COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Thank you very much and a pleasure to be with you. This is the 15th year Major League Baseball has paid tribute to historic career of Hank Aaron through the Hank Aaron Award. The award recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league for a particular season.
Henry is undeniably one of the greatest players ever to step on a baseball field. In fact, I've said, and in my own personal opinion I said before, and I'll say it again, of my generation, he is certainly the greatest player I ever saw and the greatest player of that generation. More importantly, though, he's always represented himself with great poise, dignity and class. He's the embodiment of everything that is good about baseball. I'm lucky to consider Henry someone who's done so much for baseball, one of my dear friends. In fact we've joked today or I did, at least, that next week we've known each other for, let's see, I've got to figure about 55 years. And we're both going to be 80 years old next year. Who would have believed that back in 1958?
I'd like to extend a special thanks for the group of Hall of Famers who've agreed to join Hank and the fans in voting for this award. Their accomplishments at the plate throughout their career and participation in this process have reinforced the prestige of this remarkable award.
I'd like now to formally announce the winners of the Hank Aaron Award. First for the National League, proud to announce Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks as the winner. First time All Star, he had an outstanding offensive season, leading the League with 123 runs batted in, and tied for the National League's top mark in home runs with 36. Unfortunately Paul couldn't be with us today, as he is out of the country. But we wish to congratulate him on his season. I believe he's in Australia sort of promoting the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers next year. So he's in a great sense working for us today, and we're all looking forward to that trip.
As to the American League, the winner is Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. He's winning the award for the second straight year, and again had an amazing season. He led the majors and set a personal career best by hitting .348, capturing his third consecutive batting title. Pretty good. He's also second in all of baseball with 44 home runs and 137 runs batted in. So congratulations, Miguel, another really tremendous year.
And now I'd like to turn it over to my friend, Mr. Aaron, and Henry, the floor is yours.
HANK AARON: Thank you very much, Mr. Commissioner. Let me first thank all of the Hall of Famers who took their time to vote on these prestigious awards. When you mentioned 44, it reminds me of the number of times I hit No. 44. 44 home runs. That was all I could hit. I couldn't hit anymore (laughter).
Also I want to congratulate Miguel, really. I watched him play -- I might have said this was sometime before, but I watched him play when he was with the Florida Marlins. And I remember him so well. And I told someone then, I said, this kid is going to be an outstanding ballplayer. Not only a ballplayer, but an outstanding citizen. Someone that all of us can be very proud of. And I am so proud again to present this award to him.
I know it seems like every year he's here, but that's all right. Come next year, you can get it again. But he had an outstanding year. And you know the thing I think that is so remarkable about his year is the fact that, I may be saying something out of school now, but I remember the last two or three games or five games that he played, he played with -- he was great. He didn't play a hundred percent. And I just want to say congratulate because I remember the last few games that I played against Philadelphia when they going for the pennant and I played with almost a broken ankle.
But congratulations to you very much. And thank you, Mr. Commissioner. And again, let me think Miguel for his outstanding year, not only for himself, but for Detroit and all the people that he played before. Congratulations. (Applause.)
GREG AMSINGER: Before we hear from Miguel, Paul Goldschmidt could not be with us today, like the Commissioner said. He did send a short video to express his gratitude on winning the award. Let's watch.
PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT: (Via video) Hi, guys. Sorry I couldn't be there today. But I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for honoring me with the Hank Aaron Award. It's just a very big honor just to be mentioned alongside Hank Aaron and other great players in the game. And I just got to say thank you to friends and family, and the Diamondbacks organization for giving me the opportunity to play baseball. And of course the coaching staff and front office here. But probably most of all, the teammates here I've had with the Diamondbacks this year. Just really enjoyed this year, getting to play with them and learned a lot from the guys I played with, the guys I played with in the past. And there was a lot of things to go around.
And I'm happy to win this award, and just honored to be mentioned along with some of the great players in the game of baseball.
GREG AMSINGER: Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks (applause).
Now, Miguel if you'd like to share a few words about winning the award.
MIGUEL CABRERA: Thank you very much to the Commissioner, Mr. Hank Aaron, to give me this great opportunity to be here. It is a great honor. I don't expect to win any hardware. I expect to win games and I hope always to go out there and win championship. We came short this year, but I think we had a great team. I think this hardware is for my whole team, because without my team, I am not able to put numbers in the field, or to win games on the field. Thank you very much to the Detroit Tigers, my teammates, and the great organization I play with (applause).
GREG AMSINGER: We'd like to open it up for a quick Q and A session. If we could keep the questions pertaining to the Hank Aaron Award for Miguel, that would be great.
Q. Miguel, congratulations. Last year when you got this award, it was during the World Series, you were very busy. Today have you had more time to speak to Mr. Aaron? And if so, what have you had a chance to talk about?
MIGUEL CABRERA: About hitting, you know (laughter). He say he only hit 44 home runs in a year. I think we came short in that. You know, I tried to follow his steps. It's very hard because he's one of the greatest player that ever played this game. He's a great example to us to go out and try to do our best and try to help our team to win games.
Q. Can you say in Spanish what it means to you to win this award?
MIGUEL CABRERA: (Answer in Spanish.)
Q. Since Henry brought it up and we covered you, the last month of the season, and you tried to downplay it, how difficult was it to play with the injuries that you had in September and in October in the playoffs?
MIGUEL CABRERA: At that time it was hard to talk to me about how I was feeling, because I always try to focus about how I am able to help my team to win games. That time I would try to take off the negative stuff. We understand I was hurt, but I don't want to open up and try to tell the other team that I was hurt, and say I was like such percent, because I don't want to give any team the opportunity, like the weakness, like I was weak. I want to be out there strong. I want to be on the field and try to compete and try to win some games.
So it was hard to play like that, but I want to play like that -- I want to go out and help my team like that. It was my choice.
Q. (Question in Spanish.)
MIGUEL CABRERA: I don't expect to win the MVP this year. Like I said before, I never expect to win anything. I always play to win games. I always expect to win championships. That was my goal.
MODERATOR: Congratulations to Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt, the winners in each league.