The outfielder was named the Yankees' recipient of the 2015 Heart and Hustle Award, presented by the MLB Players Alumni Association. It's the fourth time Gardner has won the award in his eight-year Major League career.
Designed to recognize "active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game," the Heart and Hustle Award is the only MLB award voted on by former players.
"Ever since I was little, I always tried to play the game hard," Gardner said. "Kind of sounds simple, but just play the game like it's your last."
Former players from each of the Major Leagues' 30 clubs gather to select one player from their respective team. A final winner, to be announced Nov. 10, will be voted on by former and active players.
"I'm not surprised," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "How hard he plays the game and dives all over the place, and what he's meant to this club, I'm not surprised."
The final winner will be announced at the 16th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York, a fundraiser for Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. More than 15,000 children each year participate in the 120 clinics.
Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.