Marlins walk off with pair of GIBBY Awards
Stanton's scamper sealing Alvarez's no-no honored; Fernandez named Rookie of Year
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Some greatness was found in an otherwise disappointing 2013 season for the Marlins.
Miami was the recipient of two of MLB.com's Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards on Tuesday.
Jose Fernandez was named Rookie of the Year, and Henderson Alaverez's no-hitter, decided on a wild pitch, was recognized as the Walk-Off of the Year.
For Fernandez, the win came in a landslide. The 21-year-old right-hander received an overwhelming 47.7 percent of the vote, compared to 18.7 percent for Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers.
The margin of victory was much closer in Alvarez's no-hitter in the season finale, which ended up being a 1-0 Marlins win over the Tigers. The decisive run was scored when Giancarlo Stanton, with the bases loaded and two outs, raced home from third base on a wild pitch in the ninth inning. Alvarez was on deck, and he celebrated his unconventional no-no in a mob scene around home plate.
In the walk-off voting, Stanton's run to complete the no-hitter received 17.7 percent of the vote, narrowly finishing ahead of Jason Giambi's walk-off home run late in the season to help the Indians in their playoff push. Giambi's big blast received 16.7 percent of the vote.
MLB's A-listers won GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- at the Winter Meetings. More than 10 million votes were cast by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 22 categories. Individual honors went to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best Starting Pitcher, Hitter, Closer, Setup Man, Rookie, Breakout Hitter, Breakout Pitcher, Comeback Player, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive and Postseason Performer.
GIBBY trophies also were awarded for the year's top Play, Storyline, Hitting Performance, Pitching Performance, Oddity, Walk-off, Cut4 Topic, Regular-Season Moment and Postseason Moment, with video available via MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
GIBBYs categories included players from both leagues and performances not only from the regular season but also through the end of the playoffs, making them unique in singling out the best of the best.
All 30 clubs were represented among the award candidates. In fact, every team had multiple nominees in 2013 -- a testament to the parity of talent around the game.
Claiming the GIBBY capped off the sensational rookie season of Fernandez.
Fernandez has received plenty of hardware since the season ended. Last month, he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Fernandez also was recognized as the top NL rookie by The Sporting News, Baseball America and the MLBPA's Players Choice Awards.
Fernandez's story is inspiring and emotional. Five years after defecting from Cuba, Fernandez reached the big leagues and finished 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA for a team that finished 62-100.
In Fernandez's 28 starts, Miami was 18-10. The right-hander paced all NL rookies in ERA, strikeouts (187), batting average against (.182) and WHIP (0.98). He also averaged 9.75 strikeouts per nine innings
Initially, Fernandez wasn't even supposed to be in the big leagues on Opening Day. But he arrived at age 20, because the day before the season began, two starters -- Nathan Eovaldi and Alvarez -- went on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
"Things happen for a reason," Fernandez said last month. "I got a chance to be here, and I took advantage of it. I play hard. That's what the fans are going to get out of me. I'm going to play hard and give everything I've got."
One of Fernandez's closest friends on the team is Alvarez.
Alvarez may have opened the season on the disabled list, but he closed it by making history. His no-hitter, the fifth in franchise history, came on 99 pitches on a day the Marlins were ready to pack up for the offseason while the Tigers were bracing for the playoffs.
That elusive run eventually came on a wild pitch, prompting a wild celebration at home plate. With the bases full and two outs, Luke Putkonen's slider to pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs skipped past catcher Brayan Pena. Stanton raced home and scored standing up, setting off a wild celebration scene.
"You need to have a little luck to throw a no-hitter, we definitely had that today," manager Mike Redmond said after the game.