HOUSTON, TX - Sports Illustrated has named Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt the 2017 SI Sportspersons of the Year. The announcement was made Monday night on The Tonight Show on NBC.
Altuve becomes the first player in franchise history to win the SI Sportsperson of the Year award. The SI Sportsperson of the Year award was created in 1954 and is bestowed upon the athletes, team or coach who transcended the year in sports by achieving the highest level of athletic excellence while demonstrating the ideals of sportsmanship.
One of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, the SI Sportsperson of the Year award has been given to some of the greatest athletes in the entire world. Previous winners have included LeBron James (2016, 2012), Tom Brady (2005), Arthur Ashe (1992), Michael Jordan (1991), Wayne Gretzky (1982), Muhammad Ali (1974), Billie Jean King (1972) and Arnold Palmer (1960).
Altuve becomes the 18th individual baseball player to have won the SI Sportsperson of the Year award since its inception in 1954, with those players being Madison Bumgarner (2014), Derek Jeter (2009), Randy Johnson (2001), Curt Schilling (2001), Sammy Sosa (1998), Mark McGwire (1998), Cal Ripken Jr. (1995), Orel Hershiser (1988), Dale Murphy (1987), Willie Stargell (199), Pete Rose (1975), Tom Seaver (1969), Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Sandy Koufax (1965), Stan Musial (1957) and Johnny Podres (1955).
The award adds to a banner year for Altuve, who was named the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player after leading the Astros to their first World Series Championship in franchise history. During the regular season, Altuve won his third career and second consecutive batting title, posting a .346 batting average and an American League-high 204 hits while becoming the first player in Major League history to be the outright leader in hits in his league in four consecutive seasons. Altuve became the 11th player in MLB history to record at least 200 hits in four straight years. He led the Majors in WAR (8.4), while ranking among the top 10 American League players in runs (T-2nd, 112), on-base percentage (3rd, .410), stolen bases (3rd, 32), OPS (3rd, .957), total bases (5th, 323), slugging percentage (6th, .547) and doubles (T-9th, 39).
Altuve’s season was one of the best in franchise history, as he earned his fifth All-Star selection and his third consecutive start. In the postseason, he hit .310 with seven homers and 14 RBI in 18 games, setting a franchise record for hits in a single postseason (22). His seven home runs tied the most by a second baseman in a single postseason in MLB history, and the fourth-most in a single postseason in MLB history among all players overall.
Since the regular season concluded, Altuve has been named the AL MVP, the Sporting News Player of the Year, the Baseball America MLB Player of the Year, the 2017 AL Hank Aaron Award winner and the winner of two MLBPA Players Choice Awards for the Major League Player of the Year and the AL Most Outstanding Player. He also took home his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger award.
In his career, Altuve has earned five All-Star Game appearances (three starts), four Silver Slugger Awards, a Gold Glove Award, three batting titles and two stolen base titles.