Don Kelly, whose versatility on the field and punch at the plate helped the Tigers to a long playoff run in 2011, has been named the first recipient of the Tenth Man Award, presented by The Detroit Baseball Society.
Kelly will be recognized with a crystal commemorative artwork at the 11th annual Detroit Baseball Dinner, Jan. 28 at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.
The Tenth Man Award acknowledges the talents and efforts of a Tigers player who, while not always a starter, contributes to his team in multiple ways.
Kelly, 31, was a valuable performer in 2011, playing every position on the field but shortstop, including cameos as a pitcher and as a catcher. He appeared in 112 games for Jim Leyland's team, batting .245, with seven home runs, eight doubles, three triples, and two stolen bases. He also had a home run in the Tigers' divisional playoff clincher against the Yankees that put Detroit into the 2011 American League Championship Series.
"Don Kelly made such a contribution wherever he played," said Steve Clarfelt, president of The Detroit Baseball Society. "He always seemed to be hitting the big home run, or getting the key single or extra-base hit. His defensive work was sterling. And he was so versatile."
Additional information on The Detroit Baseball Dinner can be obtained at www.detroitbaseballdinner.com