Bonds heads Players Choice nominees

Oct. 18, 2001 at 10:42 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Barry Bonds, who enjoyed a record-setting season, headed the list of nominees announced Thursday for Player of the Year honors at the 10th annual Players Choice Awards.

The San Francisco Giants superstar and fellow outfielders Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs are the finalists for the Player of the Year Award. All three also are up for National League Outstanding Player.

Bonds set the single-season record with 73 home runs and put together one of the greatest offensive years of all-time, bettering Babe Ruth's 81-year-old mark with an .863 slugging percentage.

Bonds did his damage while drawing a major league-record 177 walks, another record previously held by Ruth. Bonds also ranked in the top 10 in batting (.328), RBI (137) and runs (129).

Gonzalez had a big year, batting .325 with 57 homers and 142 RBI and was the key offensive player for Arizona, which is playing the Atlanta Braves in the NL Championship Series.

Sosa had another fabulous offensive campaign with a .328 average, 64 homers and a major league-leading 160 RBI. He also topped the NL with 146 runs scored and 425 total bases.

Sosa's RBI total was the highest in the NL since Chuck Klein drove in 170 runs in 1930.

Bret Boone of the Seattle Mariners, Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics and Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers are the nominees for American League Outstanding Player. Righthanders Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees and Freddy Garcia of the Mariners and A's lefthander Mark Mulder are up for AL Outstanding Pitcher.

Arizona's Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson join Matt Morris of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Outstanding Pitcher category. Morris also is competing with Atlanta's John Smoltz and Billy Wagner of the Houston Astros for NL Comeback Player honors.

Cleveland Indians outfielders Juan Gonzalez and Marty Cordova are among the finalists for AL Comeback Player, joining Texas' Ruben Sierra.

Among the rookies, Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia, New York's Alfonso Soriano and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki are the finalists in the AL, while Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins, Houston's Roy Oswalt and St. Louis' Albert Pujols comprise the trio in the NL.

The night's other big honor is the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which recognizes the player in either league whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement. The finalists this year are Gonzalez, New York Mets reliever John Franco and Indians slugger Jim Thome.

Winners are selected by secret ballot of all major leaguers.

Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn and Eric Davis, each of whom retired this year, will co-host the awards ceremony on Oct. 28.

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