Martinez, Blake and Vizquel
Whether or not Omar Vizquel is back for a 12th season in Cleveland, what he has done for 11 years matters.
The Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America voted Vizquel a special recognition award at their annual post-season meeting.
Catcher Victor Martinez won the Man of the Year Award in a close vote over right-hander Jake Westbrook.
Third baseman Casey Blake won the Frank Gibbons-Steve Olin Good Guy Award.
Also nominated for the Man of the Year honor was designated hitter Travis Hafner.
In his first full season as the Indians' starting catcher, Martinez became an All-Star and an offensive force in leading Cleveland to a 12-game improvement in the standings over 2003.
The switch-hitter batted .283 (147-for-520) with 38 doubles, 23 homers and 108 RBI -- really taking command when manager Eric Wedge put him into the cleanup spot in the batting order on May 3.
From that point, he hit .285 (127-for-445) with 18 homers and 97 RBI in 114 games in the middle of the lineup to help Cleveland move within one game of first place in the AL Central on Aug. 14 before a nine-game losing streak took the Indians out of contention.
Westbrook, who began the season in the bullpen, went 14-9 with a 3.38 ERA -- the third lowest mark in the American League. He, too, was selected to the All-Star Team.
Hafner hit .311 with 28 homers and 109 RBI -- but the writers believed that Martinez's 124 starts behind the plate, second-most in the AL to Baltimore's Javy Lopez, made him more valuable to the team in 2004.
Blake became a leader on an off the field, always answering reporters' questions no matter the outcome of a game. He also had a solid season, hitting .271 (159-for-587) with 36 doubles 28 homers and 88 RBI.
Also nominated for the Good Guy Award, which is named for the late sportswriter Gibbons and Indians pitcher Olin, were first baseman Ben Broussard, infielder John McDonald and press box assistant John Krepop.
The writers decided that Vizquel should get a special award for both his outstanding play over the past 11 years as well as his constant cooperation with the media. The 37-year-old has become a free agent and may not return for a 12th season in Cleveland in 2005.
The three players will be honored Nov. 19 at the 32nd annual Our Lady of the Wayside Sports Banquet in suburban Westlake.
Fans who would like to attend the event can call 440-871-0931 or 440-934-6054 for ticket information.
CLEVELAND BBWAA MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
1946 - owner Bill Veeck
1947 - MGR-SS Lou Boudreau
1948 - LHP Gene Bearden
1949 - RHP Bob Lemon
1950 - OF Larry Doby
1951 - RHP Bob Feller
1952 - RHPs Mike Garcia, Bob Lemon & Early Wynn
1953 - 3B Al Rosen
1954 - 2B Bobby Avila
1955 - OF-3B Al Smith
1956 - 1B Vic Wertz
1957 - OF Gene Woodling
1958 - OF Rocky Colavito
1959 - OF Tito Francona
1960 - RHP Jim Perry
1961 - Mel Harder (pitching coach)
1962 - RHP Dick Donovan
1963 - 3B Max Alvis
1964 - RHP Don McMahon
1965 - OF Rocky Colavito
1966 - RHP Sonny Siebert
1967 - 3B Max Alvis
1968 - RHP Luis Tiant
1969 - LHP Sam McDowell
1970 - C Ray Fosse & LHP Sam McDowell
1971 - 3B Graig Nettles
1972 - RHP Gaylord Perry
1973 - 3B Buddy Bell
1974 - RHPs Gaylord Perry & Jim Perry
1975 - LHP Dave LaRoche
1976 - DH Rico Carty
1977 - 2B Duane Kuiper
1978 - 1B Andre Thornton
1979 - MGR Dave Garcia
1980 - 1B Mike Hargrove
1981 - 1B Mike Hargrove
1982 - 3B Toby Harrah & DH Andre Thornton
1983 - RHP Rick Sutcliffe
1984 - RHP Bert Blyleven
1985 - OF Brett Butler
1986 - OF Joe Carter
1987 - 3B Brook Jacoby
1988 - RHP Doug Jones
1989 - 2B Jerry Browne
1990 - RHP Doug Jones
1991 - 2B Carlos Baerga
1992 - 2B Carlos Baerga
1993 - OF Albert Belle
1994 - no award due to season-ending players' strike
1995 - RHP Jose Mesa
1996 - OF Albert Belle
1997 - C Sandy Alomar Jr.
1998 - OF Manny Ramirez
1999 - 2B Roberto Alomar & OF Manny Ramirez
2000 - 3B Travis Fryman
2001 - 2B Roberto Alomar
2002 - 1B Jim Thome
2003 - OF Jody Gerut
2004 - C Victor Martinez
FRANK GIBBONS-STEVE OLIN GOOD GUY AWARD WINNERS
1968 - MGR Alvin Dark
1969 - INF Lou Klimchock
1970 - INF Larry Brown
1971 - GM Hank Peters
1972 - Dino Lucarelli (public relations director)
1973 - Bob Gill (assistant PR director)
1974 - Harold Bossard & Marshall Bossard (groundskeepers)
1975 - 1B Boog Powell
1976 - Jim Warfield (trainer)
1977 - Cy Buynak (clubhouse manager)
1978 - 2B Duane Kuiper
1979 - LHP Sid Monge
1980 - OF Rick Manning
1981 - Mike Seghi (traveling secretary)
1982 - Dennis Sommers (first-base coach)
1983 - Don McMahon (pitching coach)
1984 - DH Andre Thornton
1985 - 1B Mike Hargrove
1986 - Johnny Goryl (third-base coach)
1987 - DH Andre Thornton
1988 - MGR Doc Edwards
1989 - LHP Bud Black & RHP Tom Candiotti
1990 - 3B Brook Jacoby
1991 - MGR Mike Hargrove (took over in mid-season)
1992 - SS Felix Fermin
1993 - Cy Buynak (clubhouse manager)
1994 - no award, due to season-ending players' strike
1995 - 3B Jim Thome
1996 - SS Omar Vizquel
1997 - RHP Orel Hershiser
1998 - Luis Isaac (bullpen coach)
1999 - RHP Dave Burba
2000 - C Sandy Alomar Jr.
2001 - RHP Charles Nagy
2002 - MGR Joel Skinner (took over in mid-season)
2003 - DH Ellis Burks
2004 - 3B Casey Blake