Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been selected to the 2008 American League Silver Slugger Team, it was announced today by Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of Louisville Slugger products. The awards recognize the best offensive players at each position in each league.
This is the first selection for Hamilton, who had his first season both with the Rangers and in the American League in 2008. He was named as one of three outfielders on the American League team by vote of the league managers and coaches. Hamilton was joined in the A.L. outfield by first-time selections Carlos Quentin (Chicago-AL) and Grady Sizemore (Cleveland). Nine of the 18 players on this year’s Silver Slugger Teams were honored for the first time.
Hamilton’s selection marks the first time a Texas player has been named to the A.L. Silver Slugger Team since first baseman Mark Teixeira and second baseman Alfonso Soriano in 2005. This is the first time a Texas outfielder has been voted to the team since Juan Gonzalez in his MVP season of 1998. In the history of the Silver Slugger Awards, which began in 1980, the only other Texas outfielders to be named to the team were Gonzalez (1992-93, 1996-98), Al Oliver (1980), and Ruben Sierra (1989). Hamilton is one of just four Rangers named to the team at any point in the past nine seasons (2000-08), joining Teixeira, Soriano, and Alex Rodriguez.
Hamilton batted .304 with 32 home runs, 130 RBI, and 35 doubles in his first campaign with the Rangers. He led the American League in both RBI and total bases (tied-331), joining Alex Rodriguez (2002) and Ruben Sierra (1989) as the only Texas batters ever to lead the league in those two categories in a season. Hamilton ranked among the league’s top 10 in hits, home runs, extra-base hits, and slugging, as his .901 OPS figure was the sixth-highest in the A.L. The league’s starting centerfielder in this year’s All-Star Game, Hamilton was also the A.L. Player of the Month in both April and May, his first two months with Texas. He led the league in all three Triple Crown categories as late as early June.
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This is the latest of many postseason honors for Hamilton, who was named the Players Choice A.L. Most Outstanding Player and also tabbed as a member of the Sporting News All-Star Team.
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 2009. The trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winner and his Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league.
2008 SILVER SLUGGER TEAMS
American League National League
1B – Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins 1B – Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
2B – Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox 2B – Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
3B – Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees 3B – David Wright, New York Mets
SS – Derek Jeter, New York Yankees SS – Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
OF – Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers OF – Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies
OF – Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox OF – Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals
OF – Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians OF – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
C – Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins C – Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
DH – Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles P – Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs