MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS HONOR TOP PLAYER IN EACH LEAGUE
New York, NY, Tuesday, October 21, 2008 - Major League baseball players in each league cast votes to determine this season’s "best of the best," and the 2008 Players Choice Award winner for National League Outstanding Player is St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and the American League Outstanding Player is Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton. The announcement was made today on Yahoo! Sport (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/awards/pa) in the second of a series of Internet specials featuring up-close interviews with Players Choice Award winners and their outstanding performances during the 2008 season, both on and off the field. [See remaining webcast schedule below.] The 2008 Players Choice Awards, presented by Playstation ®, benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Additional support for the Players Choice Awards is provided by The Topps Company and The Upper Deck Company.
Since entering the Majors in 2001, Pujols has been a force to be reckoned with at the plate and 2008 was no different. Despite playing with pain and discomfort in his right elbow, he appeared in 148 games and finished second in the NL batting race, hitting.357. He finished the season with 37 homers, 116 RBI, a career-best 104 walks (2nd most in the NL) and a league-leading slugging percentage of .653, more than 50 points higher than the next player. This is Albert’s fifth Players Choice Award (NL Outstanding Rookie - 2001; NL Outstanding Player & Player of the Year - 2003; Marvin Miller Man of the Year - 2006).
Josh Hamilton’s rise to stardom in 2008 was one of the most inspiring stories in all of Major League Baseball. The once prized prospect, whose battle with addictions almost cost him his career, bounced back to showcase his natural talent and love for the game. Hitting .304, with 32 homers and an AL-best 130 RBI, Hamilton captivated fans all season long and earned his first All-Star Game and Home Run Derby nods. It was at the Derby that Hamilton put on an unforgettable show, breaking the record for most homers in a single round with 28.
Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
Each 2008 Players Choice Award winner will recommend the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.25 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.