Paul Goldschmidt wins inaugural Luis Gonzalez Award

PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks @LosDbacks) announced the creation of the Luis Gonzalez Award, which will be given annually to the D-backs player who best exemplifies the talents, spirit and heart of the D-backs legend both on and off the field, as voted by his teammates and coaches.

The team also announced that the winner of the inaugural award is first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He will be presented the award by Gonzalez during a pregame ceremony prior to tonight's game.

"I'm humbled to have an award named after me, especially since it is something that will be voted upon by the players and staff," said Gonzalez, who is in his sixth season as Special Assistant to the President & CEO. "There could not be a better person to take home an award that focuses on talents both on and off the field than Paul Goldschmidt. He's clearly become one of the best players in the game and he truly understands the responsibility that goes along with that in the community."

Goldschmidt, like Gonzalez, has become a perennial MVP candidate and this season ranks among NL leaders in RBI (106, 2nd), walks (116, 3rd), total bases (309, 3rd), slugging percentage (.557, 3rd), on-base percentage (.432, 3rd), home runs (31, 5th) and batting average (.315, 6th). He joined Gonzalez, Steve Finley and Mark Reynolds as the only D-backs with multiple 30-homer campaigns, while he and Gonzalez are the only two players in franchise history to reach the 100 RBI mark and 100 walk mark in the same season. He and Gonzalez are the only two D-backs to record multiple seasons with 100 or more RBI.

Off the field, Goldschmidt has established himself as one of the city's most charitable athletes and was recently named the D-backs nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for the second consecutive season. He and his wife, Amy, spend countless hours volunteering at Phoenix Children's Hospital interacting and visiting with kids and their families; a genuine passion they both share. This year, Goldschmidt increased the number of full-tuition scholarships for students wanting to continue their education at University of Phoenix from three to five. After graduating from University of Phoenix in 2013, both he and Amy personally selected the winners to receive the award and present the scholarships to them at tomorrow night's game.

One of the most popular figures in Arizona Diamondbacks history because of the way he interacted with fans and his game-winning single in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series to give the organization its first World Championship, Gonzalez became the first former player to have his number retired by the D-backs during a pre-game ceremony in 2010. 

Gonzalez compiled a .283 batting average, 2,591 hits, 354 home runs and 1,439 RBI during his career with the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins and D-backs. His 596 career doubles rank 15th in baseball history. Gonzalez is one of only 19 players in Major League history to collect at least 2,500 hits, 500 doubles, 350 home runs and 1,000 RBI, joining Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Dave Winfield, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Robinson, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Andre Dawson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Tony Perez, Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams. The five-time All-Star retired as the D-backs' all-time leader in games played (1,194), hits (1,337), doubles (310), home runs (224), walks (650), runs (780), RBI (774), at-bats (4,488), total bases (2,373), slugging percentage (.529) and on-base percentage (.391).