11/08/2006 4:03 PM ET
Uggla snags prestigious honor
Infielder tabbed for Players Choice NL rookie award
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
Dan Uggla's 27 homers established a Major League rookie record for second basemen. (Alan Diaz/AP)
MIAMI -- Rule No. 1 when it comes to Dan Uggla: Never underestimate a Rule 5 Draft pick.
Add another prestigious honor for the Marlins' All-Star second baseman.
On Wednesday, Uggla became a Players Choice Awards winner when he was presented the National League Outstanding Rookie Award.
The 26-year-old second baseman was selected over Washington's Ryan Zimmerman and Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.
The Players Choice Award is the second rookie prize Uggla has received since the season ended. In October, he was voted by his peers as The Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year.
"Coming out of Spring Training, I think he really felt like he belonged," Marlins infield/first-base coach Perry Hill said. "He had a season where he did a lot of firsts, and I'm glad the players recognized it."
The Players Choice Awards winners are selected by all Major League players via secret balloting at ballparks under the supervision of KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm, and are given annually to the top pitcher, player, rookie and comeback player in each league as well as an overall player of the year and man of the year. This year's balloting took place on Sept. 12-13.
Each Players Choice Award winner will designate the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Players Trust, a not-for-profit foundation created and administered by the players, in an amount ranging from $20,000 to $50,000.
A leader on the youthful Marlins, which flirted with Wild Card contention until mid-September, Uggla in 2006 became the first Rule 5 pick selected to the All-Star Game in the same season he was drafted.
Formerly in the D-backs' system, Uggla enjoyed a sensational rookie season, batting .282 with 90 RBIs. His 27 home runs established a Major League rookie record for a second baseman.
"I think he demonstrated that he can make a lot of adjustments," Hill said. "He's going to be a good player for a long time. With his work ethic, I don't think he will allow himself to fail. Some guys, after they made it, tend to not work as hard. Danny is also working on getting better."
The previous rookie home run mark for a second baseman was 24 by Joe Gordon of the Yankees in 1938. Uggla's 27 homers and 90 RBIs also are Marlins rookie records.
"He had a great offensive year," Hill said. "Any time you break a record that has stood since 1938, that deserves recognition by itself."
Respected for his hard-nosed style of play, Uggla seized the starting job in Spring Training and he appeared in 154 games for a rookie-laden Marlins club, which has several players in line for the upcoming BBWAA NL Rookie of the Year Award that will be announced next week.
A couple of other Marlins were Players Choice Award finalists. Miguel Cabrera was in contention for the NL Outstanding Player, won by Philadelphia's Ryan Howard. And Joe Borowski was in the mix for NL Comeback Player of the Year, presented to Los Angeles' Nomar Garciaparra.