Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Bryce Harper win Hank Aaron Award

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INFIELDER Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays and outfielder Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies were named winners of the 2021 Hank Aaron Award on Tuesday night.

Guerrero won the honor for the American League while Harper was the recipient for the National League.

It marks the second time Harper was won the award. The other time was 2015, when he was with the Washington Nationals.

The award was established in 1999 and honors the best hitter in each league, as voted on by fans and media. It is named after Hank Aaron, the Hall of Famer with 755 career homers who died in January at age 86.

“It’s such an honor,” Harper said on Major League Baseball (MLB) Network. “Being able to win this award after the passing of Hank in January — I mean, what an incredible person he was.

“… Just to be able to win this award, I’m very appreciative of that and can’t thank everybody that voted for me enough. Just remember Hank from this award, as well.”

Harper, 29, batted .309 with 35 homers, 42 doubles, 84 RBIs and 101 runs scored in 141 games this season.

Guerrero, 22, hit 48 homers to tie Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals for the major league lead. He batted .311 with 111 RBIs in 161 games.

“I’m very proud to work hard and have my hard work show through and win an award like this,” Guerrero said on MLB Network. “Very proud and very happy.”

The other AL finalists were Perez, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins, Los Angeles Angels designated hitter/pitcher Shohei Ohtani, Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson and Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

The other NL finalists were outfielder Nick Castellanos of the Cincinnati Reds, shortstop Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants, first baseman Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals, shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. of the San Diego Padres and outfielder Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals. — Reuters