Hank Aaron, still the all-time home run champ - but that's a story for another day, has an award named after him by MLB. Only it has no meaning. That being said, Alex Rodriguez is one of the 5 finalist in the AL.
Here's the deal. Fans will vote online from today, September 18, thru September 30th. And that's it. In addition to A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, Ichiro, Vlad Guerrero, and Magglio Ordonez are the AL finalists. Just how did Manny get in there?
The NL 5 are Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder, and Albert Pujols. No David Wright, you say. No Ryan Howard. No Jimmy Rollins. Just how are these finalists picked?
MLB and the damn fans have struck again. 1 player was selected from each team and the fans voted on it. The top vote-getters are your finalists.
Now back to the buffoonery. The award was created in 1999 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Hammerin' Hank breaking Babe Ruth's all-time HR mark. The inaugural awards were given to Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa, based on combined HRs, hits, and RBI. All good.
From 2000-2002 the award was selected by a panel of MLB broadcasters. In '03 it became a split vote (70/30) between broadcasters and fans. And from 2004 to the present it has strictly been fan voting.
So good job MLB. You took an award commemorating one of the greatest feats in baseball history and made it a completely meaningless popularity contest.
Official MLB Press Release