Players cast ballots to honor the 'best of the best'
Veteran third baseman Todd Frazier fills out his Players Choice Awards ballot deliberately each September, never forgetting how good he felt following his debut season in 2012 when his peers named him the National League's Outstanding Rookie.
“I was as proud as I could be because I knew it was the one chosen by the players,” Frazier said Tuesday, returning to his locker after this year's voting. “Players just understand a little more, to be honest with you, because we play. We see how the other guys do and how they match up. We understand what it takes. So when I was selected by the players that just meant a lot more to me.”
Frazier was among the hundreds of players in both leagues who participated in 2017 Players Choice Awards balloting in clubhouses across the country.
Players in both leagues voted for the Player of the Year as well as the 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.
Additionally, players selected the outstanding players, pitchers, rookies and comeback players in their respective leagues. The accounting firm of KPMG conducted the player balloting, sending representatives to each ballpark to oversee the voting and certify the results.
“You don't want to write names on a piece of paper for the sake of writing names, so I take my time,” veteran pitcher Dillon Gee explained over in Yankee Stadium's visitors' clubhouse. “These awards are a big deal to players, so you want to get it right and reward those guys who are having special seasons.
“The one I always like filling out is the comeback player because it speaks volumes about a person's work ethic. So I really take my time with that one and figure out who's come through some hardships and having a great season. But they're all meaningful awards, so you want to take your time, sift through the numbers and pick the best guy.”
There's even more to the awards than prestige and peer recognition for players. Winners in all categories 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.
So players were taking the balloting seriously on Tuesday, talking among themselves to make sure they selected the right name for each award, which will be announced in in early November on MLB Network.
“I try to take time and give the ballot all the consideration it deserves,” Frazier said. “Players work too hard and put so much into this game, so you want to recognize those guys who perform so well.”
To read more about the Players Choice Awards, including a complete list of all winners, please click here.