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2016 Hank Aaron Award Winners Announced

Hank Aaron Award Mike franco/Via Flickr


2016 MLB Hank Aaron Award Winners Announced

The MLB announced this week who the winners of the Hank Aaron Award were for the National League and the American League.  Winners for the 2016 season were Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs and David Ortiz formerly of the Boston Red Sox.  The announcement of the awards showed two players from each end of the baseball spectrum.

David “Big Papi” Ortiz

Ortiz receives this award as he leaves the game of baseball as a player.  At the beginning of the 2016 season Ortiz announced that this would be his last season.  He would put up numbers that would make the baseball world question if he should be leaving.  Ortiz who is 41-years old put up some of the best numbers of his career.

In the final season of his 20-year Major League career, the Red Sox’s DH led MLB with a .620 slugging percentage, a 1.021 OPS and 48 doubles. He batted .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs (tied for first in the AL), 80 walks and a .401 on-base percentage. The homer and RBI totals were his best since ’06, and he set single-season records for players over the age of 40 in homers, RBIs, doubles and extra-base hits, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ortiz retired as the Red Sox’s all-time postseason leader in homers (17), doubles (19), extra-base hits (38), hits (80), runs (51), RBIs (57) and walks (59). He finished his career as a three-time World Series champion, and he was named the Most Valuable Player of the ’04 AL Championship Series and the 2013 World Series.


Kris Bryant

Kris is only in the second season of his major league career as he claims the award.  However, Bryant is no stranger to winning awards.  Prior to his Big League career Bryant claimed plenty of other honors.  In 2013 he received the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur baseball player in the country.  In 2014 he would receive Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the year Award.  In 2015 in his first Major League season with the Chicago cubs he would earn the Rookie of the Year Award and in 2016 he is a candidate for the 2016 NL MVP Award.

Bryant who is just 24-years old had one of the Cubs’ best regular season in more than a century, batted .292 with 39 homers, 102 RBIs, an NL-best 121 runs scored, eight stolen bases, a .385 OBP and a .554 slugging percentage.

Bryant is just the fourth Cub in the past 100 years to reach 100 RBIs in his age 24-or-younger season, joining Andy Pafko in 1945 and Hall of Famers Ernie Banks in ’55 and Ron Santo in ’64.


Hank Aaron on the Award

“It is an honor that the awards, which distinguish the top offensive performers in baseball, have my name on it,” Aaron said. “I want to congratulate Kris and David on their terrific seasons and extend my thanks to the Hall of Famers and fans who once again helped select the winners.”


Commissioner Rob Manfred on the Award

“I congratulate David Ortiz and Kris Bryant on earning the 2016 Hank Aaron Awards,” Manfred said. “David created an extraordinary legacy with the Red Sox. Fans will never forget his consistent excellence at the plate and his performances on the game’s greatest stages. Kris followed up an award-winning rookie season by helping lead the Cubs to their best regular season in more than a century. Both David and Kris are deserving of an honor named for one of the greatest players and individuals that our game has ever known.”


Ortiz on the Award

“I think it’s an honor to be part of this unbelievable award,” Ortiz said. “I have received a lot of different awards in my career, but the Hank Aaron Award that I have in my house is the one that I kind of look at every day. The way it looks, just to begin with, is something that, to me, is very special. Every time I get to the plate, it’s something that means a lot to me. Like I say, it’s an honor.”

“That baby boy over there at the end of the table, man,” Ortiz said of Bryant. “Now it’s my turn to sit down and watch you doing your thing. So much fun watching you out there, carrying the team on your back. That’s part of greatness, and that’s part of what this game is all about. Looking forward to enjoying plenty of years watching you play the game.”


Bryant on the Award

“I want to thank all the fans and everyone who supported me for this award,” Bryant said. “It’s truly an honor to be up here with two of the best baseball players to ever play this game. I grew up watching Big Papi and the Red Sox get to this point and win a World Series, and hopefully I can do that here. To accept an award with one of the best baseball players ever with your name on it is a true honor for me.”


Established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record — by hitting No. 715 on his way to a final 755 — the Hank Aaron Awards are officially sanctioned by MLB and recognize the most outstanding offensive performer in each league.