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Pujols, Herzog honored at Writers' Dinner

Pujols, Herzog honored at Writers' Dinner

ST. LOUIS -- The 52nd annual St. Louis Baseball Writers' Dinner featured not one, but two Men of the Year, and yet neither was the man of the night.

That would be Adam Wainwright, who received two awards and entertained the crowd in three different chances to speak. Fortunately, though, the dinner didn't revolve around any one star. Everyone had a moment.

Albert Pujols and new Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog shared Man of the Year honors, with Pujols winning or sharing that award for the ninth time in as many years in his career. Numerous members of the 1985 pennant-winning Cardinals team were honored, as were several '09 Cards.

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"I want to thank the 1985 team for their legacy that you guys left behind for us as young players to follow as Cardinals," Pujols said in his now-customary evening-ending speech. "But not just you guys. There are so many guys. ... That's what it's all about. This organization is about winning. It's about setting an example for young players. And that's what we try to do right now in this era."

Herzog did all he could to shine the light on his players, especially those who showed up to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their pennant.

"I don't think any manager in the history of the game -- and I don't know, because I wasn't with all of them -- but I don't see how anybody could enjoy managing 25 players like I had in 1985. It was the greatest bunch of individuals. ... The reason I'm going in the Hall of Fame, this '85 team had a lot to do with that."

Broadcaster Bob Costas won an award for meritorious service to sports, and took the opportunity to work the crowd for a few laughs. Referring to his recent interview with Mark McGwire, Costas quipped that he had also taken steroids, "but only to be able to get back on the air."

The jokes went over better in some parts of the room than others, but they weren't out of line with the evening's tone. Several honorees took jabs at the baseball writers, especially over Wainwright not winning the Cy Young Award.

That's just one way in which Wainwright's presence was all over the event.

He was presented with a copy of the Gold Glove Award that he will formally receive next season. He received an award for outstanding achievement in baseball. And he introduced friend and teammate Skip Schumaker, the winner of the Darryl Kile Award. Wainwright won the Kile Award in 2009.

"If I started to write a speech about Skip, I'd probably still be writing," Wainwright said. "Because the dude is first-rate."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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