MLBPAA announces Mookie Betts as winner of 2018 Heart & Hustle Award
Red Sox star is honored at 19th annual Legends for Youth Dinner
New York -- The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) is pleased to announce Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts as the overall winner of the 2018 Heart & Hustle Award. This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart & Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by all former players.
A first-time winner of the Boston Red Sox team Heart and Hustle Award, Betts' four seasons in the Majors have been nothing short of stellar, winning two American League Gold Glove Awards, one American League Silver Slugger Award and earning three All-Star appearances. This season, Betts led the American League in batting average (.346), slugging percentage (.640) and runs scored (129), and was the first player to hit for the cycle, concluding his season with a World Series championship. Beyond the diamond, Betts has contributed to various charities in both Boston and his hometown of Nashville. While Betts has participated in events hosted by the Red Sox Foundation and Jimmy Fund, he has also assisted with youth baseball clinics in the Boston area and competed in charity golf and bowling tournaments, displaying his bowling prowess at an All-Star celebrity event hosted by NBA star Chris Paul. In 2017, Betts partnered with New Era to create a special line of baseball caps honoring the Red Sox and the state of Tennessee with a portion of sales going to two charities that Betts works with: Pitching In for Kids and One Mission. In 2018, Betts gained recognition for distributing hot meals to the homeless outside of the Boston Public Library after the Red Sox won Game 2 of the World Series.
The MLBPAA formed 30 committees comprised of Alumni players with established relationships to each team. Fans, all alumni and active players vote to select the final winner from 30 team winners. The previous overall winners are David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013), Josh Harrison (2014), Anthony Rizzo (2015), Todd Frazier (2016) and Brett Gardner (2017).
The announcement was made Nov. 8, 2018 at the 19th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. The event also honored Lifetime Achievement Award winner Bob Gibson and Brooks Robinson Community Service Award winner Terry Francona. This event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. These clinics impact more than 18,000 children each year, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball.