OAKLAND, Calif. - Stephen Vogt, who has proved invaluable in playing five different positions for the Oakland Athletics and leading the team in hitting, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award, which honors an A's player whose play on the field and conduct in the clubhouse best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspirational spirit demonstrated by the late Hall of Fame pitcher. The award is voted upon by Oakland A's players, coaches and staff.
Vogt (pronounced "vote"), recalled from Triple-A Sacramento June 1, has batted .300 with 10 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 32 RBI in 76 games. In battling injuries to both feet, the 29-year-old Visalia, Calif. native has inspired his teammates by contributing at the plate as well as playing first base (34 games), right field (13), catcher (8), designated hitter (5) and left field (1).
Playing parts of three seasons in the major leagues with Tampa Bay (2012) and Oakland (2013-14), Vogt hit .252 with four homers and 16 RBI in 47 games last season with the A's, providing a late-season spark and delivering a game-winning RBI single in Game 2 against Detroit in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Division Series. He started at catcher in all five games of last year's ALDS.
This annual award, which was established in 2004, is named after Jim "Catfish" Hunter, a native of Hertford, N.C who posted a 224-166 record and 3.26 ERA during 15 Major League seasons with the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees. He holds Oakland's all-time career mark for wins (131) and won 20 or more games in five consecutive seasons (1971-75). In 1974, he won the American League's Cy Young Award after winning a career-high 25 games.
"Catfish" earned five World Series rings during his career and was 4-0 with one save in seven World Series appearances with the A's. An eight-time All-Star, he made his Major League debut in 1965 with the Kansas City Athletics and did not miss a start until the 1977 season. Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987, Hunter is one of five Oakland players to have had his number retired, along with Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Eckersley and Rickey Henderson.
Hunter was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in September of 1998 and died of complications from the disease on Sept. 9, 1999 at the age of 53. Previous winners of the Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award include Tim Hudson (2004), Mark Ellis (2005, 2007), Jason Kendall (2006), Mike Sweeney (2008), Kurt Suzuki (2009), Ben Sheets (2010), Josh Willingham (2011), Jonny Gomes (2012) and Coco Crisp (2013).
Vogt will receive the Catfish Hunter Award in an on-field presentation prior to tomorrow's afternoon game against the Phillies (1:05 p.m.).