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Press Release

10/24/2008 10:53 AM ET
Players bestow highest honors on Pujols, Young

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, the players’ choice as Player of the Year and Texas Rangers short stop Michael Young, as the Marvin Miller Man of the Year. The Major League Baseball Players Trust will honor Young and Pujols, the top Players Choice Award winners, with donations of $50,000 each to the charities of their choice. The Awards announcement was made today on Yahoo! Sports in the finale of an innovative, five-part Internet series highlighting the on-field performances and community leadership of Major Leaguers. The 2008 Players Choice Awards, presented by Playstation ®, benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Additional support for the Players Choice Awards is provided by The Topps Company and The Upper Deck Company.

Pujols dominated opposing pitching this season and finished second in the NL batting race with a .357 average while hitting 37 home runs and driving in 116 runs. His 104 walks, .462 OBP and 1.115 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) were all career-highs. He also became the only Major League player to hit at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in each of his first eight seasons. Pujols, 28, earlier in the week captured the National League Outstanding Player award and has now won a total of six Players Choice Awards since entering the league in 2001, placing him third all-time behind Alex Rodriguez (8) and Barry Bonds (7).

Young's exemplary leadership skills earned him 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. Young, 31, serves as an ambassador for Wipe Out Kids Cancer, an organization committed to eradicating pediatric cancer by funding innovative research, education and treatment. He is also an active member of the Major League Baseball Players Trust’s Action Team national youth volunteer program. As an Action Team player, he works closely with Dallas/Ft. Worth high school students to help inspire and train other students to become volunteers in their community. On the field, Young made his 5th consecutive All-Star Game appearance, and finished the season with a .284 batting average, 12 home runs, 82 RBIs and 102 runs scored. Defensively, Young posted a .984 fielding percentage, tops among all AL short stops.

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and 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.

Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.25 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

The 2008 Players Choice Awards finalists are:

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

Outstanding Player: Josh Hamilton (Texas), Justin Morneau (Minnesota), Dustin Pedroia (Boston)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Cliff Lee (Cleveland), Francisco Rodriguez (LA Angels of Anaheim)
Outstanding Rookie: Mike Aviles (Kansas City), Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay), Alexei Ramirez (Chicago)
Comeback Player of the Year: Josh Hamilton (Texas), Cliff Lee (Cleveland), Troy Percival (Tampa Bay)

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

Outstanding Player: Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), Chipper Jones (Atlanta), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Outstanding Pitcher: Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), CC Sabathia (Milwaukee), Brandon Webb (Arizona)
Outstanding Rookie: Geovany Soto (Chicago), Jair Jurrjens (Atlanta), Joey Voto (Cincinnati)
Comeback Player of the Year: Jorge Cantu (Florida), Fernando Tatis (NY Mets), Kerry Wood (Chicago)

EITHER LEAGUE:

Player of the Year: Cliff Lee (Cleveland), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Manny Ramirez (LA Dodgers)
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Michael Young (Texas)

Yahoo! Sports webcast schedule of the 2008 Players Choice Awards:

Monday, Oct. 20 – AL & NL Outstanding Pitchers - Winners: Cliff Lee (AL)/Tim Lincecum (NL)
Tuesday, Oct. 21 – AL & NL Outstanding Players - Winners: Josh Hamilton (AL)/Albert Pujols (NL)
Wednesday, Oct. 22 – AL & NL Outstanding Rookies - Winners: Evan Longoria (AL)/Geovany Soto (NL)
Thursday, Oct. 23 – AL & NL Comeback Players - Winners: Cliff Lee (AL)/Fernando Tatis (NL)
Friday, Oct. 24 – Player of the Year/Marvin Miller Man of the Year - Winners: Albert Pujols (POY)/Michael Young (MOY)