CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Veteran Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and young Cubs power hitter Kris Bryant were named winners of the 2016 Hank Aaron Awards on Wednesday as the most outstanding offensive performers in their respective league.
The awards were handed out by Commissioner Rob Manfred and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron in a news conference before Game Two of the 112th World Series at Progressive Field between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.
Bryant was already in the building as a key player with the Cubs, while Ortiz was ushered in for his first public appearance as a retired major leaguer.
“David created an extraordinary legacy with the Red Sox. Fans will never forget his consistent excellence at the plate and his performances on the game’s greatest stages,” Manfred said of the Dominican slugger.
“Kris followed up an award-winning rookie season by helping lead the Cubs to their best regular season in more than a century. Both David and Kris are deserving of an honor named for one of the greatest players and individuals that our game has ever known.”
Ortiz, who turns 41 next month, finishes as a two-time Aaron Award winner, having also won in 2005.
In the final season of his 20-year major league career, Boston’s designated hitter batted .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and a .401 on-base percentage.
Bryant, 24, established himself as one of the game’s top young sluggers in his second season.
The versatile third baseman/outfielder, last year’s Rookie of the Year, batted .292 with 39 homers, 102 RBIs, an NL-best 121 runs scored and eight stolen bases.
Fans voted for the recipients on MLB.com and Twitter, and for the seventh straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Aaron joined fans in voting.
The Hall of Fame panel included some of baseball’s greatest offensive players, including Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes