Award Recognizes Most Outstanding Offensive Performers in Each League

Hall of Fame Panel Joins Fans in Voting for First Time in Award’s 12-Year History

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds have been selected as the winners of the 2010 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 is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and recognizes the most outstanding offensive performers in each League. 

Fans voted for the award on, and for the first time in its 12-year history, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron joined them in voting for the award.  The panel — personally selected by Hank Aaron — comprised of some of the greatest offensive players of all-time.  Tony Gwynn, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Paul Molitor, Billy Williams and Robin Yount, who collectively amassed more than 16,000 hits, 2,000 home runs and 8,000 RBI in their combined 123 seasons, all agreed to join Hank Aaron in lending their expertise to select the best offensive performers in each League. 

“For the twelfth year in a row, Major League Baseball is proud to honor Henry Aaron, one of the all-time greats of the game, by presenting this prestigious award in his name to the top offensive performers in each league,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “I congratulate Jose and Joey for their wonderful seasons which led to winning this prestigious award.  I’m also glad to see the stature of this award increase with the inclusion of the special panel of Hall of Famers.”

“It is truly an honor to have the award recognizing the most outstanding offensive performer in each League bear my name, and congratulate Jose and Joey on their tremendous seasons,” said Hank Aaron. “I want to thank my fellow Hall of Famers for agreeing to lend their expertise in helping to select such worthy winners.”      

Bautista hit .260 with 54 home runs and 124 RBI this season, leading the Majors in homers and ranking third in RBI.  The 30-year-old outfielder added 35 doubles, 109 runs scored (5th in the A.L.), 100 walks (2nd in the A.L.), a .617 slugging percentage (3rd in the A.L.) and 351 total bases (T-1st in the Majors).  The Dominican native led the A.L. with 11 homers in September/October to become the first player since Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1997 to lead his league in home runs in four separate months.  Dating back to September 1, 2009 (188 games), Bautista leads the Majors with 64 home runs, 16 more than Albert Pujols of the Cardinals, who ranks second during that span.  The 20th round selection in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft became just the 14th player in Major League history to record at least 100 walks and 50 home runs in the same season, and just the seventh player (ninth time) to record 50 homers, 100 walks and 30 doubles in the same season, joining Luis Gonzalez (2001), Sosa (2001), Hack Wilson (1930), Jimmie Foxx (1932 & 1938), Barry Bonds (2001) and Babe Ruth (1920 & 1921).     

Votto, 27, batted .324 with 37 home runs and 113 RBI in 2010, leading the Reds to the National League Central crown, which marked the club’s first postseason berth since 1995.  Votto’s .424 on-base percentage was the highest in Major League Baseball, and his .600 slugging percentage was the top mark in the National League.  Among N.L. leaders, the first-time All-Star in 2010 ranked in the top three in all of the triple crown categories, coming in second in batting average and third in homers and RBI.  In his fourth season in the Major Leagues, the first baseman scored 106 runs while lacing 36 doubles and two triples and stealing 16 bases.  The Toronto native became only the fourth player in Reds history to hit at least .320 with 37 homers and 113 RBI in a season, joining N.L. Most Valuable Players Frank Robinson (1961) and George Foster (1977) as well as Ted Kluszewski in 1954.  Votto also was the first Red to lead the club in batting, homers and RBI since Eric Davis in 1989.      

Past winners of include: Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

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(Special thanks to former Reds assistant director of media relations and current Brewers media relations director Mike Vassallo who was present for tonight’s press conference and snapped the above photos for Better Off Red.  Mike, along with Reds media relations director Rob Butcher and a few select others are working the World Series on behalf of Major League Baseball.  And since tonight is Halloween, Mike was granted permission to work tonight’s game in his “Rowdy” Roddy Piper costume.)

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