Martin's defense among Rangers' GIBBY hopefuls

Texas also boasts nominees in Rodriguez and clever fan

Martin's defense among Rangers' GIBBY hopefuls

ARLINGTON -- Carlos Pena only hit one home run during his short time with the Rangers in 2014. But its landing spot puts it among the nominees for MLB.com's 2014 Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards.

Pena's home run came at home on June 25 against the Tigers. Batting in the sixth inning against pitcher Anibel Sanchez, Pena hit a high drive down the right-field line that cleared the fence and caromed into the picnic area next to the foul pole.

The ball ended up into a pan on barbecue brisket, adding sauce to the coveted souvenir.

Pena joins infielder Guilder Rodriguez, third baseman Adrian Beltre, center fielder Leonys Martin and a cunning young fan as the Rangers' nominees for the 2014 GIBBY Awards. Pena is nominated in the Oddity category.

Rodriguez is nominated in the Best Moment for his first Major League hit. Rodriguez was a September callup after 13 years in the Minors, and he delivered his first Major League hit with a single in the third inning off of Astros starter Nick Tropeano on Sept. 22.

Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2014 GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.

This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 25 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, bounceback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top regular-season play, outfield throw, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment, postseason storyline, postseason walk-off and postseason play. Fans can watch these and more by accessing MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.

In the past several seasons, fans have cast millions of votes across the GIBBY categories, none of which is restricted to individual league affiliation. That's how you know the GIBBYs consider the best of the best.

All 30 clubs are represented among the award candidates, a fact many consider to be a testament to the competitive balance around the game.

Fans can vote as many times as they want through Nov. 21 at 10:59 p.m. CT by visiting mlb.com/gibbys, and winners will be announced live on the MLB Network and MLB.com on Dec. 6.

Beltre is in the Walk-Off category for his game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave the Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Athletics on Sept. 25. The victory was the Rangers' seventh in a row.

Martin is nominated in two categories: Defensive Player and Outfield Throw.

The Rangers were playing the Orioles at Camden Yards on July 2, when Martin stole a home run away from Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the second inning by leaping high over the fence.

On May 17 against the Blue Jays, Martin caught Edwin Encarnacion's fifth-inning fly ball in center and made a terrific throw to the plate to gun down Jose Reyes.

Then there was the young fan who pulled a deceptive switch on a foul ball during the Rangers game against the Blue Jays on May 17. In the fourth inning, Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar bounced a foul ball that was snagged by third-base coach Luis Rivera.

Rivera turned and flipped the ball to a young boy sitting in the front row with glove in hand. Turns out the lad already had a baseball. He caught the souvenir, smoothly turned and flipped a baseball to a young lady sitting behind him.

As Blue Jays announcer Buck Martinez pointed out, the boy flipped the baseball that he already had in his possession. He kept the ball thrown to him by Rivera, although the lady thought she was getting an authentic souvenir.

That goes into the Cut 4 category.

Several categories -- Play, Oddity, Walk-Off and Cut4 Topic -- opened balloting with at least one nominee per club. After a week of voting, the four lists were trimmed to 10 finalists per group by a panel.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.