Add another accolade to the growing list for Salvador Perez this season. The KC Royals catcher has been nominated for the Hank Aaron Award.
The award is given every year to the top offensive American and National League players as selected by fans and a Hall of Fame panel. Fans can cast votes here.
Perez is, of course, deserving of such an honor considering the MVP-caliber season he’s had.
And just as we dove into what it meant for Perez to be nominated for the highly prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, let’s see what being considered for the Aaron Award means to Perez and the Royals.
Aaron was unequivocally one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball. He began his career playing for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues in 1951. He caught the eye of major league scouts, moved to the Milwaukee Braves’ organization, and made his big league debut in 1954 at the age of 20.
After a decent first season (13 home runs and a .280 average in 122 games), Aaron put on a show for Braves fans for the next 20 years. He won the MVP award in 1957 for slashing .322/.378/.600 and leading the majors with 44 home runs and 132 RBIs.
After many productive seasons, Aaron was thrust into the spotlight in 1973 as he neared Babe Ruth’s major league record 714 home runs, a mark which had stood for 39 years. Aaron was the victim of racist vitriol when he received many death threats from fans who didn’t want to see Ruth’s record broken by a Black man.
Despite those threats, Aaron still suited up for the 1974 season. He tied Ruth’s record in his very first at-bat, then broke it April 8 on the turf of his home club in Atlanta.
Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs, 3,771 hits, 240 stolen bases, and 98 triples, and remains the big league record holder with 2,297 RBIs and 6,856 hits. He was a 25-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, two-time NL batting champ, and four-time home run and RBI leader. These numbers alone make it clear why he was nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank.”
Sadly, Aaron died Jan. 22; his legacy still lives on in the game.
What the Aaron Award nomination means for Salvador Perez and the KC Royals.
Of course, being nominated for the Hank Aaron Award is a great honor in itself. And being one of only seven American League finalists proves how great a season Perez had in 2021.
He slashed .273/.316/.544. His 121 RBIs led the majors and were the most he’s driven in in a single season.
And Perez’s 48 home runs shattered Johnny Bench’s long-standing record for the most homers hit in one season by a primary catcher. He also tied Jorge Soler for the KC Royals’ single season home run record, and Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the most in the majors this year.
Considering Aaron’s great legacy, it is indeed a high honor for Perez to be up for an award that reflects the wonderful season he had.
Salvador Perez is one of seven American Leaguers nominated for the Hank Aaron Award.