11/08/2006 1:00 PM ET
Garciaparra is players' comeback choice
Dodgers first baseman honored for outstanding 2006 season
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Nomar Garciaparra hit 20 homers and knocked in 93 runs for the Dodgers in 2006. (Jon SooHoo/Dodgers)
LOS ANGELES -- Nomar Garciaparra hit the trifecta of Comeback Player of the Year awards on Wednesday when he received the Players Choice version for the National League, presented by the Major League Baseball Players Association and voted upon by players.
Garciaparra defeated Florida reliever Joe Borowski and St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen for the honor. Garciaparra earlier won The Sporting News National League Comeback Player of the Year and the National League Comeback Player of the Year presented by Viagra and voted upon by fans at MLB.com.
The Players Choice Awards are unique because the electorate consists of the players themselves. Balloting for the Players Choice Awards, presented annually since 1992, occurred Sept. 12-13 at Major League Baseball parks under the supervision of the accounting firm KPMG.
Garciaparra, 33, hit .303 with 20 home runs and 93 RBIs in 122 games, despite spending stints on the disabled list with rib cage and knee injuries, as well as ultimately being hobbled through the playoffs by quadriceps, oblique and knee injuries.
In 2005 with the Chicago Cubs, Garciaparra hit .283 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs in 62 games while being plagued by injuries. This year, he was named to his sixth All-Star team as the winner of MLB's "Final Vote" on MLB.com.
The 1997 AL Rookie of the Year, who recently filed for free agency, signed as a free agent with the Dodgers and played first base this year for the first time in his career, committing only four errors in 1,124 total chances for a fielding percentage of .996. The two-time AL batting champion helped the Dodgers reach the postseason with clutch hitting during the last two weeks of the regular season -- including two dramatic walk-off home runs.
He ranked among league leaders in batting with runners in scoring position, against left-handed pitching and grand slams, and he was the second-toughest player in the Major Leagues to strike out. His 22-game hitting streak was the fourth-longest in the league.
"Whenever you win an award, it's a great honor," Garciaparra said earlier this year. "I think what helped me out this year was being a by-product of this team. My success this year has truly been because of [the team]. When you're done [playing], and look at an award sitting on the mantle, or wherever it's sitting, you get to remember the guys -- and this definitely is a special team -- not just on the field, but off the field."