10/22/2009 4:47 PM ET
2009 Players Choice finalists announced
Pujols, Mauer highlight potential award winners
The 2009 Players Choice Awards will be announced exclusively next week in five daily segments of ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning show.
Players in both leagues voted in mid-September in balloting conducted under the supervision of the accounting firm KPMG, and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced the finalists for the awards on Friday.
Each 2009 Players Choice Award winner recommends 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 $3.5 million to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.
Joe Mauer of the Twins, Albert Pujols of the Cardinals and Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins were the leading vote getters in player balloting for the overall Player of the Year.
Mauer helped propel Minnesota to the AL Central Division crown by leading all Major Leaguers in average (.365) and on-base percentage (.444), while finishing with 28 homers and 138 RBIs in just 138 games. Pujols, who won the award in 2003 and again in 2008, led the Cardinals to the NL Central Division title by leading the NL in homers (47), runs scored (124), total bases (374), slugging percentage (.658) and on-base percentage (.443), while finishing third in batting average (.327) and RBIs (135). Ramirez helped keep the Marlins in the postseason hunt by leading the NL in batting average (.342), finishing third in hits (197) and sixth in RBIs (106).
Leading the voting for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, which goes to the player whose on- and off-the-field performance most inspires others to higher levels of achievement, were Curtis Granderson (Tigers), Torii Hunter (Angels) and Pujols.
Granderson established the Grand Kids Foundation, focusing on the importance of educational initiatives for children as well as helping reintroduce the sport of baseball in inner cities around the U.S. Pujols and his wife, Deidre, are the founders of the Pujols Family Foundation, which is dedicated to the love, care and development of people with Down syndrome and their families. Hunter created the Torii Hunter Project, which partners with the Little League Urban Initiative to stop the disappearance of baseball diamonds from America's inner cities.
In addition to the Players of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards, which are the result of voting across both leagues, Players Choice Awards are also given to the outstanding players, pitchers, rookies and comeback players in each league.
The awards will be announced two per day, Monday through Friday, by co-hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic in daily segments of the Mike & Mike in the Morning show. The awards are presented by Upper Deck. The segments will culminate on Friday with the announcement of the overall Player of the Year and the Marvin Miller Man of the Year.
The Mike & Mike in the Morning show is broadcast weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET and simulcast on ESPN2.
Here is a full list of the 2009 Players Choice Awards finalists:
Outstanding Player: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Kendry Morales (LA Angels of Anaheim)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Zack Greinke (Kansas City), CC Sabathia (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Rookie: Elvis Andrus (Texas), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay)
Comeback Player: Russell Branyon (Seattle), Aaron Hill (Toronto), Scott Podsednik (Chicago White Sox)
Outstanding Player: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Outstanding Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
Outstanding Rookie: Chris Coghlan (Florida), Tommy Hanson (Atlanta), J.A. Happ (Philadelphia)
Comeback Player: Aaron Boone (Houston), Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Nick Johnson (Florida)
Player of Year: Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson (Detroit), Torii Hunter (LA Angeles of Anaheim), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)