SINCE 1992, THE PLAYERS CHOICE AWARDS HAVE RECOGNIZED THE OUTSTANDING ON- AND OFF-FIELD PERFORMANCES OF PLAYERS.
THE AWARDS HAVE SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE TO PLAYERS BECAUSE THE WINNERS ARE SELECTED IN BALLOTING AMONG THEIR PEERS.
THE 2021 PLAYERS CHOICE AWARDS WINNERS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP THEIR COMMUNITIES BY PARTNERING WITH THE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS TRUST. ON BEHALF OF THE PLAYERS, $70,000 WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE PLAYERS TRUST TO CHARITIES IDENTIFIED BY THE AWARDEES. SINCE 1996, THE PLAYERS TRUST HAS RECOGNIZED THE OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES OF PLAYERS CHOICE AWARDS RECIPIENTS, INVESTING MORE THAN $5 MILLION IN CHARITIES IDENTIFIED BY THE PLAYERS.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR & AL OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani provided fans, teammates and opponents with a captivating, historic season. He was the first player to be selected to an All-Star Game as both a pitcher and hitter, as well as the first player in league history to start the contest as a pitcher and hitter. He participated in the MLB Home Run Derby and slugged the second-most home runs (46) in baseball. In April, he became the first player since Babe Ruth in 1921 to enter a start as a pitcher while also leading (or co-leading) the league in homers. His WAR (9) led the league, and he was the first American League player ever to hit 45+ home runs, steal 25+ bases and score 100+ runs. On the mound, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts, with 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.
MARVIN MILLER MAN OF THE YEAR
Toronto Blue Jays
A nine-year MLB veteran, Marcus Semien has not only been an All-Star player, but also one of the game’s true leaders. Serving as an Executive Subcommittee Alternate Association Player Representative, he has had the opportunity to provide guidance on and off the field for his fellow major leaguers. This season, Semien had his best statistical campaign, but also had the opportunity to mentor some of the league’s brightest young stars on the Toronto Blue Jays’ roster. In Oakland with the Athletics, he won the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) Heart and Hustle Award twice, given to the player who best demonstrates a passion for baseball and “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball.”
CURT FLOOD AWARD
The late Mark Belanger, a longtime player advocate as an executive board member and the first former player hired to work for the union, is the 2021 recipient of the Curt Flood Award. The Curt Flood Award commemorates Flood’s historic judicial fight against baseball’s reserve system, which paved the way for free agency in the 1970s. The 2021 nominating committee, made up of seven former and current MLBPA executives, unanimously selected Belanger, who became a confidant of Miller and then-general counsel Don Fehr during his 18-year MLB career. Upon his retirement, Belanger went to work for the MLBPA, where he served as a special assistant for 15 years before his death at age 54.