OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp was named the 2013 Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award winner on Friday. The accolade is voted on by teammates, coaches and team staff, and honors an A's player whose play on the field and conduct in the clubhouse best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspirational spirit demonstrated by the late Hall of Fame pitcher.
He'll be presented with the award on the field before Thursday night's game.
"I think it's because I'm the oldest position player," Crisp started with a laugh, adding that it caught him by surprise.
"I go out there and try my best," he said seriously. "Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I try to give 100 percent. I think that’s what our team is all about, so hopefully that’s one of the major reasons why they selected me. I'm grateful for the award."
Crisp, 33, needs one more stolen base to become the 10th player in team history to record a 20-home run, 20-steal season. He leads the team in stolen bases (19) and runs (85) despite playing just 123 games.
The fleet-footed 5-foot-10, 185-pounder is hitting .255 with 20 home runs and 59 RBI this season. He is yet to commit an error in 102 games and 295 total chances, extending his errorless streak to 130 games, dating back to last August.
"He's very deserving," manager Bob Melvin said. "Since I've been here, he's been one of the most respected guys, if not the most respected guy in the clubhouse on a daily basis for us. He could have won it last year, the year before probably.
"Very deserving. He was the guy for it this year."
It wasn't unanimous, as the 12-year veteran acknowledged he didn't vote for himself.
The A's have no reason not to pick up Crisp's option for next year -- reportedly worth $7.5 million -- and set him up for a contract season in 2014.
The annual award, which was established in 2004, is named after Jim “Catfish” Hunter, a native of Hertford, N.C who posted a 224-166 record and 3.26 ERA during 15 Major League seasons with the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees. He holds Oakland’s all-time career mark for wins (131) and won 20 or more games in five consecutive seasons (1971-75). In 1974, he won the American League’s Cy Young Award after winning a career-high 25 games.
“Catfish” earned five World Series rings during his career and was 4-0 with one save in seven World Series appearances with the A’s. An eight-time All-Star, he made his major league debut in 1965 with the Kansas City Athletics and did not miss a start until the 1977 season. Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987, Hunter is one of five Oakland players to have had his number retired, along with Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Eckersley and Rickey Henderson.
Hunter was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in September of 1998 and died of complications from the disease on Sept. 9, 1999 at the age of 53.
Oakland A's media services contributed to this report