ARLINGTON -- The Rangers weren't sure what they would get from Josh Hamilton after acquiring him from the Reds in the offseason.
They knew he had prodigious talent, but they just weren't sure if he would be able to play every day. He was limited to 91 games because of injuries in 2007, and that was after sitting out 3 1/2 years because of health issues.
Turns out he was able to stay healthy and had a year to remember. In just his first season with Texas, Hamilton crashed into the top 25 in most home runs in a season by a Rangers player and into the top 10 for most RBIs.
He was voted into the American League starting lineup for the All-Star Game by the fans and put on a spectacular show during the State Farm Home Run Derby. Everything has fallen into place for Hamilton, and now he has been selected as the Rangers' nominee for the Hank Aaron Award.
Through Monday, Hamilton was hitting .303 with 94 runs scored, 31 home runs, 124 RBIs and a .531 slugging percentage. He was hitting .302 with runners in scoring position.
"Obviously the key was to stay healthy," Hamilton said earlier this month. "That's been the main reason why I've been able to put up numbers. And obviously teammates getting on base in front of me and giving me the opportunity to drive in runs -- that's been big."
This coveted honor is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league, with each club having a nominee. Fans can vote through Sunday, Oct. 12 to select the winner in each league. The winners will be announced prior to Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday, Oct. 26. Last year's winners were Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.
Hamilton started rolling in the second game of the season, when he hit a game-winning two-run home run off Mariners reliever J.J. Putz in Seattle, and he has been strong ever since. He has been among the American League leaders in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage for most of the season.
Hamilton is trying to become the first Rangers player to win the award since Alex Rodriguez won it in 2001-03.