Fan Voting Begins Today at MLB.com; Award Recognizes

Most Outstanding Offensive Performers in Each League

 Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media announced that Joey Votto was named the Reds’ nominee for the 2011 Hank Aaron Award.

Fan voting begins today exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites. For the second straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.

Last season’s National League Most Valuable Player, Votto was the NL’s 2010 recipient of the Hank Aaron Award.  He led all 2011 NL batters in doubles (40), walks (110), on-base percentage (.416), batting average on the road (.334) and batting average with runners in scoring position (.383).  He ranked among NL leaders in games (161,T2nd), total bases (318, 4th), overall hitting (.309, 5th), extra-base hits (72, 5th), runs (101, T5th), multi-hit games (55, T5th), hits (185, 6th), RBI (103, 6th), intentional walks (15, T6th), batting average vs. LHP (.333, 7th), slugging (.531, 9th) and batting average in day games (.312, 9th).

This year, the Hall of Fame panel will include two new members – personally selected by Hank AaronRoberto Alomar and Joe Morgan.  They join panelists from last year, which included Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams and Robin Yount, forming a group comprised of some of the greatest offensive players of all-time.  These Hall of Famers – who combined for 23,536 hits, 11,445 RBI and exactly 2,800 home runs – have all agreed to join Hank Aaron in lending their expertise to select the best offensive performers in each League. 

Beginning today and continuing through Sunday, October 9, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2011 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2011 World Series.

     The complete list of finalists for the 2011 Hank Aaron Award are:

American League

National League

BaltimoreOrioles J.J. Hardy ArizonaDiamondbacks Justin Upton
BostonRed Sox Adrian Gonzalez AtlantaBraves Brian McCann
ChicagoWhite Sox Paul Konerko ChicagoCubs Aramis Ramirez
ClevelandIndians Asdrubal Cabrera CincinnatiReds Joey Votto
DetroitTigers Miguel Cabrera ColoradoRockies Troy Tulowitzki
Kansas CityRoyals Alex Gordon FloridaMarlins Mike Stanton
LA Angels of  Anaheim Mark Trumbo HoustonAstros Carlos Lee
MinnesotaTwins Michael Cuddyer Los AngelesDodgers Matt Kemp
New YorkYankees Curtis Granderson MilwaukeeBrewers Ryan Braun
OaklandAthletics Josh Willingham New YorkMets Jose Reyes
SeattleMariners Dustin Ackley PhiladelphiaPhillies Ryan Howard
TampaBayRays Evan Longoria PittsburghPirates Andrew McCutchen
TexasRangers Michael Young St. LouisCardinals Albert Pujols
TorontoBlue Jays Jose Bautista San DiegoPadres Cameron Maybin
    San FranciscoGiants Pablo Sandoval
    WashingtonNationals Michael Morse

      Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Jose Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); 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).

     The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced byMajor League Baseball in more than 25 years.  

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