Blizzard doesn't keep Correa, Keuchel from celebration
By Chad Thornburg
For most people on the East Coast, this weekend's winter storm was reason to stay indoors and avoid the frigid temperatures and heaps of snow. But Carlos Correa is not most people.
Correa, along with teammate Dallas Keuchel, braved the weather Saturday as some of baseball's finest were honored at the Baseball Writers' Association of America Awards presented by Esurance for their contributions in the 2015 season. When the Astros shortstop stepped to the podium to receive his American League Rookie of the Year Award, he offered an optimistic spin on the blizzard that prompted a New York City transportation shutdown.
"I want to thank everybody for making it out here in the snow, really bad weather," said Correa, who grew up in Puerto Rico. "I'm actually enjoying it, it's the first time I've seen snow so I'm going crazy out there diving into the snow, playing in the snow with my family."
The annual dinner was canceled due to the weather, but those who had already made the trip gathered with family for a scaled-back ceremony. The event is slated to be broadcast Friday at 10 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
Keuchel, the AL Cy Young Award winner, and Correa were among the many Major Leaguers to don their sharpest tuxes to accept their hardware. The duo represented the Astros in New York as just the second pairing in franchise history to earn two of the major BBWAA awards in a single season. Mike Scott won the Cy Young Award and Hal Lanier won Manager of the Year in 1986.
Coming off a breakout season in 2014, Keuchel elevated his performance last season, earning his first Cy Young Award. Keuchel went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts last season, helping his club reach the postseason for the first time since 2005. The lefty finished tops in the AL in wins (20), innings pitched (232) and WHIP (1.017) and was second in ERA and opponents' batting average (.217). The 28-year-old hurler thanked his family, girlfriend and agent, among others.
"Without you guys, I wouldn't be here," Keuchel said. "Thank you so much for your support. It means a lot to me. I look forward to a happy and healthy 2016 with the Astros."
Correa, meanwhile, made a splash of his own as the youngest position player in the Majors. The former No. 1 overall Draft pick batted .279 with 22 doubles, 22 homers, 68 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in just 99 games. Correa finished first among AL rookies in home runs, slugging (.512) and OPS (.857), and he did so as his Astros emerged as a surprise contender, with the club eventually reaching the AL Championship Series.
He also set the Astros franchise record for both home runs by a rookie as well as home runs by a shortstop in a single season, despite not making his big league debut until June 8. When it was time to accept his award, the 21-year-old used the opportunity to pay tribute to another Puerto Rican big leaguer, Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.
"Just reading about him and listening to stories from different people, he's my idol for life," Correa said. "I look up to him a lot, try to play the game hard like he did, respect the game. But for me, the most important thing he did was create an impact, a positive impact in the community and society.
"... Nothing would make me more proud than eventually wearing No. 21 on Roberto Clemente Day in my Astros uniform. For me, that will be something really special."
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.