Jose Bautista, Matt Kemp Win 2011 Hank Aaron Awards
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (American League) and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp (National League) are the 2011 winners of the Hank Aaron Award, according to MLB.com. The awards are given for outstanding offensive performance.
"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," Commissioner 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."
Bautista, 31, joins Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds as the only players to repeat the award. He hit .302 with 43 home runs and 103 RBI this season after hitting 54 home runs last year. He also led the majors this season with a .608 slugging percentage and ranked second in on-base percentage at .447.
Kemp, 27, hit .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs and became just the seventh player in Major League history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, batting average, RBIs and stolen bases in his respective league.
Both Bautista and Kemp led their respective leagues in home runs.
The award, established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record, is voted on by fans and, for the second straight year, a special panel of Hall of Famers led by Aaron.
Update 10:37: Hank Aaron was unable to attend the ceremony on Monday night because of knee replacement surgery earlier this month. Commissioner Bud Selig instead presented the awards to Bautista and Kemp.
"Hank and I have been friends for 54 years now. You know how much this means to him," Selig said. "Unfortunately this year, he's unable to be with us. He had a knee replacement surgery, so he's been in therapy. We've talked a lot. We talked just a little while ago, and he said he was going to call both of these guys. He assured us that his surgery went well and he is recovering comfortably, but he can't travel and is not going to be able to travel for a while."