NEW YORK -- With the economy spiraling down, value is found in gold and silver. The Mets find it at third base, where their precious medals player tends to business. David Wright was named a Gold Glove recipient last week. Now he is a Silver Slugger Award winner as well.
Wright was elected the Silver Slugger third baseman in the National League for the second consecutive year after establishing career highs in runs (115), RBIs (124) and home runs (33) and leading all NL third basemen in seven offense categories. His RBIs equaled the Mets' record set by Mike Piazza in 1999.
"It's a very prestigious award and I am proud to win it, considering the people who vote for the award," Wright said in a statement released by the Mets on Thursday afternoon shortly after Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger, the official bat of Major League Baseball, announced the winners. "This honor will help motivate me to have an even better season in 2009."
Louisville Slugger recognizes the most outstanding offensive player at each position as determined by voting of coaches and managers in each league. Selections are based on statistics including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were prohibited from voting for players on their own team.
Wright also led NL third basemen in runs, in total bases (334) and hits (189) by wide margins and stolen bases (15) and walks (94) by narrower margins. He also placed second to Aramis Ramirez in doubles (42) and to Chipper Jones in batting average (.302 to Jones' .364), slugging percentage (.534 to Jones' .574) and on-base average (.390 to Jones' .470).
Carlos Beltran, a Silver Slugger outfielder in 2006 and '07, was not elected this year. Ryan Braun of the Brewers, Ryan Ludwick of the Cardinals and recently-traded Matt Holliday were the winners.
On the strength of his strong finish, Beltran was among the leading outfielders in most offensive categories. He led in runs, with 116, and was second to Ludwick in RBIs with 112. Beltran's 303 total bases and 92 walks were third-highest among regular outfielders, and his 40 doubles, 172 hits, .376 on-base average and 27 home runs were fourth, fifth, fifth and seventh, respectively. Beltran also finished seventh in stolen bases (25), eighth in slugging (.500) and 10th in batting average (.284).
The other members of the NL team include Braves catcher Brian McCann, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano.
A representative of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. will present specially-designed Silver Slugger trophies to the players elected in ceremonies early in the 2009 season. The three-foot trophies bear the engraved names of the recipients and the other Silver Slugger honorees in his league.
The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by H&B in 1980 as an extension of the Silver Bat Award.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com.