Voting for the 2017 Players Choice Awards will take place in clubhouses across the country on Tuesday Sept. 19, giving players a chance to honor those who they consider the best among their peers.
Last week, thousands of fans took part in online voting to select the six finalists (one per division) for Marvin Miller Man of the Year that will appear on players’ ballots – David Robertson (AL East), Eduardo Escobar (AL Central), Mike Trout (AL West), Steven Matz (NL Central), Anthony Rizzo (NL Central) and Buster Posey (NL West).
Now, players in both leagues will vote on the overall winner of that prestigious award as well as an overall Player of the Year. Additionally, players will vote on the outstanding players, pitchers, rookies and comeback players in their respective leagues. Also on Tuesday, players will cast their votes for the “Always Game” award winner, presented by Majestic Athletic. “Always Game” will be presented to a player who – game in and game out – constantly exhibits grit, tenacity, perseverance and hustle; all for the benefit of his teammates and fans.
The accounting firm of KPMG conducts the player balloting.
Winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants from the Major League Baseball Players Trust totaling $260,000, including a $50,000 charitable contribution on behalf of both the Marvin Miller Man of the Year and the overall Player of the Year.
Over the 26-year history of the Players Choice Awards, the Players Trust and award recipients have contributed more than $4 million to charities around the world.
Curtis Granderson was named the 2016 Marvin Miller Man of the Year, which goes to the player whose on-field performance and contributions to his community most inspire others to higher levels of achievement. Other past recipients include Adam Jones, Clayton Kershaw, Mariano Rivera, Chipper Jones, Michael Young, Brandon Inge, Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols, Jim Thome, John Smoltz, Mike Sweeney, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Eric Davis and Paul Molitor.
You can find previous Players Choice Awards winners in all categories here.
Here’s a brief overview of the community involvement activities of each of the six fan-selected finalists for the 2017 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award:
David Robertson (AL East)
David and his wife, Erin, created High Socks for Hope in 2011 after a tornado devastated his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., to help those affected by natural disasters as well as homeless veterans. High Socks has helped thousands of families rebuild their lives. When hurricanes and flooding hit Texas and Florida this summer, the charity again moved to the forefront of relief efforts. The Robertsons also created Rick’s Fund in 2016 to honor Erin’s father, Rick, who lost a heroic battle to pancreatic cancer.
Eduardo Escobar (AL Central)
Eduardo grew up in the Barrio de la Pica, of the Maracay region in Venezuela and has never forgotten where he came from or his family’s struggles to provide basic necessities. Now Eduardo gives back through his foundation whose efforts include providing water and food to his hometown and surrounding areas and giving sports equipment to the local youth baseball teams. His giving extends to visiting the local children’s hospitals and schools in Minneapolis.
Mike Trout (AL West)
Since 2016, Mike has served as an ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, using his platform as an MLB superstar to educate the community about the value of the organization’s one-to-one mentoring programs. His role is to enhance recruitment efforts through social media advocacy, marketing and fundraising. Mike has also made monetary and equipment donations to his hometown Millville Thunderbolt Club, which supports Millville (NJ) High School athletic programs.
Steven Matz (NL East)
The mission of Steven’s TRU32 program is to say “thank you” to NYPD, FDNY, military, and other first responders. At each TRU32 Mets’ game, 32 first responders and guests meet Steven and attend the game free of charge. The TRU32 program also funds scholarships for children of first responders who lose their lives in the line of duty. Steven raises funds for Angela’s House in Long Island, a charity that assists families caring for children with special health care needs.
Anthony Rizzo (NL Central)
Anthony’s mission this year was to use his on-field success as a springboard for the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which he founded in 2012 to provide funding for cancer research. This year, it has raised millions of dollars for endowments at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami. It has also donated to the Family Reach Foundation, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and supported oncology summer camp programs.
Buster Posey (NL West)
Buster’s philanthropic focus is The Buster and Kristen Posey Fund. The fund provides grants to research hospitals and charitable organizations that support children diagnosed with pediatric cancer. Buster and his wife started the fund in 2016 and efforts include working with the V Foundation and introducing the Buster Posey Pediatric Cancer Awareness 9FORTY cap, and proceeds from the sale support pediatric research and treatment.
Also on Tuesday, players will cast their votes for the “Always Game” award winner, presented by Majestic Athletic. “Always Game” is presented to a player who – game in and game out – exhibits grit, tenacity, perseverance and hustle; all for the benefit of his teammates and fans.
To view a gallery of all the nominees, click here.