Cutch wins for Best Player-Fan Interaction
Star outfielder's touching gift earns Esurance MLB Award
PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen helped paint one of the season's most enduring images on May 30 at Petco Park. It wasn't a walk-off home run or a game-saving grab in center field. In fact, it happened after the final out of the Pirates' 5-2 win.
McCutchen rushed back to the outfield wall and handed his batting gloves to two children who had been cheering for him all game, prompting a joyous outburst from the young Pirates fans. McCutchen's postgame gift surely created a lifelong memory, and on Friday it was named the Best Player-Fan Interaction in the Esurance MLB Awards.
While McCutchen is known for his All-Star performance on the field, this is the second time this offseason McCutchen has been recognized for his giving spirit. The 29-year-old also received the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award during the World Series.
McCutchen is actively involved in community work, saying he's focused on giving back because baseball has given him so much. In San Diego, McCutchen showed that even a small gesture can have a lasting impact.
McCutchen's gift was one of three finalists for the Best Player-Fan Interaction Award, beating a special selfie with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and a fan's up-close-and-personal moment with Mets manager Terry Collins.
While warming up for a game at Nationals Park on June 2, Harper asked fans in the outfield seats to throw down their phones. At least one fan indulged his request, and the National League MVP rewarded the fan's trust by snapping a selfie and tossing the phone back into the stands.
Collins' interaction came after Game 5 of the NL Division Series, when the Mets advanced past the Dodgers and into the NL Championship Series. Collins celebrated down the line at Dodger Stadium, hugging and high-fiving fans as he went. But one fan took it a step further by kissing Collins.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five components, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters.
Individual awards were presented for 22 separate categories, including Best Major Leaguer, Everyday Player, Bounceback Player, Social Media Personality and Postseason Performer. Winners were also recognized for the year's Best Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Moment, Single-Game Performance, Social Media Post, Celebrity Fan and Fan Catch.
Manager and Executive winners will be announced at the Winter Meetings in December.
Nominees were judged on their bodies of work from the entire year -- from Opening Day through the postseason -- and selected after a careful review of all 30 clubs. Winners in all 24 categories receive a Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) trophy.