Major League Baseball announced today that Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks have been selected as the winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award. This is Cabrera’s second consecutive season winning the Hank Aaron Award for the American League. 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 performer in each League.
Fans voted for the award on MLB.com, and for the fourth 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 led by Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time – Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers – who combined for 17,629 hits, 8,278 RBI and 1,723 home runs – were personally selected by Hank Aaron to lend their expertise to help select the best offensive performer in each League.
“I want to extend my congratulations to Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt on being selected as the winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award, an award named after one of the greatest players in the history of baseball,” Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. “Miguel completed another stellar season this year, including winning his third batting title. Paul was an offensive force on the Diamondbacks and in the National League.”
“It is a privilege to have the award that recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League named after me,” said Hank Aaron. “I want to congratulate Miguel and Paul on their outstanding seasons and extend my thanks to the Hall of Famers and fans who selected the winners.”
Cabrera followed up his Triple Crown-winning season of 2012 with his third consecutive American League batting title after hitting .348 in 2013. The eight-time All-Star, who was the starting third baseman for the A.L. at the Midsummer Classic, became the first Tigers player to lead the A.L. in hitting in three consecutive seasons since Hall of Famer Ty Cobb accomplished the feat (1917-19). The 30-year-old slugger matched his career best with 44 home runs (also 2012) and collected 137 RBI, marking his sixth straight season of 100-or-more RBI for Detroit and joining Harry Heilmann (1923-29) as the only players in franchise history to do so. The Venezuela native led the A.L. with a .442 on-base percentage, a .636 slugging percentage and a .397 average with runners in scoring position while tying for first with 37 go-ahead RBI. He also ranked among league leaders in homers (2nd), RBI (2nd), total bases (2nd, 353), runs scored (T-2nd, 103), hits (T-2nd, 193), walks (3rd, 90) and multi-hit games (9th, 52). The 2012 A.L. MVP has eclipsed the 100-RBI mark in each of his full Major League seasons and he has hit at least .320 in eight of his last 10 seasons.
Goldschmidt, who was selected to his first All-Star Game in 2013, hit .302 with 36 doubles, 36 home runs, 125 RBI, 99 walks and 103 runs scored in his second full season with the Diamondbacks. The 26-year-old led the National League in slugging percentage (.551), extra-base hits (75), RBI and total bases (332), and tied for first in homers. He also ranked third in walks, tied for third in runs scored, fourth with a .401 on-base percentage and tied for 10th in doubles. Among all Major Leaguers, the right-handed-hitting slugger tied for first in go-ahead RBI (37), go-ahead home runs (20), walk-off homers (3), and home runs after the eighth inning (7), while tying for most game-winning RBI (19) and RBI with runners in scoring position (84). The Texas State University product joined Hall of Famers Mel Ott (1929 and 1932) and Eddie Mathews as the only three N.L. players to post a .300 average, 35 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs scored and 99 walks during their 25-year-old season or earlier (ages as of June 30 of that season). In addition, Paul is the 19th player since 1977 to lead the N.L. or tie for the lead in home runs and RBI in a single season. Goldschmidt, who was drafted by the D-backs in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft, became the ninth player in the last 37 years to lead the N.L. or tie for the lead in homers and RBI while hitting at least .300, joining Matt Kemp (2011), Albert Pujols (2010), Ryan Howard (2006), Andres Galarraga (1996), Dante Bichette (1995), Barry Bonds (1993), Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (1981) and George Foster (1977).
Past winners of the award include: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012), Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), 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).