Fan voting begins today at MLB.com; Award recognizes Most Outstanding Offensive performers in each League
Roberto Alomar and Joe Morgan Added to Hall of Fame Panel, with Returning Members
Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams and Robin Yount
Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media announced that J.J. Hardy was named the Orioles' 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.
Hardy hit a career-high 30 home runs in his first season with the Orioles, tied for most by a shortstop in the majors and the most by an American League East shortstop since 2004. He hit three more home runs in 2011 than Orioles' shortstops his the previous four years combined. Hardy was named American League Player of the Week for Aug. 8-14 and recorded an RBI in eight straight games from Aug. 2-12, the fourth-longest streak in club history.
This year, the Hall of Fame panel will include two new members - personally selected by Hank Aaron - Roberto 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, Oct. 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:
Baltimore Orioles: J.J. Hardy
Boston Red Sox: Adrian Gonzalez
Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko
Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon
LA Angels of Anaheim: Mark Trumbo
Minnesota Twins: Michael Cuddyer
New York Yankees: Curtis Granderson
Oakland Athletics: Josh Willingham
Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria
Texas Rangers: Michael Young
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista
Arizona Diamondbacks: Justin Upton
Atlanta Braves: Brian McCann
Chicago Cubs: Aramis Ramirez
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki
Florida Marlins: Mike Stanton
Houston Astros: Carlos Lee
Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun
New York Mets: Jose Reyes
Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols
San Diego Padres: Cameron Maybin
San Francisco Giants: Pablo Sandoval
Washington Nationals: 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 25 th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.