Jacoby Ellsbury and the Red Sox got a little bit of good news, the first in a while, when it was announced the centerfielder was named Comeback Player of the Year.
Ellsbury and Lance Berkman of the St. Louis Cardinals are the recipients of the award, it was announced today. The Comeback Player of the Year Award is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and is presented annually to one player in each League who has re-emerged on the baseball field during the season.
Ellsbury, in his fifth season, posted career-highs in nearly every offensive category after being limited to just 18 games in 2010 due to injuries. He hit .321 with 32 home runs, 105 RBI, 46 doubles, five triples and 119 runs scored. He also added 39 stolen bases to go with his .552 slugging percentage and .376 on-base percentage.
The 28-year-old led all of baseball with 364 total bases and 83 extra-base hits while ranking among the A.L. leaders in hits (212, 3rd), RBI (T-6th), runs (3rd), batting average (5th), slugging (T-5th), multi-hit games (T-5th), stolen bases (4th), doubles (T-3rd) and home runs (T-5th). The Madras, Oregon native became the first Red Sox player to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI season while serving as the clubs primary leadoff hitter, and the first leadoff hitter to accomplish that feat since Alfonso Soriano did it for the New York Yankees in 2002.
Ellsbury, the 23rd overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, became the first Red Sox player ever to achieve a 30-homer, 30-stolen base season and the 12th player in A.L. history to accomplish the feat (16th time). In addition, Jacoby became the fourth player in Major League history to reach 200 hits, 100 RBI, 35 stolen bases and 30 home runs in a single season, joining Vladimir Guerrero (2002), Alfonso Soriano (2002) and Alex Rodriguez (1998). Ellsbury, who was named an All-Star for the first time in his career this year, joined Carl Everett (33 homers as a center fielder in 2000) as the second Boston center fielder in the last 25 years to top the 20-homer mark, and his 364 total bases were the most ever by a Red Sox center fielder, eclipsing the previous mark of 339 set by Tony Armas in 1984. The only Boston center fielder to collect more hits than Ellsburys 212 was Hall of Famer Tris Speaker, who recorded 222 hits in 1912.
Nomar Garciaparra won the award as a member of the Red Sox in 2006.