D-backs take home trio of GIBBY Awards
Gibson, Kennedy among those receiving 2011 honors
The D-backs were not only big winners on the field in 2011, but they've proved to also be successful at garnering awards during the offseason.
On Friday, the D-backs earned three Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards, with Kirk Gibson being named Manager of the Year and pitcher Ian Kennedy selected as Breakout Player of the Year.
The D-backs were also awarded the Fan Moment of the Year.
Gibson led the D-backs to 94 wins in the regular season in just his first full year as a big league manager. That was a 29-game improvement from 2010, when Arizona finished in last place in the National League West, 27 games out.
The D-backs won the NL West before falling to the Brewers in the first round of the playoffs. Last month, Gibson was honored with the NL Manager of the Year Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"[The players] bought into it," Gibson said of the team's new attitude. "They stayed with us and they never wavered, and as it developed they just really enjoyed it. They played the game the right way, had a good time, treated everyone the way they should be treated."
The D-backs certainly wouldn't have gone as far as they did without, Kennedy, who finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting after going 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 33 starts.
Kennedy entered the 2011 season with a career mark of 10-14 but rewarded Gibson for selecting him to pitch on Opening Day with one of the best seasons by a pitcher in club history.
The right-hander came up big in key games, as he compiled a 10-0 record against division foes.
"You get that guy on the mound, and he's a bulldog," fellow D-backs starter Daniel Hudson said of Kennedy. "He's been that way more this year than last year. You can just see on the mound his confidence -- I would almost say swagger. He's hopping off the mound after he strikes guys out.
"It's been a lot of fun to watch this year. He's been unbelievable."
The GIBBY Award winners are calculated based on four segments of voters that each account for 25 percent of the total vote: 1) millions of fans at MLB.com; 2) media; 3) front-office personnel; and 4) MLB alumni.
The ultimate honors of baseball's awards season, 2011 GIBBY trophies were awarded to Major League Baseball's top player, starting pitcher, rookie, breakout player, comeback player, wow factor, closer, setup man, defensive player, manager and executive, as well as to the 2011 Postseason MVP, with no restriction to league affiliation.
GIBBY trophies also honored the year's top play, moment, walk-off, performance, oddity, fan moment and postseason moment from MLB.com's Must C highlight vault.
The GIBBY for the Fan Moment of the Year Award went to 12-year-old Ian McMillan.
McMillan was the recipient of a ball thrown into the stands during a game at Chase Field. But the ball was intended for another fan. So McMillan, after briefly celebrating his find, gave the ball away to Nicholas Goodfellow, who was being consoled by his mother.
McMillan was interviewed during the game by Fox Sports Arizona and was praised by the organization for his generosity.