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First-time honors for nine of 18; Rodriguez clenches tenth award

LOUISVILLE, KY – While some are familiar faces, half of those selected for the top offensive award in Major League Baseball® this year are first-time honorees. Six of the nine American League winners are taking home the Louisville Slugger® Silver Slugger™ Award for the first time. On the other hand, Alex Rodriguez’s selection gives him a total of ten Silver Slugger trophies; only Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza have collected more.

The Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball® coaches and managers who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues in 2008. Selections were based on a combination of offensive statistics including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

Among the teams represented by this year’s winners, the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and the Minnesota Twins each had two honorees. The Yankees’ Rodriguez won his second straight trophy, while Derek Jeter picked up his third award. Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals won his fourth award overall—this year’s honor is his first since 2004. Fellow Cardinal Ryan Ludwick is a first-time honoree.

Joe Mauer of the Twins collected his second Silver Slugger ™ Award; he won his first award in 2006. Teammate Justin Morneau is a first-time honoree. All three of the top offensive outfielders for the American League are first-time honorees—Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Carlos Quentin of the White Sox and Grady Sizemore with the Indians.

American League
1B – Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins
2B – Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
3B – Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
SS – Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
OF – Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
OF – Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox
OF – Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians
C – Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
DH-- Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles

National League
1B – Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
2B – Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
3B – David Wright, New York Mets
SS – Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
OF – Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies
OF – Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals
OF – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
C – Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
P – Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs

Chase Utley of the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies and Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies each now have three awards and they both have been named to the Silver Slugger team three years in a row.

David Wright of the New York Mets, Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves and Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs are all second-time winners of the Silver Slugger. Wright won the award in 2007, while McCann and Zambrano both won in 2006.

The other winners in the senior circuit are new honorees. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins picks up his first win along with Ryan Braun with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The specially designed Silver Slugger Award will be presented to each player by a representative of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, in a ceremony early in the 2009 season. The trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winner and his Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league.

The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by H&B in 1980 as a natural extension of the Silver Bat Award which is, as its name indicates, a silver-plated bat presented by Louisville Slugger to the batting champions in the AL and NL. This year’s Silver Bat Award winners are Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves and Joe Mauer of the Twins. Jones hit .364 to lead the majors and win the NL batting title. Mauer hit .328 to claim the AL honor. Both will receive their Silver Bat Awards in on-field presentations early in the 2009 season.

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