HOUSTON – Batting champion Jose Altuve was selected as the American League winner of the 2017 Hank Aaron Awards, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday night.
Established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Awards are officially sanctioned by MLB and recognize the most outstanding offensive performers in each League.
Fans voted for the recipients on MLB.com, and for the eighth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron joined fans in voting for the Awards.
The Hall of Fame panel includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time, such as Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers – who combined for 17,010 hits, 8,844 RBI and 2,275 home runs – were all personally selected by Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.
Well-deserved hardware. pic.twitter.com/hobkWDSNgE— MLB (@MLB) October 25, 2017
“Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton (National League winner) are two of our sport’s elite offensive performers. While they have contrasting styles of play, Jose and Giancarlo demonstrate that talent, character and work ethic – attributes synonymous with the life and career of Hank Aaron – are the keys to success in our great game,” Commissioner Manfred said. “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate both players on their many contributions to a memorable 2017 season.”
“I am very proud of these two young men for their great accomplishments on the field, as well as how they carry themselves off the field,” Aaron said. “Not only are Jose and Giancarlo two tremendous baseball talents, but they also are wonderful ambassadors of our great sport and truly epitomize everything that is dear to me about baseball.”
In his seventh Major League season, Altuve became the first player in MLB history to lead the AL or NL in hits outright for four consecutive years.
In 2017 the Venezuela native led the Majors in batting average by hitting .346, earning his second consecutive Rod Carew American League Batting Championship, while leading the AL with 204 hits. Altuve finished tied for second in the AL in runs (112); was third in steals (32), OPS (.957) and on-base percentage (.410); and was seventh in slugging (.547).
He connected for 24 home runs, 81 RBI and 39 doubles. His consistently stellar season included a .347 batting average before the All-Star break and a .344 mark following it, as well as a .353 average against left-handed pitching alongside a .344 mark against right-handers.
Altuve hit a Major League-best .441 (26-for-59) in close-and-late situations with .661 slugging and a 1.190 OPS. The five-time All-Star also hit .361 from the seventh inning on and .342 with two outs. He became just the fourth right-handed hitter in Major League history to reach 200 hits in four or more consecutive seasons (per the Elias Sports Bureau), joining Michael Young (5, 2003-07) and Hall of Famers Kirby Puckett (4, 1986-89) and Al Simmons (5, 1929-33).
Altuve, who made his fourth consecutive appearance in the Midsummer Classic this season, is now the first Astro to win the coveted Hank Aaron Award.