These six players will have their names placed on the 2006 Players Choice Awards ballots to determine this season's Marvin Miller Man of the Year. Ballots will be distributed to all Major League players on Tuesday, September 12 and Wednesday, September 13, when the accounting firm of KPMG conducts the league-wide, players-only voting for the 2006 Players Choice Awards. Also on those days, all Major League players will be voting for their league's outstanding rookie, pitcher, player, and comeback player as well as the overall Outstanding Player of the Year.
Each Players Choice Award winner will designate the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Winners will be announced following the season.
Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals was the recipient of the 2005 Man of the Year Award for his on-field leadership and commitment to the Kansas City community. As well as being a spokesman for the "Enjoy the Game" program, Mike worked closely with the local Boys & Girls Club, the Children's Mercy Hospital, and the Sweeney Family Foundation. Past winners of the award, named for the legendary baseball union leader, also include Jim Thome, John Smoltz, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Eric Davis and Paul Molitor.
2006 Players Choice Marvin Miller Man of the Year Divisional Winners:
Oakland Athletics - Barry Zito: Barry recruited dozens of other big league players to join the 'Strikeouts for Troops' program that he initiated in 2005. The program is designed to benefit war wounded troops being treated at Walter Reed, Besthesda Naval, and other military hospitals. The funds raised are used to provide injured soldiers comforts of home in an effort to assist their recovery as well as travel and housing expenses for patients' families. The program has continued through the 2006 season and Barry has stepped up his donations to $200 for every strikeout he records.
St. Louis Cardinals - Albert Pujols: A finalist for the 2005 Man of the Year award, Albert and his wife Deidre are the founders of the Pujols Family Foundation, which is dedicated to the love, care and development of people with Down Syndrome and their families. Albert annually hosts a charity golf tournament to raise money for the foundation. The Pujols family dedicates their time not only to those with Down Syndrome, but also to the impoverished children and orphans of the Dominican Republic by donating money and time for education and gifts.
Los Angeles Dodgers - Nomar Garciaparra: Nomar established the Nomar 5 Foundation in 2000, which has continued to support organizations that work for the well-being of children. Nomar participated in the 2006 Prostate Cancer Foundation Home Run Challenge, which raised money for each home run hit in games from June 7th to June 18th, by donating autographed memorabilia to raise money and speaking at stadium events to increase awareness of prostate cancer. During the off-season, he visited local middle schools and Little League organizations as part of the Dodgers Caravan.