Wednesday, November 5, 2003
Bonds, Pujols among Players Choice Player of the Year nominees
NEW YORK - St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Albert
Pujols, who made a bid for the first Triple Crown in 36 years,
was named Player of the Year by his peers Wednesday.
Pujols captured the marquee Players Choice award over San
Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds and Los Angeles
Dodgers closer Erig Gagne.
"It's just an honor to get this award," Pujols said. "I want
thank all the players. It shows a lot of respect that the
players have for me. There were so many players that had a
Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez was voted Oustanding
Player in the American League.
"Barry's proabbaly the best plyer in the league, him and A-Rod,"
Pujols added. "What they have done for this game in just the
past five years is amazing. Those are the two guys that I voted
for. You have a lot of guys around the league that had a great
year, like Gary Sheffield. For me to be honored with this
award is amazing."
Also in the AL, Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays was named
Outstanding Pitcher, Kansas City Royals shortstop Angel Berroa
garnered Outstanding Rookie honors and Chicago White Sox
righthander Esteban Loiaza was voted Comeback Player of the
The NL also honored Gagne as Outstanding Pitcher, Milwaukee
Brewers center fielder Scott Podsednik as top rookie and San
Diego Padres righthander Rod Beck as Comeback Player of the
Atlanta Braves closer John Smoltz won the Marvin Miller Man of
the Year award, which honors a player whose "on-field
performance and contributions to his community inspire those to
higher levels of achievement." Smoltz contributes the Atlanta
Food Bank's "Close Out Hunger" campaign and co-hosts a celebrity
pro-am golf tournament to benefit Children's Healthcare of
Atlanta. He also won the award last year
Pujols has been inspiring for three years now, but never more so
than in 2003, when he hit an NL-best .359 with 43 homers and
124 RBIs. He finished just four home runs and 17 RBIs of
capturing the first triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
The 23-year-old also established career bests with 212 hits,
137 runs and 79 walks.
Pjuols is the only player ever to hit .300 with 30 homers, 100
runs and 100 RBIs in each of his first three major league
Bonds, who has risen to fourth on baseball's all-time homer
list, missed out on his second Player of the Year award in three
seasons. He also has been named the NL's top player three
Gagne has been successful in 63 consecutive save opportunities
over the past two seasons, including 55 in 2003. The record for
saves in a season is 57.