Marcus Semien embodies each quality necessary to win the overall “Heart and Hustle Award
If there ever were criteria for an award that matched up with Marcus Semien it would be the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s (MLBPAA) “Heart and Hustle Award.” The award is given to one player on each team that,
“Demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field.”
Thankfully the members of the MLBPAA noticed this close comparison and named Semien the winner of the award for the Oakland Athletics. Of course there is a bigger, overall award that is voted on by former MLB players. It is the only award of its kind as only former players may vote for the winner.
The MLB winner will be announced on Nov. 15, 2016 at the 17th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York. The award is only about a decade old and the past overall winners include David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013), Josh Harrison (2014) and Anthony Rizzo (2015).
It would be great to see Semien as the overall winner. As I highlighted above the award is mainly based on “passion, desire and work ethic.” I do not believe there is a better candidate out there than Marcus Semien.
He’s shown dedication and work ethic beyond most players in the league. He lead the league in errors last season with 35 but he was determined to learn to play his new position as the A’s everyday starting shortstop.
The A’s didn’t give up on him either, hiring Ron Washington, first as a special infield coach and later promoted him to his former position with the A’s as their third base coach.
Semien worked with Washington everyday for hours honing his skills at shortstop, learning the correct footwork and other ways to keep him from making errant throws or missing ground balls.
With all the hard work Semien is put in (and is still putting in on a daily basis), he lowered his number of errors from 12 in May before the arrival of Washington to just two in September. This year he does have 12 errors, however, that is exceptional considering he had 12 in a single month in 2015.
This is all due to Semien’s passion for the game, his desire to learn his position – a position he had only played six times prior to joining the Athletics and the work ethic he shows working hard with Ron Washington every day so that he could improve and help the team.
Marcus Semien embodies the qualities of the “Heart and Hustle Award” and I hope that the voting veterans will take notice of the 25-year-old from Oakland.