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Comeback Player of the Year Award

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The Comeback Player of the Year Award has been awarded by The Sporting News every season since 1965, with one award is given in each league every season. The award was created for a player who was once a star, but had to come back from either injury or ineffectiveness to reclaim his status. The criteria for the award are not well defined, and the choices have sometimes been criticized for either never having been star players in the first instance, or not having come back from a noticeable decline in their performance. An example of the first instance is Randy Jones, who won the award after his first good season in 1975, and who was never, by any stretch of the imagination, considered a star beforehand. In the second case, Richie Zisk won the award in 1981 for a performance that was not noticeably better than his previous seasons, especially when context is taken into account.

There is nothing that prevents a player form winning the award multiple times, and indeed this has been done by Norm Cash, Boog Powell, Bret Saberhagen, Andres Galarraga and Chris Carpenter. Rick Sutcliffe and Francisco Liriano have won the award in both leagues.

In 2005, Major League Baseball started awarding its own Comeback Player of the Year Awards, which quickly eclipsed those granted by The Sporting News. The winners of the two sets of Comeback awards were the same during the two seasons when both were in effect, 2005 and 2006.

Contents

[edit] Award Winners

[edit] The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award

Year American League National League
Player Team Player Team
1984 Dave Kingman Oakland Athletics Joaquín Andújar St. Louis Cardinals
1985 Gorman Thomas Seattle Mariners Rick Reuschel Pittsburgh Pirates
1986 John Candelaria California Angels Ray Knight New York Mets
1987 Bret Saberhagen Kansas City Royals Rick Sutcliffe Chicago Cubs
1988 Storm Davis Oakland Athletics Tim Leary Los Angeles Dodgers
1989 Bert Blyleven California Angels Lonnie Smith Atlanta Braves
1990 Dave Winfield California Angels John Tudor St. Louis Cardinals
1991 José Guzmán Texas Rangers Terry Pendleton Atlanta Braves
1992 Rick Sutcliffe Baltimore Orioles Gary Sheffield San Diego Padres
1993 Bo Jackson Chicago White Sox Andrés Galarraga Colorado Rockies
1994 José Canseco Texas Rangers Tim Wallach Los Angeles Dodgers
1995 Tim Wakefield Boston Red Sox Ron Gant Cincinnati Reds
1996 Kevin Elster Texas Rangers Eric Davis Cincinnati Reds
1997 David Justice Cleveland Indians Darren Daulton Philadelphia Phillies/Florida Marlins
1998 Bret Saberhagen Boston Red Sox Greg Vaughn San Diego Padres
1999 John Jaha Oakland Athletics Rickey Henderson New York Mets
2000 Frank Thomas Chicago White Sox Andrés Galarraga Atlanta Braves
2001 Rubén Sierra Texas Rangers Matt Morris St. Louis Cardinals
2002 Tim Salmon Anaheim Angels Mike Lieberthal Philadelphia Phillies
2003 Gil Meche Seattle Mariners Javy López Atlanta Braves
2004 Paul Konerko Chicago White Sox Chris Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals
2005 Jason Giambi New York Yankees Ken Griffey Jr. Cincinnati Reds
2006 Jim Thome Chicago White Sox Nomar Garciaparra Los Angeles Dodgers

[edit] Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award

Year American League National League
Player Team Player Team
2005 Jason Giambi New York Yankees Ken Griffey Jr. Cincinnati Reds
2006 Jim Thome Chicago White Sox Nomar Garciaparra Los Angeles Dodgers
2007 Carlos Pena Tampa Bay Devil Rays Dmitri Young Washington Nationals
2008 Cliff Lee Cleveland Indians Brad Lidge Philadelphia Phillies
2009 Aaron Hill Toronto Blue Jays Chris Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals
2010 Francisco Liriano Minnesota Twins Tim Hudson Atlanta Braves
2011 Jacoby Ellsbury Boston Red Sox Lance Berkman St. Louis Cardinals
2012 Fernando Rodney Tampa Bay Rays Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
2013 Mariano Rivera New York Yankees Francisco Liriano Pittsburgh Pirates

[edit] Further Reading

  • Rick Swaine: Baseball’s Comeback Players: Forty Major Leaguers Who Fell and Rose Again, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2014. ISBN 978-0-7864-7654-1
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