<
>

Phillies' Howard, Yankees' Jeter win Hank Aaron Award

ST. LOUIS -- Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter were honored Wednesday with the Hank Aaron Award, which is presented annually to the top offensive performer in each league.

Howard, who received 33 percent (25,349) of all National League votes, led the major leagues with 58 homers, 149 RBI and 383 total bases. He finished third with a .659 slugging percentage and seventh with a .425 on-base percentage, while also capturing the Home Run Derby title during All-Star weekend in July.

Jeter, who accumulated 37 percent (29,275) of the American League vote, finished second in the league with a .343 batting average. He also was second with 118 runs, tied for third with 214 hits and placed fourth with a .417 on-base percentage.

Along the way, Jeter also compiled a career-best 25-game hitting streak -- the longest by a Yankees player in 64 years -- and also recorded his 2,000th hit against Kansas City on May 26.

"To win an award named after the great Hank Aaron is a wonderful achievement and I congratulate Ryan and Derek for the spectacular seasons they had in 2006," commissioner Bud Selig said. "They are truly deserving of this prestigious award and I look forward to joining Hank in making the presentation at the World Series."

In 1999, winners were selected by assigning a predetermined number of points for each hit, home run and RBI. From 2000-02, play-by-play broadcasters and color analysts from club radio and television rights holders voted for the winners, and in 2003 it was a combination of fan and broadcaster voting.

The current format was introduced in 2004, with fans voting for one player from each team to determine the 30 finalists. A baseball panel whittled the field to 12 -- six in each league -- and the fans voted again over the season's final three weeks.

Andruw Jones of the Atlanta Braves and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox won the award in 2005.