After earning his first All-Star selection and start in July and his first Gold Glove earlier this week, Polanco is now a Silver Slugger Award winner for the first time. Ordonez, meanwhile, won his first Silver Slugger since 2002. Together, they're the first pair of Tigers to win the award in the same year since Travis Fryman and Mickey Tettleton in 1992.
Louisville Slugger's Silver Slugger Award winners are determined annually by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers who choose the players they feel are the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues. Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. Managers and coaches are not allowed to vote for players on their own team.
Ordonez put up offensive numbers that ranked among the best for anybody at any position this year. His .363 batting average on the season earned him the first AL batting crown for a Tiger since Norm Cash in 1961. His 54 doubles also led the Majors, while his 354 total bases and 139 RBIs ranked second only to Alex Rodriguez in the AL. His 1.029 OPS also ranked in baseball's top five.
If not for the feats accomplished by Rodriguez with the Yankees, Ordonez likely would have won the Hank Aaron Award for the best hitter in the American League, and would probably be the favorite for AL Most Valuable Player, which will be announced next week. While his MVP campaign will most likely fall short, he became the first Tigers outfielder ever to win the Silver Slugger, an award that dates back 1980.
By winning the batting crown, Ordonez also will receive Louisville's Silver Bat Award, a silver-plated bat which the company presents annually to each league's batting champion. That award, and the three-foot tall Silver Slugger trophy, will be presented to him during an on-field ceremony at home early next season.
Lost in Detroit amidst Ordonez's hitting tear to hold off Ichiro Suzuki for the batting crown, however, was the fact that Polanco had the Majors' next-highest average behind those two.
Polanco's .341 average was the best of his 10-year Major League career, topping the .331 average he posted in a 2005 season split between Detroit and Philadelphia. Philadelphia's Chase Utley was the only other regular second baseman in the Majors to hit over .320.
Polanco's .388 on-base percentage ranked second at his position behind Utley, while his .846 OPS and 105 runs scored placed third.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less