The home run co-leader and RBI champion is the first catcher to receive the award for the best Venezuelan player of the MLB season.
Luis Aparicio Award Press
With a total of 100 first-place votes (totaling a perfect 600 points), Salvador Pérez, of the Kansas City Royals, became the fifth player to unanimously win the Luis Aparicio Award. The award, presented by Maltin Polar and sponsored by Oceanica de Seguros, is given to the most outstanding Venezuelan player in the MLB season.
The 31 year old from Valencia, Venezuela, is the first catcher to win this distinction and he joins Johan Santana (2006), Magglio Ordónez (2007), Miguel Cabrera (2011, 2012, 2013), and José Altuve (2017) on the list of players to receive a perfect score of votes.
Pérez won the unanimous decision due to a historical batting season where he set a new record for homeruns by a catcher with 48. The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer, Johnny Bench, had held the previous record of 45 since 1970.
His 48 home runs allowed him to dominate this department in all the major leagues, tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., while also leading the majors in RBI’s with 121. This made him only the fourth Venezuelan to head both departments in a single season, joining Antonio Armas (1984), Andrés Galarraga (1996), and Miguel Cabrera (2012).
He came up one home run short of reaching the record for a Venezuelan,, still held by Eugenio Suarez, who hit 49 homeruns in 2019 and was awarded the Luis Aparicio Award for that season.
“First of all I want to thank God because this has been a season of much satisfaction and many blessings,” Pérez pointed out when he learned of his award. “I began to work very early, during the off-season months, and the numbers just came on their own.”
“I was able to start in another All Star game, break the record for homeruns by a catcher, I’m nominated for the Silver Slugger Award, for the Gold Glove Award, for the Robert Clemente Award, and to have finished the season healthy has been a blessing,” he added. “But to win the award that has the name of the only Venezuelan in the Hall of Fame, Luis Aparicio…Wow! It’s a real honor.”
The catcher has been a constant in the voting ballots since 2015 when he received an Honorable Mention for being named the MVP of the World Series. He was runner up to Ronald Acuna Jr in the 2020 voting.
“I want to thank Don Luis (Aparicio) and all of the reporters and the media who vote for this prestigious award,” added the catcher. “I also want to congratulate all of my colleagues for a great season, especially Miguel Cabrera for the feat of making the 500 homerun club, as well as my fellow countrymen on the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves who are in the World Series.”
Perez, in addition to leading the majors in home runs and RBIs, averaged .273/.316 /.544, imposing career highs in hits, with 169, and runs, with 88.
The three-time winner of the Luis Aparicio Award, José Altuve, came in second to Pérez in the voting receiving 316 points, followed by pitcher Ranger Suárez, with 179 points. Luis García (165) and Avisaíl García (92) completed the Top 5.
20 players, out of the 39 eligible, received votes in this 18th edition of the Luis Aparicio Award, which is endorsed by Major League Baseball and presented by Maltín Polar. The award was created in 2004 by Line Up International to honor our only representative in Cooperstown and to annually award the most outstanding Venezuelan player in the Major Leagues.
By decision of our sole representative in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, the Luis Aparicio Award has traditionally been given out in Maracaibo within the framework of the Chinita Game, in the Venezuelan Winter League, but always subject to modifications, depending on the availability of the winners.
LUIS APARICIO AWARD WINNERS
2004 Johan Santana (Minnesota Twins)
2005 Miguel Cabrera (Florida Marlins)
2006 *Johan Santana (Minnesota Twins)
2007 *Magglio Ordóñez (Detroit Tigers)
2008 Francisco Rodríguez (Los Angeles Angels)
2009 Félix Hernández (Seattle Mariners)
2010 Carlos González (Colorado Rockies)
2011 *Miguel Cabrera ((Detroit Tigers)
2012 *Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
2013 *Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
2014 José Altuve (Houston Astros)
2015 Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
2016 José Altuve (Houston Astros)
2017 *José Altuve (Houston Astros)
2018 Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta Braves) and Jesús Aguilar (Milwaukee Brewers)
2019 Eugenio Suárez (Cincinnati Reds)
2020 Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
2021*Salvador Pérez (Kansas City Royals)
(*) Unanimous Winner