09/14/2009 1:51 PM ET
Curtis Granderson, Torii Hunter, Mike Lowell, Albert Pujols, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito selected by fans as finalists for 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award
These six placed on 2009 Players Choice Awards ballots for league-wide player voting
NEW YORK -- Thousands of baseball fans participated in an Internet poll on www.MLBPLAYERS.com between Sept. 4 and 13, to determine which six players, one from each division, inspire others to higher levels of achievement by their on-field performances and contributions to their communities. From this list of 30 players, Mike Lowell (Boston Red Sox) was tabbed to represent the AL East, Curtis Granderson (Detroit Tigers) the AL Central, Torii Hunter (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) the AL West, Shane Victorino (Philadelphia Phillies) the NL East, Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) the NL Central and Barry Zito (San Francisco Giants) the NL West.
These six players will have their names placed on the 2009 Players Choice Awards ballot to determine this season’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award winner. Ballots will be distributed to all Major League players on Tuesday, September 15th and Wednesday, September 16th, when the accounting firm of KPMG conducts the league-wide, players-only voting for the 2009 Players Choice Awards. [Note: Cleveland @ Minnesota; Pittsburgh @ LA Dodgers; Florida @ St. Louis and Arizona @ San Diego will vote on Tuesday, September 15, all other teams will vote on Wednesday, September 16.]
The 2009 Players Choice Awards also honor the outstanding player, rookie, pitcher and comeback player in each league, as well as the overall Player of the Year. 2009 Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has recognized the outstanding on-field and off-field performances of Players Choice Awards winners by contributing more than $3.5 million to charities around the world.
Michael Young of the Texas Rangers was the recipient of the 2008 Man of the Year Award, and other past winners of the award, named for the legendary baseball union leader, include this year’s finalists, Torii Hunter and Albert Pujols, as well as Jim Thome, John Smoltz, Mike Sweeney, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Eric Davis and Paul Molitor.
2009 Players Choice Marvin Miller Man of the Year Divisional Winners
American League East
Boston Red Sox Mike Lowell: Mike and his wife, Bertica, are committed to helping low income families living in Miami and Boston, and, together, they created the Mike Lowell Foundation. The Foundation has contributed $25,000 to the Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence, MA, one of the poorest cities in the U.S. Cor Unum provides free, nutritious meals 365 days a year to hungry people in Lawrence. Recently, Mike and Bertica hosted the second annual Lowell Family Fun Day at Fenway Park for children battling cancer and other illnesses.
American League Central
Detroit Tigers Curtis Granderson: Curtis is deeply immersed in numerous charity and community-driven organizations. In 2008, Curtis 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. Granderson is an active member in the Major League Baseball Players Trust's Action Team national youth volunteer program, which helps inspire and train the next generation of volunteers.
American League West
Los Angeles Angels Torii Hunter: Torii, the 2007 Marvin Miller Man of the Year award winner, is passionate about baseball, both in playing the game and in sharing it with those less fortunate. To help spread his passion to others, Torii 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. Additionally, Torii has devoted his time and contributed funds to support organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and Athletes in Action.
National League East
Philadelphia Phillies Shane Victorino: For Shane, all the accolades that come with being a Major Leaguer would not have been possible without the support from family and friends back home in Maui. With that in mind, in 2008, he hosted the first-ever Shane Victorino “A Round to Remember” golf tournament in Maui, to benefit the Alzheimer's Association, the same illness that claimed the life of his grandmother. Additionally, Shane is an active participant in the Major League Baseball Players Trust’s Action Team national youth volunteer program, helping to train and inspire high school students in the Philadelphia area to become community volunteers.
National League Central
St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols: Winner of the 2006 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, Albert 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. Albert hosts an annual charity golf tournament as well as a live auction to raise money for the foundation. The Pujols family dedicates their time not only to those with Down Syndrome, but also to the impoverished children and orphans of the Dominican Republic by donating time and money to better the children’s education.
National League West
San Francisco Giants Barry Zito: Not only is Barry Zito a success on the field, but he accomplishes great feats off the field as well. In April, 2005, Barry Zito introduced the non-profit group Strikeouts for Troops, dedicated to providing the comforts of home to soldiers in military hospitals all over the country. Barry has also gotten other baseball superstars involved with their pledges that with strikeout they throw, home run they hit, or RBI they collect respectively, they will donate to this very worthy cause.
The following players were nominated by their teammates for the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award:
Arizona: Dan Haren; Atlanta: Tim Hudson; Baltimore: Nick Markakis; Boston: Mike Lowell; Chicago Cubs: Ted Lilly; Chicago White Sox: Scott Linebrink; Cincinnati: Aaron Harang; Cleveland: Travis Hafner; Colorado: Jeff Francis; Detroit: Curtis Granderson; Florida: Brett Carroll; Houston: LaTroy Hawkins; Kansas City: Mark Teahen; Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Torii Hunter; Los Angeles Dodgers: Orlando Hudson; Milwaukee: Mike Cameron; Minnesota: Michael Cuddyer; New York Mets: Carlos Delgado; New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez; Oakland: Dallas Braden; Philadelphia: Shane Victorino; Pittsburgh: Paul Maholm; San Diego: Adrian Gonzalez; San Francisco: Barry Zito; Seattle: Mark Lowe; St. Louis: Albert Pujols; Tampa Bay: Dan Wheeler; Texas; Eddie Guardado; Toronto: Roy Halladay; Washington: Ryan Zimmerman.