Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is making MLB history…
The 22-year-old Dominican-Canadian professional baseball infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays has been named the winner of the 2021 American League Hank Aaron Award.
He’s the youngest player to win the award, and only the fourth Blue Jay to receive the honor.
Guerrero hit .311/.401/.601 with 48 home runs, 111 RBIs, 123 runs scored and 363 total bases. He led MLB in runs and total bases, tied for the Major League Baseball lead in homers and paced the AL in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. Guerrero was also a first-time MLB All-Star in 2021.
“I’m very proud to be able to work hard and have my hard work shine through with an award like this,” Guerrero said on the MLB Network broadcast, via interpreter Alanna Rizzo. “I’m very proud and very happy.”
Bestowed annually since 1999, the Hank Aaron Award honors the best overall offensive performer in each league. Guerrero is the fifth Blue Jays hitter to win the award, and the first since Josh Donaldson in 2015. Bryce Harper received this year’s honor in the National League.
This year’s other AL finalists were Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, A’s first baseman Matt Olson, Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez.
The award is decided by a special panel of Hall of Fame players from a list of seven finalists in each league, which is determined by a panel of MLB.com writers. Each team submits a candidate.
Previously, Aaron helped select the panel of Hall of Famers who voted for the award winner. Aaron died in January at age 86. Aaron’s widow, Billye, spoke of her husband’s legacy on MLB Network’s announcement show.
“He did so much to enhance many causes,” Billye Aaron said. “We sat and talked about trying to help kids, who, like Henry was at the time, were trying to find themselves and follow their dreams.”
Said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred: “While Hank Aaron’s impact on the field was so significant we named an on-field achievement award after him, he was so much more than an all-time great baseball player. He was a successful baseball executive, businessman, social activist, philanthropist, baseball ambassador, role model and a loving husband and father.”