Young named Rangers Player of the Year
Infielder also recognized for Marvin Miller Man of the Year award
By Todd Wills / Special to MLB.com | 01/13/12 12:23 AM EST
ARLINGTON -- Michael Young has been the face of the Rangers for over a decade now, and he was the face of Thursday night's first annual Rangers Awards Show sponsored by Dr. Pepper at the Arlington Convention Center.
Young was named the Rangers Player of the Year for the fifth time, matching Juan Gonzalez's team record.
Young was also given his 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year award. It's the second time he's won that prestigious honor, which is voted on by Major League players and presented 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."
Young put together the best offensive season of his career. He had a career-high .338 batting average, a career-high 106 RBIs and passed 2,000 career hits. He made the All-Star team for the seventh time, playing mostly as the designated hitter while also playing first, second and third base.
Young said before the award ceremony that it was an honor to win the team MVP again after the Rangers made it to their second straight World Series. He was presented the award by All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton.
"It's an honor because of the guys that we have," Young said, "and because of the team that we have. It seems like every time I get one of these it means more than the last one. When I got this award in '07, we kind of scuffled a little bit. But you look back and maybe it's a building block on what we've done recently. In time I start to appreciate them a little more, and this is a cool award because I play with such great teammates."
Young won the Marvin Miller award for the second time, becoming the third player to win it twice (he also won it in 2008). He joined John Smoltz (2002, 2003) and Jim Thome (2001, 2004) as multiple award winners.
Young was presented the award by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, the Dallas native who won the National League Cy Young Award this season.
"It means a lot," Young said. "Coming from my peers it's a cool award. I know when we vote for those things and you see who the finalists are you don't even have to read about their little biographies. Everyone knows who gives back to the community and finds a way to give back off the field. So to be mentioned with those kinds of guys, and to be mentioned and to be chosen by my peers is an honor."
C.J. Wilson, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels in December, was voted the Rangers Pitcher of the Year. Center fielder Craig Gentry was named Rangers Rookie of the Year and outfielder David Murphy was voted the Harold McKinney Good Guy Award winner, voted on by the local Baseball Writers' Association chapter.
Relief pitcher Darren Oliver, who recently signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, received the 2011 Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award. Slugger Frank Howard was given the 2012 Mark Holtz Texas Rangers Alumni Award.
The 2011 Rangers Minor League Awards were given to Justin Miller (Reliever of the Year), Ryan Strausborger (Defender of the Year), Jurickson Profar (Tom Grieve Player of the Year) and Robbie Ross (Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year).
Kershaw, from Dallas suburb Highland Park, was presented with the 2011 Texas Professional Player of the Year. Kershaw had 21 victories, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts while winning the pitching triple crown.
"I love Los Angeles," Kershaw said when asked if he would consider playing in his hometown someday. "We'll just have to wait and see