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Aaron Hill among finalists for Hank Aaron Award

Thirty players, including Arizona Diaondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill, have been named finalists for the 2012 Hank Aaron Award.

The award is presented to each league’s top offensive player, as voted on by fans and media. The award was introduced in 1999 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all time home run record.

Hill, who led the D-backs with a .302 batting average and 184 hits, will face stiff competition from the MLB batting champ Buster Posey and Ryan Bruan, who finished in the top three in runs batted in, home runs and batting average.

Beginning Tuesday and continuing through October 16th, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising of one player from each team.

“Named in honor of one of the greatest hitters and competitors of all-time, the Hank Aaron Awards recognize each League’s best all-around offensive performer,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig in a press release. “Hank’s career will forever remain a model of excellence and consistency, and I am glad that the 30 Club nominees are following the example of a pillar of our game.”

American League nominees include Billy Butler of the Royals, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, Shin-Soo Choo of the Indians, Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays, Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Derek Jeter of the Yakees, Adam Jones of the Orioles, Joe Mauer of the Twins, Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox, Josh Reddick of the A’s, Alex Rios of the White Sox, Kyle Seager of the Mariners, Mike Trout of the Angels and B.J. Upton of the Rays.

National League nominees include Jose Altuve of the Astros, Braun, Jay Bruce of the Reds, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, Chase Headley of the Padres, Jason Heyward of the Braves, Hill, Matt Holliday of the Cardinals, Adam LaRoche of the Nationals, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Posey, Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies, Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins and David Wright of the Mets.

What is most notable about this group off players is there only four returning from last year’s group of nominees. Triple Crown winner Cabrera, Braun, McCutchen and Stanton all appeared on the ballot in 2011.

Jeter, who led all players with 216 hits, is the only one on the ballot who has previously won.

The Hall of Fame panel led by Hank Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time. Each panel member was personally selected by Aaron to give their opinion on which player had the best offensive performance during the season. The winners will be announced during the 2012 World Series.

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