Trio of Yanks named Silver Sluggers
Jeter, Posada among winners; A-Rod honored for ninth time
NEW YORK -- The Yankees were the club that produced the Major Leagues' most runs in 2007, so it was only fitting on Friday that three players collected individual awards closely related to that team effort.
Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez were rewarded with American League Silver Slugger Awards, recognizing their offensive contributions in helping the Yankees to a 94-victory season and the AL Wild Card.
Louisville Slugger's Silver Slugger Award winners were determined in balloting of Major League coaches and managers who were asked to vote for the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both leagues in 2007.
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.
The last club to have three winners in the same season was the 2005 Red Sox, who had David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek receive the awards.
Rodriguez, 32, was a Silver Slugger for the second consecutive year and the ninth time in his career. As the probable AL Most Valuable Player, Rodriguez led the big leagues in home runs (54), runs scored (143) and RBIs (156), establishing new career highs in the latter two categories.
The season made Rodriguez just the fourth player in Yankees history to reach 150 RBIs, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.
"It's something that I'll definitely cherish for the rest of my career," Rodriguez said in September. "It's hard to do, because the home run is an individual thing and a glamorous thing, but the RBIs and runs scored are more involved with winning, more involved with teammates and more of a team effort."
Rodriguez, who opted out of his contract during Game 4 of the World Series and is currently a free agent, also led the Major Leagues with a .645 slugging percentage and one RBI every 3.7 at-bats, tying for the big league lead with three grand slams.
Rodriguez's nine career Silver Slugger Awards tie him for third all time behind Barry Bonds (12) and Mike Piazza (10). Ramirez and Barry Larkin also have nine awards.
Posada won his fifth Silver Slugger Award and his first since 2003. The 36-year-old catcher had a renaissance campaign, batting a career-high .338, ranking fourth in the AL.
Posada, who also had 20 homers, 90 RBIs and a career-high 42 doubles, became the first Yankees catcher to finish a season in the league's top 10 in batting since Thurman Munson in 1978.
The offensive statistics were especially remarkable considering the wear and tear that is intrinsic with the catching position. Since 1940, only four players appearing primarily at catcher have recorded a higher single-season batting average -- Joe Torre (.363 in '71), Mike Piazza (.346 in '95 and .362 in '97) and Joe Mauer (.347 in '06).
"You just go out there," Posada said in September. "You get ready and you get prepared, and you look forward to the next day. Some days, it's worse than others. It's all health, and adrenaline really kicks in sometimes.
"There's no second wind. When you play 162 games, there is no second wind."
Jeter, 33, won his second Silver Slugger Award, having also brought home the honor in 2006. Jeter batted .322 and ranked third in the AL with 206 hits -- his sixth 200-hit season, joining Gehrig (eight) as the only players in franchise history with as many as four.
Over the past 10 seasons, Jeter ranks first in the Major Leagues with 1,971 hits and second with 1,154 runs scored. Jeter's .354 batting average with runners in scoring position ranked eighth in the AL this season, further reinforcement of his long-held reputation as a "clutch" player.
"You're not always going to come through, but I enjoy them," Jeter said in September. "Ever since you're a little kid, you think of being up in big situations. I think you always envision yourself coming through."
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, early in the 2008 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 National League.
This year's Silver Bat Award winners are Colorado's Matt Holliday and Detroit's Magglio Ordonez. Holliday hit .340 to win the NL batting title. Ordonez led the Major Leagues in batting with a .363 average to claim the AL honor. Both will receive their Silver Bat Awards in on-field presentations early in the 2008 season.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.