Matt Kemp had a truly remarkable season in 2011, and on Thursday was rewarded, being named the 2011 National League Hank Aaron Award winner. The award is given to the top offensive performer in each league, and is voted on by a panel of Hall of Fame members, as well as fans who voted online on MLB.com. This year's Hall of Fame panel included Aaron, Joe Morgan, Roberto Alomar, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams and Robin Yount.
The Hank Aaron award has been given annually since 1999, and Kemp is the first Dodger to take home the honors. Kemp flirted with the triple crown during the final week of the season, ultimately falling short in batting average. But Kemp did lead the National League in home runs, RBI, runs scored, total bases, and OPS+.
Kemp hit 39 home runs and stole 40 bases on the season, coming very close to becoming the fifth member of the 40/40 club. Kemp did finish in the top two in the league in both home runs and stolen bases, becoming the first player to accomplish that since Aaron himself in 1963.
Now Kemp has won the Aaron Award and was named last week as the Major League Player of the Year by Baseball America. Up next for Kemp this award season is a Silver Slugger, which he also won in 2009. The big prize of course is National League MVP, which won't be announced until November 22.
For Dodgers fans reaction to Kemp winning the Hank Aaron Award, be sure to read True Blue LA.