Goldschmidt adds Heart & Hustle Award to historic season

November 16th, 2022

Announced as the winner of the MLB Retired Players Association’s Heart & Hustle Award on Wednesday -- and already the National League recipient of the Hank Aaron, Silver Slugger and MLBPA’s Outstanding Player awards -- Cardinals superstar has seemingly put himself in position to make it a clean sweep of the honors by capturing the NL MVP Award on Thursday.

Goldschmidt, a five-time top-six finisher in the voting for the NL MVP Award, has done that by putting together a 2022 performance that he described on Wednesday as being his “best season.”

“I think it was my best season,” Goldschmidt said on MLB Network on Wednesday. “Who knows what that means? Other guys had great years, too.

“I had a year or two in Arizona that were really good, but even last year [2021 with St. Louis] I thought that could have been my best year, even though those numbers weren’t quite as good as earlier. I was able to keep that going from ’21 to ’22, and we’ll see what happens [in the MVP voting].”

The 2022 BBWAA MVPs will be announced on Thursday night on MLB Network, and Goldschmidt positioned himself to take home the award following a season in which he led the NL in in OPS (.981) and slugging (.578) and finished in the NL’s top five in WAR (7.8, second), on-base percentage (.404, second), batting average (.317, third), home runs (35, fifth) and RBIs (115, second).

In addition to helping the Cardinals win 93 games and an NL Central title, he was a Gold Glove finalist and the franchise’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee. Goldschmidt can become the first Cardinal to win the MVP Award since Albert Pujols in 2009 and ’10.

Twice before, Goldschmidt has finished second in NL MVP voting. He was also third (2017) and sixth twice (2018 and ’21) in his career. He lost out to and in 2013 (NL bests 36 HRs, 125 RBIs) and ’15 (33 HRs, 110 RBIs) despite putting up magnificent numbers. This time around, teammate and Padres superstar  are MVP finalists along with Goldschmidt.

As for this year’s Heart & Hustle Award, Goldschmidt took pleasure in accepting the honor, because he prides himself on being consistent with his hustle, focus and approach to games. The award, which is voted on by retired and active MLB players, is designed to honor a player who “demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.” Past winners include , and .

Each MLB team named a Heart & Hustle Award candidate, and Goldschmidt beat out standouts such as , , , , and José Ramírez for the hardware this year.

“That’s something you can control -- how you play the game,” Goldschmidt said. “That’s something that’s very important to me and it’s something that was taught to me at a young age while watching all the big leaguers when I was a kid growing up. Now, understanding that we’re role models and how we go out and hustle and play the game, kids are emulating that. It’s something I’m thinking about every day when I take the field. So, to win this award is a great honor.”