TORONTO -- In a pre-game ceremony tonight, Blue Jays designated hitter, Frank Thomas, was honored as 2006 American League Comeback Player. Selected in a secret ballot of all players in the American League, Thomas received the Players Choice Award for an outstanding season in which he hit 39 home runs and drove in 114 runs with Oakland, after missing most of the 2005 season with hip, foot and ankle injuries. This is Franks fourth Players Choice Award, having captured the AL Outstanding Player award in 1993 and 1994 and the AL Comeback Player award in 2000. Franks teammate, Vernon Wells, presented him with his trophy.
In Franks honor, the Major League Baseball Players Trust will contribute $10,000 each to his hometown Boys & Girls Club in East Columbus, Georgia, and to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of a younger sister who passed away from the disease when he was 10. 2006 Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totalling $260,000 from the Players Trust.
Through the Players Trust, Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and celebrity to call attention to important causes affecting the needy and to help encourage others to get involved in their own communities. In partnership with Volunteers of America, the national human service organization, the Players Trust created and helps administer the Action Team, a national youth volunteer program currently inspiring the next generation of volunteers in cities throughout the United States. For more information on the Major League Baseball Players Trust, please visit www.MLBPLAYERS.com.
The Players Choice Awards winners (Outstanding Pitchers, Rookies, Comeback Players, Player of the Year and the Marvin Miller Man of the Year) were selected by secret ballot of all Major League baseball players, under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
The 2006 Players Choice Awards Winners & Runners-up (winners in bold type):
Outstanding Player: David Ortiz (Boston), Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Jermaine Dye (Chicago White Sox)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Johan Santana (Minnesota), Justin Verlander (Detroit)
Outstanding Rookie: Francisco Liriano (Minnesota), Jonathan Papelbon (Boston), Justin Verlander (Detroit)
Comeback Player of the Year: Magglio Ordonez (Detroit), Frank Thomas (Oakland), Jim Thome (Chicago White Sox)
Outstanding Player: Miguel Cabrera (Florida), Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Outstanding Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Brandon Webb (Arizona), Carlos Zambrano (Chicago Cubs)
Outstanding Rookie: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Dan Uggla (Florida), Ryan Zimmerman (Washington)
Comeback Player of the Year: Joe Borowski (Florida), Nomar Garciaparra (Los Angeles Dodgers), Scott Rolen (St. Louis)
Player of the Year: Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), David Ortiz (Boston), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Albert Pujols (St. Louis), John Smoltz (Atlanta), Jim Thome (Chicago White Sox)