NEW YORK -- On an unseasonably warm January evening on Sunday in New York City, a lineup of baseball's biggest stars shared the thrill of victory. And a much anticipated joint public appearance of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton stole the show at The 95th Annual New York Baseball Writers'
NEW YORK -- On an unseasonably warm January evening on Sunday in New York City, a lineup of baseball's biggest stars shared the thrill of victory. And a much anticipated joint public appearance of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton stole the show at The 95th Annual New York Baseball Writers' Dinner.
Judge and Stanton last met during an iconic Home Run Derby at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017, during the All-Star Game festivities. Fans patiently awaited a showdown between the sluggers, but it never materialized, as Stanton was knocked out by Gary Sanchez in the first round. Judge claimed the trophy.
Fast forward to December, and Judge was ready to call the National League Most Valuable Player Award winner his best friend on the day the Yankees officially acquired Stanton. Judge tweeted a quote from "Step Brothers" to voice his excitement.
Just a little more than a month after New York compiled the most prolific slugging combo in the Majors, the teammates sat side by side on a star-studded dais awaiting their hardware, earned from a momentous 2017 season.
The New York chapter of the BBWAA presented eight national awards at the Sheraton New York Times Square. The event has come a long way since the first chapter dinner in 1924, when Babe Ruth was berated for excessive noise while eating his meal. The modern wave of stars tied a bow on the 2017 season while getting ready for the one ahead.
Judge's claim to fame goes beyond fans dressed in robes and clutching gavels in Yankee Stadium's right-field chambers. His historic novice season earned Judge not only the American League Rookie of the Year Award, but he became a household name beyond the East Coast.
Bob Costas, in attendance as the recipient of the 2018 Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting, described the combination of Judge and Stanton as the modern-day Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.
"An award like this is never an individual award, it's always a group effort from the people that support us day in and day out," Judge said. "I want to thank my mom and dad, in attendance, for all the love and support over the years. I can never repay you guys for all the baseball tournaments you've driven to, the times I forgot my cleats at home and you had to drive back and get them. The Yankees, all my teammates, the whole organization -- thank you for this opportunity."
Stanton, who smashed 59 home runs and 132 RBIs with a 1.007 OPS, accepted the NL MVP Award. The 28-year-old spent eight years with the Marlins before closing one chapter and opening the next in the Bronx.
Stanton said his friend, the late Jose Fernandez, predicted he would hit 60 home runs in 2017. Though Stanton fell one homer short, he did keep one other promise to his friend -- joining the Yankees.
"I would like to thank the writers for voting me in," Stanton said. "This was something I only figured I could do, but you don't consider yourself in the situation until you're actually here, so it still gives me goosebumps hearing it. I've always been appreciative of the sport and all the guys that compete against me."
Jose Altuve, sandwiched between Carlos Correa and Max Scherzer, accepted the AL MVP Award after finishing the regular season with a career-best batting average of .346, before leading Houston to its first World Series title.
"I had, like, 10 minutes to think about what I'm going to say, but I already forgot everything so I'm going to start over," Altuve said. "I really need to thank my teammates, they were the ones that made me MVP. I want to thank my family back home. They couldn't make it; they're in Venezuela. It's my father's birthday today. I want to thank the writers. I couldn't believe it when you selected me as an MVP. It's a dream come true."
It was deja vu for Cy Young Award winners Scherzer of the Nationals and the Indians' Corey Kluber -- who have a combined five awards under their belts. It's the third Cy Young Award since 2013 for Scherzer, and second since '14 for Kluber.
"This is humbling," Scherzer said. "I really can't say thank you enough to the writers for selecting me again, third time coming back. Coming to this dinner is honestly one of the coolest things you can possibly do as a player. When you get to interact with all the different guys that are here across the table -- MVP, Cy Young, different guys. It connects the game from the old to the young in such a unique way that it does not matter who you are, where you are, you cannot wait to get here."
Both Judge and Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the AL Rookie of the Year Award and the NL Rookie of the Year Award, respectively. Bellinger, who had 39 home runs and 97 RBIs in the regular season, accepted his award from his father. The 22-year-old humbly gave a shoutout to his family for support throughout a long season.
The D-backs' Torey Lovullo received the NL Manager of the Year Award in his first season as a skipper. The AL Manager of the Year Award was presented to the Twins' Paul Molitor by new Yankees manager Aaron Boone, a lifelong fan of the honoree. Boone said if he closes his eyes, he can still picture Molitor at the plate with the bat resting on his shoulder.
"A.J. [Hinch], I'm glad they took the vote before the postseason," Molitor said of the Astros manager. "The Minnesota Twins were a good story this year."
The fun didn't end with BBWAA's eight national awards. The New York chapter presented nine of its own awards at the event, as well.
A newly retired Carlos Beltran presented Correa with the Joan Payson-Shannon Forde Humanitarian Award, given annually for community service. Astros outfielder George Springer was honored with the Arthur and Milton Richman You Gotta Have Heart Award, and fellow Astros Altuve and Justin Verlander shared the Babe Ruth Award, presented annually to the most outstanding performer of the postseason.
A stylish Carsten Sabathia, sporting an emerald-green velvet jacket, was honored with the Ben Epstein-Dan Castellano Good Guy Award. And Judge carried away two more pieces of hardware: the Sid Mercer-Dick Young New York Player of the Year Award and the Joe DiMaggio Toast of the Town Award.
"I think out of all the awards I've won, I think my mom would be the most proud of this," Sabathia said. "I try to be humble and be a good guy."
The 1998 Yankees, who won 114 games in the regular season before making a run to the World Series championship, were honored with the Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award.
The late MLB executive Katy Feeney, who passed away earlier this year, was honored as the winner of the William J. Slocum-Jack Lang Award for Long and Meritorious Service. Her two brothers, Stoney and John, accepted the award on her behalf.
John Olerud was recognized for a 17-year career during which he played for five teams: the Yankees, Mariners, Blue Jays, Mets and Red Sox. Olerud received the Casey Stengel You Could Look It Up Award for a .354 average in 1998, the highest by a Mets player in history.
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.