In his fourth straight season as a nominee, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia on Tuesday night was honored for the first time as the overall recipient of the 2013 Heart and Hustle Award.
The only Major League Baseball award to be voted on by former players, the Heart and Hustle Award has been given annually since 2005 to players "who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values." Pedroia has been the Red Sox's recipient of the award in each of the last four years.
Pedroia was announced as this year's winner at the 14th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. Though Pedroia was not in attendance, the second baseman made an acceptance speech in a video appearance.
"Sorry I couldn't be there tonight to accept this award. It's a huge honor for me to win this award. It's a very special award," Pedroia said. "I'd like to thank a lot of people. The Red Sox organization obviously, the coaching staff and my teammates. All the coaches who have ever been part of my career, for pushing me and trying to help me play the game the right way, to work hard, put in the time.
"If you put in the time and prepare the right way, you'll get results in the end. I thank my parents for always pushing me in the right direction and making me do the right thing. I thank my wife and two boys for putting up with me and hanging in there through the grind and being there with me. ... It means the world to me."
The event also honored Lifetime Achievement Award winners Ozzie Smith and Bobby Richardson, while also recognizing former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield as the Robinson Community Service Award winner.
As for the Heart and Hustle Award, Pedroia becomes the first Red Sox player to take home the honor. The four-time All-Star and 2008 American League Most Valuable Player Award winner joins past winners Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, Roy Halladay, Albert Pujols, Grady Sizemore, Craig Biggio and David Eckstein. Biggio is the only two-time winner, having won the honor in back-to-back seasons (2006 and '07).
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.