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Press Release

10/17/2008 1:34 PM ET
Major League Baseball players announce finalists for 2008 Players Choice Awards

NEW YORK -- Major League baseball players have chosen finalists for their highest honors – the Players Choice Awards--in which the players themselves recognize excellence on and off the field. Winners of the 2008 Players Choice Awards will be announced in a series of Internet “webisodes” on Yahoo! Sports, beginning Monday, Oct. 20, and continuing daily through Friday, Oct. 24. The 2008 Players Choice Awards, presented by Playstation ®, benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Additional support for the Players Choice Awards is provided by The Topps Company and The Upper Deck Company.

Finalists for Player of the Year are Cliff Lee (Indians), Albert Pujols (Cardinals) and Manny Ramirez (Dodgers). Lee helped an injury-depleted Indians team get through a disappointing season by putting up career numbers, finishing the season with a record of 22-3 and a 2.54 ERA – both AL bests. Pujols, who entered the season facing questions about a balky elbow, answered his critics by finishing second in the NL batting race with a .357 average, hitting 37 homers and setting career highs in walks (104) and OBP (.462). Ramirez found himself involved in a July 31, deadline trade to the Dodgers and he landed in L.A. with a splash, hitting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in just 53 games with the Dodgers and finishing the season with a .332 average, 37 homers and 121 RBI.

Leading the voting for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award are Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Albert Pujols (Cardinals) and Michael Young (Rangers). For more than 10 years, Jeter’s "Turn 2" foundation has raised in excess of $7 million to help children across the country by creating and financing programs that promote the development of sound academic, fitness and leadership habits among children. Pujols and his wife, Deidre, are the founders of the Pujols Family Foundation, which is dedicated to the love, care and development of people with Down syndrome and their families. Young has proved to be an inspirational leader on and off the field and is particularly interested in working with children. He serves as an ambassador for "Wipe Out Kids Cancer" and is a member of the Major League Baseball Players Trust's national Action Team youth volunteer program, helping to inspire and train high school students to become volunteers in their community.

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

Each 2008 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 $3.25 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

The 2008 Players Choice Awards finalists are:

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

Outstanding Player: Josh Hamilton (Texas), Justin Morneau (Minnesota), Dustin Pedroia (Boston)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Cliff Lee (Cleveland), Francisco Rodriguez (LA Angels of Anaheim)
Outstanding Rookie: Mike Aviles (Kansas City), Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay), Alexei Ramirez (Chicago)
Comeback Player of the Year: Josh Hamilton (Texas), Cliff Lee (Cleveland), Troy Percival (Tampa Bay)

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

Outstanding Player: Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), Chipper Jones (Atlanta), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Outstanding Pitcher: Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), CC Sabathia (Milwaukee), Brandon Webb (Arizona)
Outstanding Rookie: Geovany Soto (Chicago), Jair Jurrjens (Atlanta), Joey Voto (Cincinnati)
Comeback Player of the Year: Jorge Cantu (Florida), Fernando Tatis (NY Mets), Kerry Wood (Chicago)

EITHER LEAGUE:

Player of the Year: Cliff Lee (Cleveland), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Manny Ramirez (LA Dodgers)
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Michael Young (Texas)

Yahoo! Sports webcast schedule of the 2008 Players Choice Awards:

Monday, Oct. 20 – AL & NL Outstanding Pitchers
Tuesday, Oct. 21 – AL & NL Outstanding Players
Wednesday, Oct. 22 – AL & NL Outstanding Rookies
Thursday, Oct. 23 – AL & NL Comeback Players
Friday, Oct. 24 – Player of the Year/Marvin Miller Man of the Year