Hawksworth, Rasmus Tops in Cards Minors

The St. Louis Cardinals organization named right-handed starter Blake Hawksworth their Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2006 while outfielder Colby Rasmus earned Player of the Year honors.

The St. Louis Cardinals organization has settled on their top minor league player awards for the 2006 season. The winners are right-handed starter Blake Hawksworth - their Minor League Pitcher of the Year – and outfielder Colby Rasmus, who will take home Player of the Year honors.

Last year, the organization recognized third baseman Travis Hanson and pitcher Mark Worrell. 2004 winners were outfielder Reid Gorecki and pitcher Anthony Reyes. John Gall (Player) and Rick Ankiel (Pitcher) are the only two-time winners of these awards, first issued in 1995.

The 2006 winners are the same as our selections here at stlcardinals.scout.com, which were announced before Christmas. Click here to read about Rasmus' 2006 season and here for more information on Hawksworth's breakout campaign this past year.

I asked Rasmus his feelings about winning the award. "It's pretty neat. Everything went together for me this year and got better. So, hopefully they (the Cardinals) are happy with what I did and how I am playing. And I have to keep it going," Rasmus said.

Both players will receive their awards in person at the St. Louis Baseball Writers Dinner. The 49th annual event will be held on the evening of Monday, January 15 at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis and will also recognize the 2006 World Champions and their counterparts from the previous two St. Louis Series winners.

Tickets for the Baseball Writers Dinner are $150 each and include a three-day pass to the 2007 Winter Warm-Up, to be held January 13-15, also at the Millennium. To purchase tickets to the Dinner, call (314) 628-2075.

Winter Warm-Up tickets are available via the Cardinals website here for $40 for adults and $10 for children. I am told adult passes are now sold out, however, so the Writers Dinner may be your only ticket source at this point. Be aware that many major-leaguers' autographs at the Warm-Up require advance reservations and a sizeable fee, which goes directly to Cardinals Care.

For those unable to come to St. Louis, there will be four Cardinals Caravans in mid-January, making a total of 15 stops in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Tennessee. More information here.

While in St. Louis, both Hawksworth and Rasmus have been confirmed to participate in the Winter Warm-Up, giving fans the opportunity to meet both winners up close and personal.

While this will be Rasmus' first Warm-Up, he knows a little bit about what to expect. "I sure appreciate the award and I am really looking forward to meeting the Cardinals fans in St. Louis next month," the outfielder said in closing.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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