Fans can help decide each league's top slugger by voting through Oct. 14
By Mark Newman
"As a ballplayer, I always figured that I had a bat and all the pitcher had was a little ball, and as long as I kept swinging that bat, I'd be all right." -- Hank Aaron
This is the 25th anniversary of Aaron's revealing autobiography, "I Had A Hammer," and those words live on in describing the contenders for his prestigious namesake award. Voting is underway through Oct. 14 exclusively at MLB.com to help decide the recipients of the Hank Aaron Award, presented to two players who kept swinging better than anyone else in each league.
"It is truly a joy and an honor that the award recognizing the top offensive performers in the game has my name on it," Aaron said.
Will Big Papi go out in style with a second Aaron Award, having earned the honor in 2005? Will Cabrera match Alex Rodriguez for most Hammers with three? Will Donaldson, who won the award last fall along with Washington's Bryce Harper, join current teammate Jose Bautista and Cabrera as the only sluggers to repeat as an Aaron Award winner? You have a say. For the first time in the award's history, fans can also cast their votes on Twitter by using a unique hashtag for each finalist.
For the seventh consecutive year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players, led by Aaron himself, also will vote on the winners of the officially sanctioned MLB award. Ken Griffey Jr. has been added to the Hall of Fame panel, which also includes Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers -- who combined for 17,010 hits, 8,844 RBIs and 2,275 home runs -- have all been personally selected by Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each league.
Fourteen of this year's finalists were All-Star selections over the summer, and the 30 finalists combined to have been named All-Stars 76 times overall. The group also features 18 players under the age of 30, with 11 aged 25 or younger.
Winners will be announced during the 112th World Series.
Past winners include: Donaldson and Bryce Harper (2015); Giancarlo Stanton and Trout ('14); Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt ('13); Cabrera and Buster Posey ('12); Bautista and Matt Kemp ('11); Bautista and Votto ('10); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols ('09); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis ('08); Rodriguez and Prince Fielder ('07); Jeter and Ryan Howard ('06); Ortiz and Andruw Jones ('05); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds ('04); Rodriguez and Pujols ('03); Rodriguez and Bonds ('01-'02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton ('00); and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).
The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by MLB in more than 25 years.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.