Hamilton, Young honored by awards

Hamilton, Young honored by awards

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will have two special awards to recognize at their annual Sluggers of the West Awards Dinner on Jan. 23 in Dallas.

Shortstop Michael Young has been selected as the 2008 winner of the prestigious Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award and outfielder Josh Hamilton has been selected as the club's Player of the Year.

The Marvin Miller Award is administered by the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Each team nominates one player and the winner is voted upon by all Major League players. The award is presented to "the player in either league whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement."

Young, who is active with his wife Cristina in a number of off-the-field charities, is the first Rangers player to be selected.

"It's a credit to the guys that I'm surrounded by, not to mention the work that my wife has done," Young said. "I've been blessed with my career. We are at a point where we want to do everything we can to give back. The families and people we get to meet on an everyday basis by being active in the community is something we've gotten a great deal of joy out of."

Michael and Cristina have been actively involved in Wipe Out Kids Cancer for the past seven years, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending pediatric cancer through innovative research, education and treatment, while providing hope to children affected by cancer.

They have helped furnish an outpatient physical therapy room at Children's Medical Center, providing much-needed equipment; they have raised money for college scholarships and are honorary chairpersons of an annual golf tournament.

Last offseason, Michael and Cristina also undertook a shopping spree with 25 youngsters served by the Hotel Ministry, a branch of Mission Arlington. The shopping trip aided children who live in day hotels and have no real home, providing them with gifts to open on Christmas morning.

"I feel blessed with my career and my life," Young said. "My wife and I have a son of our own and we are at a point where we want to do anything we can to give back. It's really where we get the most enjoyment out of through the families we meet and the people we get to meet while being active in our community."

Young is also a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Action Team, a national youth volunteer initiative administered by the Players Trust and Volunteers of America that actively recruits high school kids to volunteer.

"The one thing I have seen working with these high school kids is that they are ambitious kids, whether it's through their schoolwork, community endeavors or volunteer work," Young said. "They're at an age where they are pretty impressionable and they're learning how to share that ambition by getting involved in other people's lives and learning to feel better about themselves by volunteering."

Hamilton, who was named the American League Outstanding Player on Tuesday, batted .304 with 98 runs scored, 32 home runs and 130 RBIs after being acquired from the Reds last winter. He was a starting outfielder on the American League All-Star team in July at Yankee Stadium.

Hamilton is just the ninth different player in the last 22 seasons (beginning 1987) to win the Rangers Player of the Year Award, and he is just the fifth player to win it in his first full season with Texas, joining Al Oliver (1978), Buddy Bell (1979), Mickey Rivers (1980) and Alex Rodriguez (2001).

Hamilton was also named to the Sporting News AL All-Star team on Friday.

The Sluggers of the West dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday, Jan. 23, at Eddie Deen's Ranch in Dallas. Net proceeds for the dinner benefit the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

Anyone interested in tickets for the dinner can visit texasrangers.com. Individual tickets are priced at $40 for Rangers season-ticket holders, $50 for non-season-ticket holders. Tables of eight, which include a Rangers celebrity, are $400 for season-ticket holders and $500 for non-season-ticket holders.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.