By virtue of the fact that Trey Mancini set foot on the field on Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles, he was always going to be the comeback player of the year. That isn’t to say that there weren’t other great candidates out there, because there were. But nothing trumps beating cancer (during a global pandemic, no less) and coming back to play.
That came true this evening, as Mancini was voted the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year, as voted by the players. In short, these are player’s choice awards, so Mancini’s being recognized by his peers. Mancini on the honor:
It means the world. I’m so honored and humbled to receive this award. Especially when I got my diagnosis, I wasn’t totally sure that I’d be playing baseball again. So to be able to come back and play an entire season and receive this award just means everything to me.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
I don’t need to run down Mancini’s stats or accomplishments this year for Orioles fans. Everyone knows he deserves the honor based on the cancer diagnosis, and for his performance on the field. Everyone expected and knew that Mancini was the guy.
But what we didn’t know is that we’d be talking about another Oriole in a similar light this evening. Ryan Mountcastle was also chosen as the American League’s Most Outstanding Rookie. Again, this by his peers. Mountcastle on the award:
I didn’t really know what to expect going into this first full season. I had never hit that many before in the minor leagues or anything, but coming into this year and hitting 33 homers, it’s pretty cool. After the first month, I probably wouldn’t say I expected that, but I turned it back around and it feels good to be where I’m at.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
Again, these are players choice awards. But it speaks volumes about both Mancini and Mountcastle that they were recognized by their peers. The BBWAA awards in the same categories will be announced in early November.
But wait…THERE’S MORE! Former Oriole great, SS Mark Belanger (“The Blade”), was named the Curt Flood Award winner. The Flood Award goes to a former player (alive or deceased) who remained dedicated to the MLBPA, and the advancement of player’s rights. Belanger worked in the MLBPA offices after retiring, up until his untimely death from cancer in 1998.
Needless to say, the Orioles cleaned up on this round of awards!