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Milwaukee Brewers News
10/28/2007 8:45 PM ET
Fielder adds Aaron Award to '07 honors
Brewer named NL's most outstanding offensive performer
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MILWAUKEE -- Prince Fielder would rather have been in Matt Holliday's shoes on Sunday. While Holliday's Rockies were still playing for a World Series championship, Fielder and the Brewers were already four weeks into their winter vacation.

But Fielder did make an appearance before Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday afternoon, when he beat out a National League field, including Holliday, to win the Hank Aaron Award as the league's most outstanding offensive performer.

Nearly 400,000 votes were cast at and Fielder topped the NL ballot with 16 percent of the vote. The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez was the top vote-getter in the American League.

In his second Major League season, Fielder led the NL and set a Milwaukee baseball record with 50 home runs. He finished second with a .618 slugging percentage, third with 87 extra-base hits and 119 RBIs, and fourth with 354 total bases. He cemented his place in Major League history on Sept. 25, when a two-homer game gave him 50 for the season -- at 23 years, 139 days old, he became the youngest player in history to reach the 50 home run plateau. Hall of Famer Willie Mays was the previous record holder.

"I know a lot of people think that to hit 50 home runs and to do some of the things that Prince Fielder did this past year is easy," said Aaron, who was on hand for Sunday's announcement. "I've seen, in my time, in the 23 years that I played baseball, a lot of guys, a lot of players, hit an awful lot of home runs but couldn't produce in the clutch -- could not hit in the clutch.

"Prince did that all year. He carried his ballclub all year. And he is a young man, to be honest with you. He's young. So when you see someone ... do the things that he did this past year, you have to say that he is on his way to being part of the Cooperstown brigade."

Fielder developed into a team leader in 2007 and almost always knew the right thing to say at the right time. Aaron's praise nearly left him speechless.

"Thanks to Hank for just saying what he said because that's awesome," Fielder said. "I mean, I'm only 23, and when I was in high school I never thought I was going to be able to sit by him and him say all those great things about me, so that's awesome. So I'm just going to keep working hard, and hopefully he'll keep saying those great things. "I'm speechless right now just because I've got a Hall of Famer right here. It's just a great day." The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years. Previous NL winners include Sammy Sosa (1999), Todd Helton (2000), Barry Bonds (2001, 2002, 2004), Albert Pujols (2003), Andruw Jones (2005) and Ryan Howard (2006).

Aaron began his Major League career with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 and played 14 seasons in Milwaukee, the last two with the Brewers in 1975 and 1976.

"I had the privilege of seeing Hank play his first game and his last game and many in between," said Commissioner Bud Selig, who announced Fielder and Rodriguez as the winners. "While, obviously, I'm partial and not ashamed to admit that, he clearly, as far as I'm concerned, was the greatest baseball player that I ever saw play, and he was even better off the field."

It was the second major award for Fielder in as many weeks. Last week, he was named the most outstanding player in the NL after a vote by fellow Major League players. He is also a leading candidate, along with Holliday and several others, for the NL MVP Award, to be presented next month by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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