Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright were both runners-up in the major award voting this season. Pujols watched Joey Votto take the MVP and the division this year and Wainwright was a victim of Roy Halladay’s brilliant first season in Philadelphia in Cy Young voting.
The St. Louis Baseball Writers spared them another second-best this awards season. The Cardinals superstars will both be honored as the St. Louis Baseball Man of the Year at the 2011 St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner on Jan. 16. Pujols was Pujols. He batted .312 and led the league in home runs with 42 and RBIs with 118. Wainwright enjoyed his first 20-win season in a season rich with pitching greatness. He struck out a career-high 213 batters to go with a 2.42 ERA and his first All-Star appearance.
Matt Holliday will be presented with the Darryl Kile Award. The award is a high honor because it is voted on by the Cardinals players and because of its namesake. Darryl Kile was an inspiration to persevere in life. The award is “presented annually to the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros player who best exemplifies Kile’s traits of ‘a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man.'”
The dinner’s theme will be a toast and roast of Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. After some uncertainty following the season, La Russa decided he will return for his 16th season with the club. Legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight, pitchers Steve Kline and Dave Steward, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland will be at the dinner for La Russa.
It may be the last time for the skipper and his MVP at this awards banquet. La Russa’s future is always a question mark as he gets older. And Pujols’ contract negotiations have gone seemingly nowhere this offseason.