LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Andre Ethier has been named the recipient of the “2009 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year Award Presented by Pepsi”, it was announced today. Ethier is the winner of the officially-sanctioned Major League Baseball award, as voted by the fans, which recognizes the player who performed his best when the game was on the line.
The winner was revealed during a one-hour special, produced by Major League Baseball Productions, that aired on ESPN. Hosted by “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson, who is no stranger to clutch hits, The 2009 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year Award Show Presented by Pepsi celebrated the six nominees who consistently delivered clutch performances over the course of the entire 2009 Major League Baseball season. This year’s MLB Pepsi Clutch Performer of the Year nominees were: Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers; Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants; Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins; Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals; and Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees.
Ethier set career-highs in 2009 with 160 games played, 162 hits, 31 home runs, 106 RBI, 92 runs scored, 42 doubles, and 72 walks while hitting .272 with a .508 slugging percentage and a .361 on-base percentage. The 27-year old outfielder finished fifth in the N.L. with 76 extra-base hits, tied for fifth in doubles, and was tied for sixth in RBI.
Ethier led the Majors with six walk-off hits, including a Major League record four walk-off home runs (tied with Jimmie Foxx in 1940 and Roy Sievers in 1957): June 6th against the Phillies in the 12th inning; June 29th against Colorado in the 13th inning; August 6th vs. Atlanta in the 9th; and September 15th against the Pirates in the 13th. Ethier has a Major League-leading nine walk-off hits since the beginning of the 2008 season, and his six in 2009 are the most in a single-season by any player since at least 1974.
The left-handed slugger collected six multi-home run games on the year, tied for second with Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard behind Albert Pujols (10) of the Cardinals. The Arizona State product became just the fourth Dodger in franchise history to amass at least 40 doubles and 30 home runs in the same season, joining Babe Herman (1930), Raul Mondesi (1997) and Eric Karros (1999). On June 26th against Seattle, Andre drove in a career-high six runs and compiled his first career three-homer game, becoming the ninth Dodger in franchise history to accomplish the feat.
A second round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft by the Athletics, Ethier recorded two nine-game hitting streaks during the season from June 1st-10th (.400, 14-for-35), and from July 19th-28th (.500, 17-for-24). Since August 2008, Ethier leads the Dodgers with 40 home runs.
During the month of October, Major League Baseball fans voted for the award on pepsiclutch.mlb.com, a site powered by MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, and created specifically for the MLB Clutch Performer Platform.
To further engage fans in the selection process each month, Pepsi introduced an online sweepstakes in conjunction with the award. As part of the program, fans were entered into a season long sweepstakes for a trip for two to the 2009 & 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Games.
Monthly winners of the 2009 MLB Pepsi Clutch Performer of the Month awards include: Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals (April); Melky Cabrera, New York Yankees (May); Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants (June); Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox (July); Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees (August); and Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins (September). Last season, CC Sabathia was named the recipient of the “2008 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year Award Presented by Pepsi.”