On Tuesday, MLB announced that Chicago White Sox first baseman and designated hitter Adam Dunn was named The Sporting News’ American League Comeback Player of the Year. Chosen by his peers for this award, Dunn said, “It’s an award I hope I never win again.”
To win this award one of two things has to happen: you either have to be injured for most of the year or have a really bad season. The award is given to the player who has the best subsequent turn-around season.
2011 was a rough season for Dunn.During his debut season with the Sox he had a .159 batting average, 11 homers, 42 RBI, 75 walks, and 36 runs scored in 122 games. This year was quite the comeback for Dunn, as he batted in 96 RBI, 41 homers, and finished the season with a batting average of .204. He also topped the MLB with 105 walks. 18 of Dunn’s 41 home runs either tied the game or gave the White Sox the lead. Despite his 222 strikeouts, which left him two strikeouts away from setting the single-season major league strikeout record, he was still awarded the honor.
Dunn is aware that he wasn’t the only player from the South Side who was worthy of this award. Alex Rios and Jake Peavy also had remarkable turn-around seasons this year. “We had a number of guys mentioned throughout the season as candidates for this award, which is gratifying for us as a coaching staff,” said White Sox Manager Robin Ventura in a statement released by the team. “It’s nice to see that Adam’s hard work paid off, he is deserving of the honor.”
Dunn and the Sox are already looking forward to the 2013 season. “Because we didn’t reach our goal, it’s definitely a disappointing season,” Dunn said of the Sox second place finish in the American League Central after a 117 day stay on top of the division. Hopefully watching the division rival Detroit Tigers in the World Series this week will motivate the Sox to have a 2013 comeback season of their own.
“Again, [the award] is probably more for my mom and dad, my wife and sons – they really enjoy it more than I do. I don’t play for that. I’m very appreciative of this award, I am. But I really wish I would have never won it because I wouldn’t have to have the bad go with the good. I like the good with the good,” said Dunn during a conference call with MLB on Tuesday afternoon.
Major League Baseball’s Comeback Player of the Year awards went to Tampa Bay’s Fernando Rodney and San Francisco’s Buster Posey. 30 MLB beat writers voted for this version of the award.
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