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Press Release

10/28/2009 12:38 PM ET
Major League Baseball players recognize top pitchers in each league
Royals’ Greinke, Cardinals’ Wainwright honored by peers

NEW YORK -- Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals are Major League Baseball’s kings of the hill, according to their peers. Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association and ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic announced the winners of the 2009 Players Choice Awards for each league’s Outstanding Pitcher during the third in a series of five daily broadcast segments highlighting the on-field performances and community leadership of Major League players. The 2009 Players Choice Awards are being broadcast exclusively this week during the Mike & Mike in the Morning show (6 a.m. – 10 a.m. ET) and are presented by Upper Deck and benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust. (See complete Awards broadcast schedule below.}

Greinke, 26, finished the season with a record of 16-8 and 242 strikeouts for the Royals, earning 25-percent of the team’s 65 victories. His strikeout total placed him second among all AL hurlers (Justin Verlander/Detroit/269), while his 2.16 ERA led all Major League pitchers. Selected by the Royals 6th overall in the 2002 June Draft, Greinke is now 29-18 over the past two seasons, and his six complete games this season placed him second in the Majors behind Toronto’s Roy Halladay (9).

Wainwright, 29, led the National League with 19 wins (19-8), 34 starts and 233 innings pitched in helping guide the Cardinals to the NL’s Central Division title. During the second half of the season, Wainwright tore through the opposition and posted an impressive 9-3 record and a 2.10 ERA. A native of Georgia, he was originally drafted by his home state Atlanta Braves, 29th overall, in the 2000 June Draft, and was traded to the Cardinals in 2003. He made his Major League debut in 2005, and over the past three seasons he has compiled a record of 44-23.

To listen to a podcast of the Players Choice Awards announcements and player interviews, please click here.

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.

Each 2009 Players Choice Award winner will recommend the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.5 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

The 2009 Players Choice Awards finalists are [winners in bold & underlined]:

American League:

Outstanding Player: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Kendry Morales (LA Angels of Anaheim)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Zack Greinke (Kansas City), CC Sabathia (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Rookie: Elvis Andrus (Texas), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay)
Comeback Player: Russell Branyon (Seattle), Aaron Hill (Toronto), Scott Podsednik (Chicago White Sox)

National League:

Outstanding Player: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Outstanding Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
Outstanding Rookie: Chris Coghlan (Florida), Tommy Hanson (Atlanta), J.A. Happ (Philadelphia)
Comeback Player: Aaron Boone (Houston), Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Nick Johnson (Florida)

Either League:

Player of Year: Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson (Detroit), Torii Hunter (LA Angeles of Anaheim), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

ESPN Radio’s broadcast schedule for the 2009 Players Choice Awards:

Monday, October 26 – AL & NL Outstanding Rookies – Winners: Gordon Beckham (AL)/J.A. Happ (NL)
Tuesday, October 27 – AL & NL Comeback Players
Wednesday, October 28 – AL & NL Outstanding Pitchers
Thursday, October 29 – AL & NL Outstanding Players
Friday, October 30 – Marvin Miller Man of the Year & Player of the Year