Nelson Cruz named 2014 Most Valuable Oriole

The Orioles today announced that Nelson Cruz has been voted winner of the 2014 Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award by members of the local media who cover the team on a regular basis. He will be recognized for his accomplishments in an on-field ceremony prior to today’s regular season home finale against the Boston Red Sox.

Cruz enters play today leading the major leagues with 39 home runs, and he has surpassed the 100-RBI mark for the first time in his career in 2014. His 39 homers are the second-most by a first-year Oriole in club history, trailing only Frank Robinson’s 49 in 1966. Cruz also became the sixth different Oriole to record a season of 35 or more home runs and 30 or more doubles, joining Chris Davis (2013), Albert Belle (1999), Rafael Palmeiro (1995, ‘96 and ‘98), Brady Anderson (1996) and Robinson (1966).

Cruz made the American League All-Star Team for the third time in his career, earning his first fan-elected start as the Designated Hitter with over three million votes. Coming into play today, he has already set single-season career-highs in plate appearances (649), hits (157), home runs (39), RBI (105), walks (55), extra-base hits (72), and total bases (308). Cruz was also recognized with two American League Player of the Week Award honors: September 7 and June 2.

The Most Valuable Oriole Award is named in honor of the late Lou Hatter, a former sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun who covered the Orioles for 27 years. Balloting for the Most Valuable Oriole Award is conducted with voting on a 5-3-1 basis. Adam Jones also received first place votes and finished second. Zach Britton finished third and Wei-Yin Chen, J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis, Darren O’Day, Steve Pearce, and Chris Tillman also received votes.