Already the National League Most Valuable Player, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was announced Tuesday as the NL recipient of the Hank Aaron Award.
The award, named in honor of the iconic Braves slugger and now senior vice president, recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league.
While each club nominated one player, a panel of MLB.com writers determined the seven finalists for each league. Fans, along with a special panel of Hall of Fame players, including Aaron, determined the winners.
Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu was the American League recipient.
The only other Braves player to win the Hank Aaron Award, which has been presented annually since 1999, was center fielder Andruw Jones in 2005.
”Winning the Hank Aaron Award is extra special for me since I get to put on the same uniform that he wore throughout his illustrious career,” Freeman tweeted. “An incredible baseball player and an even better man. I am honored and humbled to win this award.”
Freeman, 31, played in all 60 games and hit a career-best .341 (73-for-214), finishing second in the NL to the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto, who played 13 fewer games.
Freeman led the league with 23 doubles, the most by an Atlanta-era player through the first 60 games of a season. He also led the NL in runs (51) and extra-base hits (37), hit 13 home runs and drove in 53, the second-most in the NL to teammate Marcell Ozuna (56).
The four-time All-Star finished in the top four of the major leagues in runs, hits, doubles, RBI and walks (45), just the second player in baseball to accomplish that since 1920, when the RBI became an official stat. The New York Yankees’ Lou Gehrig also did so in 1927.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Freeman batted a league-leading .423 (22-for-52) with runners in scoring position and hit his fifth career game-ending home run Sept. 25 against the Boston Red Sox in the 11th inning, after not starting the game.
After starting the 2020 season 8-for-41 (.195), Freeman was given a day off from the starting lineup Aug. 5. From the following day on, Freeman batted .378 (65-for-172) with a .490 on-base percentage over his final 47 games, striking out just 25 times.
In September, Freeman was named the NL Player of the Month after hitting .375 (36-for-96) with a major league-best 12 doubles and 26 extra-base hits. He had 32 RBI, one off the league lead held by Ozuna (33). Freeman also drove in 33 runs last June, and is the only player in Atlanta history to twice drive in 30 or more runs in a calendar month.
Freeman had a major league-best 33-game on-base streak this season, the second-longest of his career. The stretch began Aug. 11 and lasted through Sept. 18. Within that, he posted an 18-game hitting streak, the longest in the NL in 2020.
Freeman was also recognized by the Major League Baseball Players Association, Baseball America and Baseball Digest as MLB’s Player of the Year. He won a Silver Slugger for the second consecutive season.