Bonds, Pujols among Players Choice Player of the Year nominees
NEW YORK - St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Albert Pujols, who made a bid for the first Triple Crown in 36 years, was named Player of the Year by his peers Wednesday.
Pujols captured the marquee Players Choice award over San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds and Los Angeles Dodgers closer Erig Gagne.
"It's just an honor to get this award," Pujols said. "I want thank all the players. It shows a lot of respect that the players have for me. There were so many players that had a great year."
"Barry's proabbaly the best plyer in the league, him and A-Rod," Pujols added. "What they have done for this game in just the past five years is amazing. Those are the two guys that I voted for. You have a lot of guys around the league that had a great year, like Gary Sheffield. For me to be honored with this award is amazing."
Also in the AL, Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays was named Outstanding Pitcher, Kansas City Royals shortstop Angel Berroa garnered Outstanding Rookie honors and Chicago White Sox righthander Esteban Loiaza was voted Comeback Player of the Year.
Atlanta Braves closer John Smoltz won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, which honors a player whose "on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire those to higher levels of achievement." Smoltz contributes the Atlanta Food Bank's "Close Out Hunger" campaign and co-hosts a celebrity pro-am golf tournament to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. He also won the award last year
Pujols has been inspiring for three years now, but never more so than in 2003, when he hit an NL-best .359 with 43 homers and 124 RBIs. He finished just four home runs and 17 RBIs of capturing the first triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. The 23-year-old also established career bests with 212 hits, 137 runs and 79 walks.
Pjuols is the only player ever to hit .300 with 30 homers, 100 runs and 100 RBIs in each of his first three major league seasons.
Bonds, who has risen to fourth on baseball's all-time homer list, missed out on his second Player of the Year award in three seasons. He also has been named the NL's top player three times.
Gagne has been successful in 63 consecutive save opportunities over the past two seasons, including 55 in 2003. The record for saves in a season is 57.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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