OAKLAND, Calif. - Center fielder Coco Crisp has been named the recipient of the 2013 Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award, which honors an A's player whose play on the field and conduct in the clubhouse best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspirational spirit demonstrated by the late Hall of Fame pitcher. The award is voted upon by Oakland A's players, coaches and staff.
Crisp, completing his fourth season with the A's, has fueled the A's playoff push with his leadership and hustle as one of the American League's premier leadoff men. The 33-year-old Los Angeles native ranks first on the team in stolen bases (19) and runs (85), tied for second in triples (3), second in walks (career-high 56), tied for third in hits (123) and fourth in home runs (career-high 20) while playing in only 123 games with 483 at-bats. All 20 of his homers have come when batting first, which is the most in the American League, and the third-highest total in Oakland history behind Rickey Henderson (28, 1990) and Campy Campaneris (22, 1970).
The 5-10, 185-pound speedster is batting .255 with 59 RBI, and has not committed an error in 102 games in the outfield with his 295 total chances the second most in the American League among outfielders with no errors. He now has a 130-game errorless streak dating back to Aug. 23, 2012, which is fifth-longest in Oakland history by an outfielder.
This annual award, which was established in 2004, is named after Jim "Catfish" Hunter, a native of Hertford, N.C who posted a 224-166 record and 3.26 ERA during 15 Major League seasons with the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees. He holds Oakland's all-time career mark for wins (131) and won 20 or more games in five consecutive seasons (1971-75). In 1974, he won the American League's Cy Young Award after winning a career-high 25 games.
"Catfish" earned five World Series rings during his career and was 4-0 with one save in seven World Series appearances with the A's. An eight-time All-Star, he made his Major League debut in 1965 with the Kansas City Athletics and did not miss a start until the 1977 season. Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987, Hunter is one of five Oakland players to have had his number retired, along with Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Eckersley and Rickey Henderson.
Hunter was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in September of 1998 and died of complications from the disease on Sept. 9, 1999 at the age of 53. Previous winners of the Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award include Tim Hudson (2004), Mark Ellis (2005, 2007), Jason Kendall (2006), Mike Sweeney (2008), Kurt Suzuki (2009), Ben Sheets (2010), Josh Willingham (2011) and Jonny Gomes (2012).
Crisp will receive the Catfish Hunter Award in an on-field presentation prior to tonight's game against the Twins.