Blackmon wins Rockies' 2016 Heart & Hustle Award

Blackmon wins Rockies' 2016 Heart & Hustle Award

DENVER -- Center fielder Charlie Blackmon was voted by former players as the winner of the Rockies' 2016 Heart & Hustle Award, which was presented by the MLB Players Alumni Association. He will be honored at an upcoming home game.

The MLBPAA announced the award Tuesday. Blackmon becomes a nominee for the MLBPAA's overall Heart & Hustle Award, and fans will be part of the voting.

The award goes to an active player on each team who demonstrates "a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game," according to the Colorado Springs-based MLBPAA. Each team has a committee and makes its choice based on "passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field."

Blackmon, in his third season as the Rockies' primary center fielder and leadoff hitter, is hitting .305 with a .368 on-base percentage. His batting average is third among leadoff men in the National League, but his 79 games are far more than the two ahead of him -- the Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki (.379 in 29 games) and the Brewers' Jonathan Villar (.314 in 60 games).

"[Charlie] plays as hard as anyone in baseball on every play, every day," Rockies director of pitching operations Mark Wiley said in the MLBPAA press release.

Later this season, fans, MLBPAA members and active payers will select an overall Heart & Hustle Award winner. Previous honorees are David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio ('06, '07), Grady Sizemore ('08), Albert Pujols ('09), Roy Halladay ('10), Torii Hunter ('11), Mike Trout ('12), Dustin Pedroia ('13), Josh Harrison ('14) and Anthony Rizzo ('15). The winner will be announced on Nov. 15 at the 17th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York. The event is the main fundraiser for free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics, which reach 15,000 children each year at 150 clinics.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.