Aramis Ramirez was selected by the fans as the winner of the 2008 Sharp presents Hank Aaron Award. The Hank Award recognizes the most outstanding offensive player of the year in each of the National League and American League. This is the 6th year in a row that fans have had a chance to participate in the voting and over 230,000 fans votes were cast for the 2008 award winners. The winners were announced prior to the start of World Series game 4 on Sunday, October 26th. The Hank Aaron Award was created in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking the all-time home run record of 714 held by Babe Ruth. Aaron is the only major league baseball player to amass more than 700 home runs, 2,000 RBI’s, 2,000 runs scored and 3,000 hits.
Ramirez hit .289 with 27 home runs and a team-high 111 RBI’s. Ramirez also scored 97 runs and hit 44 doubles – a career high. Ramirez also achieved a career high in on-base percentage at .380 and produced a .518 slugging percentage. It was the 6th time in his career that he has driven in at least 100 runners and it was the 6th consecutive season (7th overall) in which he has hit at least 25 home runs. In terms of being a clutch hitter, 11 of Ramirez’s 27 home runs gave the Chicago Cubs the lead in the game.
Kevin Youkilis was named the Hank Aaron Award winner for the American League. Youkilis hit .312 for the season – good for 6th in the A.L. That was a career high for Youkilis, along with his 168 hits, 43 doubles, 29 home runs and 115 RBI’s. His home run and RBI totals led the Red Sox team he took to the 7th game of the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays. Youkilis posted at least 15 RBI’s in each month this season – with his greatest month being August when he helped carry the team with a .351 batting average, 6 home runs and 24 RBI’s.
Aaron commented that both players demonstrated the “team first” attitude that he played with as a player during his illustrious career. Comments from both Ramirez and Youkilis echoed these sentiments, as neither player felt like they should even be mentioned in the same sentence as the great Hank Aaron and were honored to even be considered for the award. Previous Hank Aaron Award Winners include Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.