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Press Release

10/30/2009 11:44 AM ET
Pujols is Players Choice Player of the Year, Granderson Man of Year
Cardinal, Tiger recognized by peers for achievement on, off field

NEW YORK -- In a season marked by extraordinary performances on and off the field, Major League baseball players today bestowed their highest honors on two players -- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is Player of the Year and Detroit Tigers centerfielder Curtis Granderson is the Marvin Miller Man of the Year. The Major League Baseball Players Trust will honor Pujols and Granderson, the top Players Choice Award winners, with donations of $50,000 each to the charities of their choice. The Awards announcements were made this morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning show during the finale of an exclusive, five-day broadcast special presented by Upper Deck and benefiting the Major League Baseball Players Trust.

Pujols helped guide the Cardinals to their fourth NL Central Division crown in six years by leading the Majors in home runs for the first time, with 47. The eight-time Players Choice Award winner finished first among all National Leaguers in runs scored (124), on-base percentage (.443) and slugging percentage (.658), second in doubles (45) and third in batting average (.327), RBI (135) and walks (115). Pujols, 29, hit above .300 with 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI for the ninth consecutive season. Pujols has now been honored by his peers with Players Choice Awards as Player of the Year and NL Outstanding Player in 2003, 2008 and 2009, Marvin Miller Man of the Year in 2006 and NL Outstanding Rookie in 2001.

Granderson earned the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, named for the founding executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association and awarded to the player whose on-field and off -field performance most inspires others to higher levels of achievement, by displaying as much passion to give back to others as he shows between the lines on the baseball diamond . In 2008, he established the Grand Kids Foundation to focus on improving opportunities for inner-city youth in the areas of education and youth baseball. A graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, Granderson recently released a children’s book, All You Can Be, which encourages children to chase their dreams. He is also an active member of the Action Team national youth volunteer program administered by the Players Trust and Volunteers of America, which is inspiring and training the next generation of volunteers in more than 150 high schools across the United States. Granderson, 28, just completed his fourth full season in the Majors and set a career high in home runs (30), and finished with 157 hits, 91 runs scored, 23 doubles, 8 triples, 20 stolen bases and 71 RBI in 160 games with the Tigers.

To listen to a podcast of the Players Choice Awards announcements and player interviews, please click here.

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.

Each 2009 Players Choice Award winner will recommend the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.5 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

The 2009 Players Choice Awards finalists are [winners in bold & underlined]:

American League:

Outstanding Player: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Kendry Morales (LA Angels of Anaheim)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Zack Greinke (Kansas City), CC Sabathia (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Rookie: Elvis Andrus (Texas), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay)
Comeback Player: Russell Branyon (Seattle), Aaron Hill (Toronto), Scott Podsednik (Chicago White Sox)

National League:

Outstanding Player: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Outstanding Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
Outstanding Rookie: Chris Coghlan (Florida), Tommy Hanson (Atlanta), J.A. Happ (Philadelphia)
Comeback Player: Aaron Boone (Houston), Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Nick Johnson (Florida)

Either League:

Player of Year: Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson (Detroit), Torii Hunter (LA Angeles of Anaheim), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

ESPN Radio’s broadcast schedule for the 2009 Players Choice Awards:

Monday, October 26 -- AL & NL Outstanding Rookies -- Winners: Gordon Beckham (AL)/J.A. Happ (NL)
Tuesday, October 27 -- AL & NL Comeback Players
Wednesday, October 28 -- AL & NL Outstanding Pitchers
Thursday, October 29 -- AL & NL Outstanding Players
Friday, October 30 -- Marvin Miller Man of the Year & Player of the Year