Max Muncy was named the Los Angeles Dodgers’ recipient of the 2019 Heart & Hustle Award, which is presented annually by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) to one player on each team who “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball,” along with factoring in on-field performance.
It’s the only MLB award that is voted on by former players, with balloting conducted prior to the All-Star break. Recent Dodgers winners include Matt Kemp (2018), Justin Turner (2017), Chase Utley (2016) and Joc Pederson (2015).
The MLBPAA began presenting the Heart & Hustle Award in 2005. While each club has a preliminary winner who is recognized, an overall winner will be announced Nov. 7, 2019, at the 20th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York.
The event is the primary fundraiser for the MLBPAA’s series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. The clinics impact more than 19,000 children each year, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts took home the Heart & Hustle Award at last year’s dinner.
Muncy is in the midst of another impressive season after enjoying a breakout campaign with the Dodgers in 2018. Injuries led to his call-up last year, and Muncy took full advantage of the opportunity.
He and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts maintained confidence the success would not be a flash in the pan, and Muncy thus far has held up his end of the bargain. In addition to maintaining his production at the plate, Muncy’s selflessness has allowed the Dodgers to play him at second base.
The 28-year-old was named to the National League roster an an All-Star Game injury replacement for the Washington Nationals’ Anthony Rendon. “Tt’s a dream come true,” Muncy said of earning his first All-Star Game selection.
“It’s something that I wouldn’t have thought would happen but here we are. It’s something me and my family are incredibly excited about.”
Roberts added: “I think in this day of self-promotion and a lot of things that lead to the fans, it’s not always about who’s having the best first half. Looking at all these statistics, WAR or OPS and all that stuff, he deserves it. With his production, to get acknowledged, I think is fantastic.”
The Dodgers’ complete list of Heart & Hustle Award nominees is comprised of Muncy (2019), Kemp (2018), Turner (2017), Utley (2016), Pederson (2015), Dee Gordon (2014), Nick Punto (2013), Jerry Hairston Jr. (2012), Jamey Carroll (2011), Matt Kemp (2010), Russell Martin (2007-09) and Eric Gagne (2006).
A Dodgers player has never won the overall Heart & Hustle Award.