ATLANTA -- Along with being blessed with tremendous athleticism, Jason Heyward has endeared himself to fans with the all-out effort he brings to the stadium on a daily basis. His insatiable desire to compete has put the Braves right fielder in a position to receive a respectable and deserving honor.
Heyward has been selected by the Major League Players Alumni Association as the Braves' representative for this year's Heart and Hustle Award. This award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.
"It's a tremendous award," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he hits all of the criteria, the way he plays the game and the way he carries himself on and off the field. We have a good representative."
Heyward entered Tuesday leading all Major Leaguers with 27 defensive runs saved. He produced one of his most impressive gems on June 15, when he raced to the right-field wall and robbed Mike Trout of extra bases with a catch he made while crashing into the wall.
When Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca asked him how he made that play, Heyward simply said, "Because I wanted to."
Fans, alumni and active players will vote to select this year's overall winner. Previous winners include David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, '07), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Trout (2012) and Dustin Pedroia (2013).
The winner will be announced on Nov. 18 at the 15th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. This event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. These clinics impact more than 15,000 children each year at 110 clinics, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.