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American League Batting Championship renamed the “Rod Carew Award”

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MLB announced in a surprise pre-game ceremony that the league batting championship awards will now (technically) be named after Tony Gwynn and Rod Carew, but what does that mean?

MLB: All Star Game
Rod Carew received the Rod Carew Award for being Rod Carew.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I wasn’t a huge fan of this year’s All-Star Game. It was boring and emotion over David Ortiz retiring felt a bit forced. The highlight of the night for me was the pre-game ceremony held to announce that the National League and American League Batting Championship awards will now be named after Tony Gwynn and our very own Rod Carew.

The announcement was a surprise—I know I had not heard anything about it beforehand. In fact, Rod Carew was only informed about the plan two days ago. “It surprised the heck out of me,” Carew told the Star Tribune. “I’m glad that Tony was the other one. We were good friends and close friends. To honor us like this is unbelievable.”

Sir Rodney attended the pre-game ceremony in person and was given his own copy of the award—a miniature statue of him batting. Obviously, since the All-Star Game was in San Diego, the Padres had a great video tribute to the late Tony Gwynn and the entire crowd chanted his name. Gwynn’s family was presented with a copy of the award, which shockingly, was a miniature statue of Tony batting.

What does this actually mean? Well, it’s a cool honor, but really not much. A lot of MLB’s various awards are actually technically named for various players, but beyond the Cy Young Award, most people are unaware of the official names. I mean, did you know the MVP award has technically been named the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award since 1944? I sure didn’t. In 70 years, will people know that the American League Batting Championship is actually called the Rod Carew Award? Maybe, but there’s a good chance they won’t.

In any case, it is a cool honor for Carew, especially because he was still alive to receive the honor. Making Sir Rodney happy justifies it all in my book.