DETROIT -- Tigers All-Star catcher Alex Avila was honored on Saturday with the MLB Players Association's Heart and Hustle Award, presented annually to one player from each big league team who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game.
The award is voted on by committees of Major League alumni set up by the MLBPA for each of the 30 teams. The Detroit committee selected Avila before his recent stretch of catching every inning for 18 consecutive games over a three-week span, but it demonstrated the work ethic and desire that went into selection for the honor.
Tigers great Willie Horton, a special assistant with the team, presented the award in a pregame ceremony at Comerica Park. Alex's father, Tigers vice president and assistant general manager Al Avila, accepted the award on his behalf, since Alex was busy warming up Brad Penny in the bullpen.
By winning the local award, Avila is nominated for the national honor, which will be voted on by Major League alumni as well as current players. The national winner will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 3 at the annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York.