**New York – **The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) is pleased to announce Washington Nationals utility player Howie Kendrick as the overall winner of the 2019 Heart and 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 and 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 Washington Nationals team Heart and Hustle Award, the veteran All-Star Kendrick played a pivotal role in the Nationals’ road to the franchise’s first ever World Series title. During the Nationals postseason run, Kendrick recorded 18 hits, eight runs, 12 RBI and two pivotal home runs, earning him National League Championship Series (NLCS) MVP accolades. Kendrick’s three doubles in Game 3 of the NLCS tied the league championship series record and led him to accumulate a .314/.351/.514 slash line. In his 14 years in the majors, Kendrick has appeared in 1,596 games and collected 1,722 hits and 125 home runs. Off the field, Kendrick and his teammate, pitcher Sean Doolittle, work together to provide surviving members of military families with a special ‘Salute to Service’ experience on game days, which honors TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) families. These families are invited by Kendrick and Doolittle to watch batting practice from the field, as well as meet with both players prior to game time. Participants are also provided the opportunity to share their stories, take photos with players, get autographs and view photos of their lost loved ones on NatsHD. In 2018, Kendrick donated a percentage of his salary to the Alzheimer’s Association and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, which works to improve the lives of Washington, D.C. youth through academics, the arts, nutrition and sports.
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), Brett Gardner (2017) and Mookie Betts (2018).
The announcement was made on November 7,2019 at the 20thAnnual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. The event also honored Lifetime Achievement Award winner Tony La Russa and Brooks Robinson Community Service Award winner Johnny Damon. This event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. These clinics impact more than 19,000 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.
For more information regarding the Heart and Hustle Award, please contact Nikki Warner, Director of Communications by e-mail at Nikki@MLBPAA.com or by calling (719) 477-1870, ext. 105.
To learn more about the MLBPAA, please visit www.baseballalumni.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@MLBPAA).
About The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA)
MLBPAA was founded in 1982 with the mission of promoting baseball, raising money for charity and protecting the dignity of the game through its alumni players. The MLBPAA is headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO with a membership of more than 8,600, of which approximately 6,100 are alumni and active players. Alumni players find the MLBPAA to be a vital tool to become involved in charity and community philanthropy. Follow @MLBPAA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates.
About Legends for Youth Clinics
MLBPAA’s Legends for Youth clinics impact more than 19,000 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. The MLBPAA has reached children across America and internationally in Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, the United Kingdom and Venezuela, through the Legends for Youth Clinic Series. To donate to this program, visit baseballalumni.com/donate. The official hashtag of the Legends for Youth Clinic Series is #LFYClinic.