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Press Release

10/29/2009 11:44 AM ET
Major League Baseball players recognize top pitchers in each league
Royals’ Greinke, Cardinals’ Wainwright honored by peers

NEW YORK -- Major League baseball players in each league cast votes to determine this season’s "best of the best," and the 2009 Players Choice Award winner for American League Outstanding Player is Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer and the National League Outstanding Player is St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association and ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic revealed the winners during the fourth in a series of five daily broadcast segments highlighting the on-field performances and community leadership of Major League players. The 2009 Players Choice Awards are being broadcast exclusively this week during the Mike & Mike in the Morning show (6 am – 10 am ET) and are presented by Upper Deck and benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust. [See complete Awards broadcast schedule below.]

Mauer, 26, provided the offensive spark that helped the Twins capture the AL Central Division title, despite trailing the Detroit Tigers by seven games at the start of September. After missing the first month of the season, Mauer returned to the lineup in May and went on to become the first catcher in Major League history to lead the league in average (.365), on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.587) in a single year. His 28 home runs and 96 RBI were career highs, and this season he became the first catcher to win three batting crowns. A native of St. Paul, MN, and drafted by the hometown Twins with the first overall pick in the 2001 June Draft, Mauer has now appeared in three All-Star Games. This is Mauer’s first Players Choice Award.

Pujols, 29, captured his seventh Players Choice Award by finishing first among all National Leaguers in home runs (47), runs scored (124), on-base percentage (.443) and slugging percentage (.658), second in doubles (45) and third in batting average (.327), RBI (135) and walks (115). His continued offensive dominance helped propel the Cardinals to their fourth NL Central Division championship in six seasons. Pujols has previously been honored by his peers with Players Choice Awards as Player of the Year and NL Outstanding Player in 2003 and 2008, Marvin Miller Man of the Year in 2006 and NL Outstanding Rookie in 2001.

To listen to a podcast of the Players Choice Awards announcements and player interviews, please click here.

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.

Each 2009 Players Choice Award winner will recommend 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 dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

The 2009 Players Choice Awards finalists are [winners in bold & underlined]:

American League:

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)

National League:

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)

Either League:

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)

ESPN Radio’s broadcast schedule for the 2009 Players Choice Awards:

Monday, October 26 – AL & NL Outstanding Rookies – Winners: Gordon Beckham (AL)/J.A. Happ (NL)
Tuesday, October 27 – AL & NL Comeback Players
Wednesday, October 28 – AL & NL Outstanding Pitchers
Thursday, October 29 – AL & NL Outstanding Players
Friday, October 30 – Marvin Miller Man of the Year & Player of the Year