10/18/2007 9:13 AM -
New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins head an impressive list of 2006 Major League Baseball honorees who will receive Legacy Awards from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM). Rodriguez and Rollins were named winners of the Oscar Charleston Legacy Award as the museum’s choice for Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the National League (NL) and American League (AL) respectively. Rodriguez is also the NL recipient of the Josh Gibson Award for his league-leading 54 home runs.
The NLBM will honor Rodriguez, Rollins and other award recipients at the 8th Annual Legacy Awards, 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008 at the Gem Theater in Kansas City, MO. Proceeds from the event support the NLBM and the building of the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center.
The Legacy Awards, established by the NLBM in 2000, annually recognizes the best Major League baseball players, managers, and executives, with awards given in the name, and spirit, of Negro Leagues legends such as Charleston, Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and the late Buck O’Neil. The awards event recognizes both on- and off-the-field achievement with baseball awards presented to both NL and AL honorees.
The NLBM named its MVP honors for Charleston because he is widely regarded by his contemporaries as the greatest baseball player ever. The late Buck O’Neil said that Charleston was “Willie Mays before there was ever a Willie Mays.” Charleston was heralded as a complete ball player who could beat you in every facet of the game. His aggressive play drew comparisons to Ty Cobb; his batting prowess was compared to Babe Ruth, and his defensive abilities likened to Tris Speaker.
Rodriguez was the only Major League recipient to earn multiple honors in 2007. This year’s honor makes him a four-time recipient of the Charleston Award (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007) and a five-time Gibson award winner (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007). This season, the Yankees third baseman was the game’s most dominant offensive force hitting .314 while leading the Majors with 54 home runs and 156 RBI. His clutch play kept the Yankees in the pennant chase and secured the team’s Wild Card play-off spot.
Rollins was the spark that ignited a late-charging Phillies team and propelled them to a remarkable come-from-behind NL East title. The dynamic shortstop played stellar defense and became only the fourth player in baseball history to record at least 20 stolen bases, 20 homers, 20 triples and 20 doubles in a season. He led the NL with 139 runs scored and a league-leading 20 triples. Rollins is a two-time Legacy Award winner having earned the Cool Papa Bell award for leading the NL in stolen bases (46) in 2001.
Baseball legend Orestes “Minnie” Minoso will be honored as the recipient of the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award. Minoso was a standout performer for the Negro League’s New York Cubans before signing with the Cleveland Indians in 1948. He would be traded to the Chicago White Sox and became the first Black player to play for the White Sox in 1951. Minoso was a seven-time All-Star and one three gold gloves during his illustrious career.
Oscar Charleston Award-presented to the NL and AL “MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS”
Bullet Rogan Award-presented to the NL and AL “PITCHERS OF THE YEAR”
Josh Gibson Award-presented to the NL and AL “HOME RUN” leaders
James “Cool Papa” Bell Award-presented to the NL and AL “STOLEN BASE” leaders
Walter “Buck” Leonard Award-presented to the NL and AL “BATTING CHAMPIONS”
Andrew “Rube” Foster Award-presented to the NL and AL “EXECUTIVES OF THE YEAR”
Charles Isham “C. I.” Taylor Award-presented to the NL and AL “MANAGERS OF THE YEAR”
Larry Doby Award-presented to the NL and AL “ROOKIES OF THE YEAR”
Hilton Smith Award-presented to the NL and AL “RELIEVERS OF THE YEAR”
Sam Lacy Award-presented to the “BASEBALL WRITER OF THE YEAR”
2007 Recipient: Minnie Minoso, Former Negro Leagues and Major League great
John “Buck” O'Neil Award-presented to a local or national corporate/private philanthropist for “OUTSTANDING SUPPORT OF THE NLBM”
2007 Recipients: Bank of America & State Farm Insurance Companies
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is also planning a "Remembering Buck" Memorial Birthday Tribute for Saturday, November 10 at the Gem Theater accross from the museum. More information on the event will be made available at www.nlbm.com.
About the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum