Matt Kemp batted .324 (third in the N.L.) with 39 home runs and 126 RBI in 2011, leading the National League in homers, RBI, runs scored (115) and total bases (353). Photo by Jeff Lewis
Award Recognizes Most Outstanding Offensive Performers in Each League
Major League Baseball announced that Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers have been selected as the winners of the 2011 Hank Aaron Award. This is the second consecutive year Bautista has won the award. Established in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and recognizes the most outstanding offensive performers in each League.
Fans voted for the award on MLB.com, and for the second straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron joined fans in voting for the award. The Hall of Fame panel included two new members – personally selected by Hank Aaron – Roberto Alomar and Joe Morgan. They joined 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 who combined for 23,536 hits, 11,445 RBI and exactly 2,800 home runs.
“I congratulate Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp on being this year’s recipients of the 2011 Hank Aaron Award, named for one of the true pillars of our game,” Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. “Jose has repeated as the American League winner after another brilliant season at the plate, leading Major League Baseball in home runs, slugging and walks. Matt enjoyed an extraordinary year, vying for the National League Triple Crown in the season’s final days and stealing 40 bases on the year. The best is yet to come for both of these young men. I look forward to watching Jose and Matt continue to emulate Hank’s example in the years ahead.”
“It is a real privilege to have my name on the award that recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League,” said Hank Aaron. “I want to congratulate Jose and Matt on their fantastic seasons and express my gratitude to the Hall of Famers and fans who helped select this year’s winners.”
Kemp, 27, batted .324 (third in the N.L.) with 39 home runs and 126 RBI in 2011, leading the National League in homers, RBI, runs scored (115) and total bases (353). The 2011 N.L. All-Star also finished among league leaders in multi-hit games (57, tied for first), hits (195, second), slugging percentage (.586, second), extra-base hits (76, second), stolen bases (40, tied for second), on-base percentage (.399, fourth) and walks (74, tied for eighth). Kemp became the seventh player in Major League history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, batting average, RBI and stolen bases in their respective league, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb (1907, 1909-11), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler (1920), Chuck Klein (1932), Willie Mays (1955) and Hank Aaron (1963). In addition, the sixth round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft was the first Dodger to lead the N.L. in home runs and RBI since Dolph Camilli in 1941 and the first Dodger in history to lead the N.L. in homers, RBI and runs scored. Kemp, who hit .335 on the year with runners in scoring position, is one of five players all-time to eclipse 30 homers, 35 stolen bases, 100 RBI and a .310 average, joining Ken Williams (1922), Barry Bonds (1992), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002).
Bautista batted a career-best .302 and led the Majors with 43 home runs. The 31-year-old outfielder added 103 RBI and also led the Majors with a .608 slugging percentage and 132 walks to go along with a .447 on-base percentage (second in Majors), 24 doubles, two triples, 105 runs scored (sixth in the A.L.) and 312 total bases (sixth in the A.L.). The Dominican native became just the fifth player in Major League history to record at least 40 home runs, 130 walks and nine stolen bases in the same season, becoming the first American Leaguer to do so since Babe Ruth in 1930. In addition, the two-time A.L. All-Star was the only player in the Majors to record at least 40 homers, 100 runs scored, 100 RBI and 100 walks with a .600 slugging percentage in 2011, marking the second consecutive season that he has accomplished the feat and making him the first to do so in consecutive seasons since David Ortiz in 2005-2006. The 20th round selection in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft reached base safely in 136 of his 149 games played in 2011. Dating back to September 1, 2009, Bautista leads the Majors with 107 home runs, 22 more than Albert Pujols of the Cardinals, who ranks second during that span.
Past winners of 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).
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