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Orioles make history with three Silver Slugger winners

BaseballMajor League BaseballBaltimore OriolesCal Ripken, Jr.J.J. HardyChris Davis

For the first time in franchise history, three Orioles players received the Silver Slugger award, given annually to the top offensive player at each position in each league.

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy each won the award, announced Wednesday on MLB Network. The Orioles' three Silver Slugger awards this year were the most by any major league team.

Aubrey Huff was the last Orioles player to win a Silver Slugger, in 2008. It marked the fifth time that multiple Orioles were honored in the same season and the first time since third baseman Melvin Mora and shortstop Miguel Tejada won in 2004.

All three Orioles winners this season were first-time winners. Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. won a club-record eight Silver Slugger awards, all at shortstop. Eleven different Orioles have won the award.

The award, handed out annually since 1980, is decided by a vote of major league managers and coaches.

Davis, an American League MVP finalist, led the major leagues with 53 homers, 138 RBIs and 370 total bases and led all AL first baseman with a .634 slugging percentage, an 1.004 OPS and was tied for best on-base percentage among first basemen at .370.

He became the first Orioles first baseman to win the award since Rafael Palmeiro in 1998. Eddie Murray was also a back-to-back winner at first base in 1983 and 1984.

"Receiving this award is very humbling, as there are some really great hitters that play first base in this league, so it means a lot to me," Davis said in a statement released by the team. "Batting in the middle of the order, you want to pose a threat at all times, and I'm grateful that the opposing managers and coaches recognized not only the success that I had, but also the success of the team as well."

Jones, who became the first Orioles outfielder to win the award, led all AL outfielders with 33 homers and 108 RBIs last season, setting new career highs in both categories.

"It is a tremendous honor and with all of the great Orioles outfielders of the past, I'm surprised that I am the first to win one,” Jones said in a statement. "While it is a great individual honor for all three of us, the ultimate goal is to win games and bring a championship to Baltimore."

Hardy topped AL shortstops with 25 homers and 76 RBIs, becoming the third Orioles shortstop to win the award and the first since Tejada’s back-to-back winning seasons in 2004 and 2005. Ripken won from 1983 to 1986 and in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1994.    

"I am really honored to win this award, because the coaches' and managers' vote means so much to you as a player," Hardy said. "They see you quite a bit in the division, but for the guys you only play against a handful of times to notice not only you, but also two of your teammates, that is a good sign for the direction the Orioles are headed. And then to be mentioned in the same sentence as Cal and Miggy as an offensive player, that just leaves me speechless."

Three Orioles also won Gold Glove awards this season, with Jones, Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado receiving the game's top defensive honor.

Davis is one of three finalists for the AL MVP award, which will be announced next Thursday.

Orioles Silver Slugger award winners

2013 Chris Davis (1B), J.J. Hardy (SS), Adam Jones (OF)
2008 Aubrey Huff (DH)
2005 Miguel Tejada (SS)
2004 Melvin Mora (3B), Miguel Tejada (SS)
1998 Rafael Palmeiro (1B)
1996 Roberto Alomar (2B)
1994 Cal Ripken Jr. (SS)
1993 Cal Ripken Jr. (SS)
1991 Cal Ripken Jr. (SS)
1989 Cal Ripken Jr. (SS), Mickey Tettleton (C)
1986 Cal Ripken Jr. (SS)
1985 Cal Ripken Jr. (SS)
1984 Eddie Murray (1B), Cal Ripken Jr. (SS)
1983 Eddie Murray (1B), Cal Ripken Jr. (SS)

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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BaseballMajor League BaseballBaltimore OriolesCal Ripken, Jr.J.J. HardyChris Davis
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