OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson was honored before Friday's game against the Angels as the A's recipient of the Heart and Hustle Award.
The distinction, awarded to a member of each MLB team, is voted on by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and given to active players "who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game."
"That's Josh Donaldson," said Ray Fosse, who was a member of the 1973 and '74 Oakland A's World Series teams and presented the award to Donaldson. "He's a student of the game. He's out here all the time. He plays hard, and he plays the game the right way."
Donaldson has been the A's most consistent offensive contributor this season, batting .304 with 61 RBIs ad 112 hits in 100 games. He also made the transition from catcher to third base at the beginning of last season and has manned the position with poise, so much so that Fosse said he should be considered for a Gold Glove Award.
"You have to look at what he does on the field and realize that he's a special talent, but he's more than that," Fosse said. "He's the ultimate gamer. He's here all the time. He's like a stadium rat, where he spends a lot of time out here trying to get better. That's a credit to him."
As the season draws to a close, fans, alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 honorees. Last season's overall winner was Mike Trout of the Angels, and Oakland's representative was Jonny Gomes, who also has been the club award with the Rays and Reds.
"There's a lot of former players who come around here, not only who played for the A's but in other organizations, and they say they enjoy watching me play and enjoy the way I play the game," Donaldson said. That's the biggest honor, when an ex-player comes up to you and gives you that token of appreciation."
Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.