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Sure, Roy Halladay won some award named after an ex-pitcher. But he didn't win (okay, he wasn't even eligible for) the award named for an ex-pitcher. It's Boxing Day, and the final results of the inaugural Andujar "youneverknow" Award balloting are here.

Thirteen different players received votes; five of those received first-place votes. But the clear winner -- sorry, pre-season favorite John Halama; apologies, runner-up Scott Podsednik -- was Chicago White Sox ace Esteban Loaiza.

Details follow.

Dec. 26-31, 2003

Batter's Box: Baseball From a Toronto Perspective
Contact: Kent Williams []


Annual "YouNeverKnow" Honor Recognizes MLB's
Most Surprising Offseason Free Agent Acquisition

TORONTO -- Canadian baseball fans may still be celebrating Blue Jay ace Roy Halladay's Cy Young Award, but you can't blame them if they wonder what it would be like to have both the winner and runner-up in the rotation at Skydome next season.

Still, Toronto fans must not hold a grudge against Esteban Loaiza, as the hard-throwing righty who managed just a 25-28 record in parts of three seasons with the Jays before leaving for the Chicago White Sox this past offseason, won the first Andujar Award presented by Batter's Box, a popular Web log dedicated to baseball from a Canadian perspective.

Loaiza, who won 21 games for the White Sox in 2003, edged out scrappy Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Scott Podsednik for the inaugural Andujar. The award is named in honor of the legendary and quotable pitcher Joaquin Andujar, who won 127 games in 13 seasons with the Astros, Cardinals and Athletics -- and who once said, "There is one word in baseball that says it all, and that word is 'youneverknow.'"

"That quote captures the spirit of this award," said Batter's Box founder Kent Williams. "We're honoring the players who, looking back, really make fans shake their heads and say 'Wow, in baseball, you really never do know what's going to happen.'"

Box General Manager Jordan Furlong added, "The Andujar -- we call them the 'youneverknows,' just like the Academy Awards are nicknamed Oscars -- goes to the player who is the epitome, in retrospect, of a low-risk, high-reward transaction. That the first one goes to an ex-Jay demonstrates the sophistication of Batter's Box readers as students of the game. It would have been easy to hold a hometown grudge."

To win an Andujar, a player must have signed as a free agent -- either a major or minor league contract is acceptable -- with a new team in the previous off-season. Players acquired via trade are not eligible. Players are also not eligible to win an Andujar if they have ever been named to a Major League All-Star Game roster or if they have never appeared in a major league game. Players signed as free agents from foreign professional leagues are also ineligible.

Voting is conducted by e-mail, with all Box contributors eligible to comment on, campaign for and vote in the selection of the winner. As with online voting for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, votes are limited to one per functioning e-mail address. Information provided to voters, who can select up to five candidates in a 7-4-3-2-1 point award basis, includes team, position, salary, key traditional and sabermetric statistics and brief editorial comments.

Showing the balance in the Andujar field this past season, all 12 finalists selected by the Batter's Box editorial board received votes, as did one write-in candidate -- Toronto catcher Greg Myers benefited from a late grassroots campaign by Box readers to surge to fifth overall in the balloting. "Okay, so maybe there was a little homerism in the voting," admitted Furlong.

Following Loaiza and Podsednik, the final tally split votes among, in order, Boston corner infielders David Ortiz and Bill Mueller; Myers; Milwaukee closer Danny Kolb; Toronto outfielder Frank Catalanotto; Cleveland third sacker Casey Blake; Boston utilityman Kevin Millar, San Francisco outfielder Jose Cruz, Jr.; Kansas City infielder Desi Relaford; Colorado pitcher Darren Oliver; and Texas hurler John Thomson.

Loaiza appeared on 90 percent of the ballots cast, the only candidate to do so, and received more than half of the overall first place votes. Podsednik, Ortiz, Myers and Catalanotto were the only other players to receive first-place mentions.

Of the 13 players who received votes, only three also appeared in the list of 14 who received pre-season votes in March -- Catalanotto, Ortiz, Thomson and Relaford. Oakland lefty John Halama was the pre-season pick; he finished the season 3-5 for the Athletics.

"We initially announce this award on Dec. 26 because it's Boxing Day, of course," said Williams. "And we hope baseball fans of all teams will visit the Box at some point in the coming year. The 2004 pre-season Andujar nominees will be announced in early February, and hey -- youneverknow."

Batter's Box is a non-profit Web log founded in October 2002. Though its primary focus is Toronto Blue Jays baseball, Batter's Box has more than a dozen contributing authors from both Canada and the United States, from Toronto and New York to Texas and Washington state, and hundreds of regular contributors.


For more information, visit Batter's Box at

Loaiza Wins Inaugural Andujar | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Mick - Friday, December 26 2003 @ 11:54 AM EST (#22086) #
_A - Friday, December 26 2003 @ 06:24 PM EST (#22087) #
Curiosity...did this make it over the newswire/on to assignment desks of sports departments or was it a fun way of presenting the facts? (Either way, great work :-)
_Donkit R.K. - Friday, December 26 2003 @ 08:02 PM EST (#22088) #
Is there a detailed breakdown of the results on the way?
_Rob - Saturday, December 27 2003 @ 01:46 PM EST (#22089) #
Yeah, you guys should send the press release to, oh, I don't know, Richard Griffin.
_Mick - Saturday, December 27 2003 @ 03:01 PM EST (#22090) #
We didn't do a formal release to the wire or broadcast it widely, no. I have sent the release to the White Sox PR office and to Lee Sinins (ATM Reports) and Bill Simmons ( Sports Guy); may send it a few other places. I believe Coach was thinking about sending it to some local media.

And you're right, Rob -- I opt here to take you seriously and ignore the implied sarcasm -- Rich Griffin would be an ideal person to get this information. I don't think he'd use it (Lee, for instance, has not, and I didn't expect him to) but he might rather get a kick out of it. Offering him space on Da Box in early fall with the interviews we did with him and Baker opens doors like that.
_A - Saturday, December 27 2003 @ 05:11 PM EST (#22091) #
Mick, just for kicks you can send it out over, it's used by assignment editors coast to coast and it's free (keyword). If nothing else, it's good because should you want to do future press releases it won't seem like a random group of people professing their never before heard knowledge of baseball.
_Mick - Sunday, December 28 2003 @ 12:50 AM EST (#22092) #
Thanks, A. I am used to several similar U.S.-based sites from work, and all require a corporate subscription or a per-post fee. However, if this service truly is free, we'll find out ... I just sent them a copy of the release.

Thanks for the suggestion.
Loaiza Wins Inaugural Andujar | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.