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon was named AL Manager of the Year by BBWAA. The Rays started the season with six consecutive losses and were nine games back in the wild-card race on Sept. 2. But Maddon led them to wins in 17 of their final 25 games, including their final five, to finish 91-71 and leapfrog the Red Sox into the playoffs. Maddon was also named Manager of the Year by the Sporting News.
NL Cy Young Award — Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw was 21-5 and had 248 strikeouts on his way to the NL Cy Young Award.
AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young — Justin Verlander
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander was voted as the American League's MVP, receiving 13 of 28 first-place votes and 280 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The BBWAA also selected Verlander as the AL Cy Young Award winner in a unanimous vote. Verlander won the pitching Triple Crown, leading the AL in wins with 24, strikeouts with 250 and ERA at 2.40. Verlander's 24 wins were the most in the AL since Bob Welch won 27 in 1990. He won a string 12 at one point and threw the second no-hitter of his career, on May 7 at Toronto. Verlander also won the Players Choice awards as AL pitcher of the year and MLB player of the year, as voted on by his peers.
NL Most Valuable Player — Ryan Braun
Milwaukee's Ryan Braun won the NL Most Valuable Player Award, receiving 20 of 32 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Braun helped carry the Brewers to their first division title in nearly 30 years, leading the NL with a .597 slugging percentage and finishing second with a .332 batting average. He also belted 33 homers to go along with 111 RBI and 33 stolen bases. He is the third Brewers player to win the award, joining Rollie Fingers (1981) and Robin Yount (1982, '89). On Dec. 10, it was revealed that Braun tested positive for a banned substance in late October. He faces a 50-game suspension, pending his appeal.
Edgar Martinez Award — David Ortiz
David Ortiz further solidified his place as one of the best designated hitters to play baseball on Dec. 7 when the Red Sox slugger was honored with his sixth Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, voted on annually by club beat reporters, broadcasters and AL public relations departments. It's the most Martinez Awards for any player. It was the first time Ortiz won the award since he won it five straight years from 2003-07. The 14-year veteran received 73 first-place votes out of 84 ballots. Detroit's Victor Martinez finished second, and Kansas City's Billy Butler took third.
Thurman Munson awards
Yankees legend Yogi Berra will be among the honorees at the 32nd Thurman Munson awards dinner. He'll be joined by Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey and former NBA and St. John's star Chris Mullin, who will receive awards for their athletic success and philanthropic work at the dinner on Jan. 31 in New York. The 86-year-old Berra will receive the Munson Legend Award in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World Champion New York Yankees.
John Mozeliak, Executive of the Year
St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak was named the MLB Executive of the Year by Baseball America on Dec. 16. The publication also honored the Cardinals as its 2011 Organization of the Year. The organization honor was the first for the Cardinals from Baseball America, which has been honoring the game's top organizations since 1982. Mozeliak’s selection was based on voting from fans at mlb.com, media members, front-office personnel and major-league baseball alumni.
The second annual GIBBY Awards, presented by MLB Network, were announced on Dec. 16. Awards are given in 19 categories, encompassing both leagues and including the postseason. They are voted on by fans, media, retired players, front-office staff (weighted 25% each). The winners: Player of the Year: Matt Kemp, Dodgers Starting Pitcher of the Year: Justin Verlander, Tigers Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, Braves Closer of the Year: Jose Valverde, Tigers Set-up Man of the Year: David Robertson, Yankees Defensive Player of the Year: Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians Breakout Player of the Year: Ian Kennedy, D-backs Comeback Player: Lance Berkman, Cardinals Wow Factor: Robinson Cano, Yankees Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson, D-backs Executive of the Year: John Mozeliak, Cardinals Postseason MVP: David Freese, Cardinals Play of the Year: Ben Revere catch at the wall, Twins Moment of the Year: Dan Johnson’s home run caps Rays’ 7-run rally on wild card Tuesday Performance of the Year: Derek Jeter gets 3,000th hit with home run, goes 5-for-5, Yankees Oddity of the Year: Braun’s stumbling ITB HR, Brewers Walk-off of the Year: Evan Longoria's 12th inning wild card clincher on wild card Tuesday Fan moment: Kid gives up ball to crying kid Postseason moment: David Freese two-run triple over Nelson Cruz in Game 6, Cardinals