Major League Baseball announced today that Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants have been selected as the winners of the 2012 Hank Aaron Award. This is the first time both winners of the award are meeting in the World Series. Established in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and recognizes the most outstanding offensive performers in each League.
Fans voted for the award on MLB.com, and for the third straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron joined fans in voting for the award. The Hall of Fame panel – personally selected by Hank Aaron – consisted of Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers are some of the greatest offensive players of all-time who combined for 15,890 hits, 1,643 home runs and 7,281 RBI. Their votes joined those cast by fans online exclusively at MLB.com.
"I congratulate Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey on earning the 2012 Hank Aaron Awards as the most outstanding offensive players in each League," Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. "Miguel joined historic company this year by winning the game's first Triple Crown in 45 years, and Buster was a consistent force in returning to the field triumphantly this year. Most importantly, Miguel and Buster helped their Clubs reach the World Series. I salute them on winning an Award named in honor of a pillar of our game, my friend Hank Aaron."
“It is a real privilege to have my name on the award that recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League,” said Hank Aaron. “I want to congratulate Miguel and Buster on their fantastic seasons and express my gratitude to the Hall of Famers and fans who helped select this year’s winners.”
Cabrera ended a 45-year gap between Triple Crowns, which had been the longest streak in baseball history, by leading the American League with a .330 batting average and pacing all of Major League Baseball with 44 home runs and 139 RBI for the 2012 A.L. Champion Tigers. The Venezuela native became the first Latino-born winner of the Triple Crown. Cabrera, a seven-time All-Star, is now the fourth consecutive Triple Crown winner to lead his club to the World Series, following in the footsteps of Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle (1956), Frank Robinson (1966) and Carl Yastrzemski (1967). The 29-year-old topped the A.L. with 377 total bases, 84 extra-base hits and a .606 slugging percentage, while he was second with 109 runs scored and 205 hits, fourth with a .393 on-base percentage and seventh with 40 doubles. Cabrera won his second consecutive A.L. batting crown in 2012, becoming the first Tiger to lead the League in hitting in consecutive seasons since Hall of Famer Ty Cobb did so for three straight seasons from 1917-1919. Cabrera, who shifted from first base to third base before the 2012 season, has now reached base safely in all 22 of his career Postseason games with the Tigers, passing the 18-game streak by Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg for the longest stretch in franchise history, and he set a League Championship Series record by hitting safely in all 17 LCS games in which he has played in his career, passing the 15-game LCS streaks by Pete Rose and Manny Ramirez (courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau). Cabrera has eclipsed the 100 RBI mark in every full season of his Major League career, and he has hit at least .320 in seven of the last nine seasons.
Posey, whose .336 batting average led all of Major League Baseball, became the first National League catcher to win the batting title since Ernie Lombardi of the Boston Braves in 1942. The 25-year-old Florida State product led the Giants in home runs (24), RBI (103), doubles (39), walks (69), on-base percentage (.408) and slugging (.549). The 2010 N.L. Rookie of the Year, who played in just 45 games in 2011 after sustaining a season-ending injury on May 25th, ranked among League leaders in on-base percentage (2nd), slugging percentage (4th), RBI (6th), multi-hit games (52, T-6th), total bases (291, T-7th), hits (178, T-8th), doubles (T-8th) and walks (10th). Posey, who was selected by the Giants with the fifth overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was named to his first All-Star Game in 2012 after setting a new N.L. single-season balloting mark with 7,621,370 votes. The Georgia native appeared in 148 games, including 111 starts behind the plate, 29 starts at first base and three starts as the designated hitter. Posey became the sixth player in franchise history (seventh time) to win a batting title, joining Roger Connor (1885), Jack Glasscock (1890), Larry Doyle (1915), Bill Terry (1930), Willie Mays (1954) and Barry Bonds (2002 and 2004). Posey’s grand slam in the decisive Game Five of the Division Series at Cincinnati was the key to a six-run fifth inning en route to a 6-4 Giants win, which sent the club back to the National League Championship Series. It was only the third grand slam ever by a catcher in Postseason history, joining Hall of Famer Yogi Berra in the 1956 World Series and Atlanta’s Eddie Perez in the 1998 Division Series, and it was also the third in Giants history. As a rookie in 2010, Posey batted .300 (6-20) with a home run and two RBI to help the Giants win the first World Series in the franchise’s San Francisco history.
Past winners of the award include: Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).