NEW YORK -- Major League baseball players on all 30 teams have cast their votes to recognize their peers with the highest of honors - the esteemed Players Choice Awards, recognizing excellence both on and off the field. The Major League Baseball Players Association today announced the finalists in each of 10 award categories, including the coveted Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, given annually to the one player in either league whose performance both on and off the field most inspires his fellow players to higher levels of achievement.
In the eyes of all Major Leaguers, three of the senior circuit's most feared sluggers have separated themselves from their American League rivals by emerging as finalists for the overall Player of the Year award. Atlanta's Andruw Jones (51 HR's), Chicago's Derrek Lee (46) and St. Louis' Albert Pujols (39) -- the National League's top three home run hitters -- are vying for recognition as the best-of-the-best in a season full of outstanding individual and team performances.
Leading the voting for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award are Derek Jeter (Yankees), Mike Sweeney (Kansas City) and Albert Pujols (St. Louis.) Jeter created the "Turn 2 Foundation" in his rookie season to encourage children to adopt healthy lifestyles and focus on academics and leadership development. Kansas City has benefited tremendously from Sweeney's dedication to children via his involvement with Children's Mercy Hospital and local chapters of the Boys & Girls Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Youth Front. As spokesman for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, Pujols dedicates much of his time to working with Down Syndrome patients. He also serves as chairman of the Buddy Walk Fund Raiser and the St. Louis Down Syndrome Association Golf Benefit.
The balloting for the Players Choice Awards was conducted on September 13 and 14, under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG. Players Choice Awards are given annually to the top pitcher, player, rookie and comeback player in each league as well as an overall player of the year and man of the year. The winners will be announced at a later date.
Each of the 2005 Players Choice Award winners will designate the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust.
The 2005 Players Choice Awards finalists are listed below.
The 2005 Players Choice Awards Finalists:
Outstanding Player: David Ortiz (Boston), Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees), Mark Teixeira (Texas)
Outstanding Pitcher: Mark Buehrle (Chicago), Bartolo Colon (Los Angeles Angels), Jon Garland (Chicago) Outstanding Rookie: Gustavo Chacin (Toronto), Jonny Gomes (Tampa Bay), Huston Street (Oakland) Comeback Player of the Year: Jason Giambi (NY Yankees), Richie Sexson (Seattle), Bob Wickman (Cleveland)
Outstanding Player: Andruw Jones (Atlanta), Derrek Lee (Chicago Cubs), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Outstanding Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Roger Clemens (Houston), Dontrelle Willis (Florida)
Outstanding Rookie: Jeff Francoeur (Atlanta), Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), Willy Taveras (Houston)
Comeback Player of the Year: Tony Clark (Arizona), Ken Griffey, Jr. (Cincinnati), Todd Jones (Florida)
Player of the Year: Andruw Jones (Atlanta), Derrek Lee (Chicago Cubs), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Mike Sweeney (Kansas City,) Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
The Major League Baseball Players Association (www.MLBPLAYERS.com) is the collective bargaining representative for all professional baseball players of the thirty Major League Baseball teams and serves as the exclusive group licensing agent for commercial and licensing activities involving active Major League baseball players. On behalf of its members, it operates the Players Choice licensing program and Players Choice Awards, which benefit the needy through the Major League Baseball Players Trust, a charitable foundation established and run entirely by Major League baseball players.