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09/26/08 10:08 PM ET
Molina repeats as 'Willie Mac' winner
Giants catcher voted most inspirational for second straight year
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Until Friday, only one other Giant had won the "Willie Mac" Award two years in a row. Then again, few Giants have fit the award's profile as well as Bengie Molina does. Molina was named the Willie Mac winner for the second consecutive time, reflecting his standing as the team's most inspirational player. Players, coaches and the athletic training staff cast ballots, along with fans on sfgiants.com. Molina joined right-hander Mike Krukow (1985-86) as the award's only other back-to-back winner. Molina's also the third multiple winner, preceded by Krukow and first baseman J.T. Snow (1997 and 2004). "It's really touching. I didn't expect that at all," Molina said. "To win it again, it's an honor. I'm trying to stay humble about it. I'm here to help anybody I can -- kids, older guys, younger guys. I'm just here to help everybody. I'm not here to try to win any award for doing that, but it's very nice that it's recognized." Molina, 34, is having one of his best seasons. He entered Friday hitting .294 in a career-high 142 games with team highs in home runs (15), RBIs (93, also a personal best) and a .316 batting average with runners in scoring position. Yet Molina remained far from satisfied. Known for agonizing over every defeat, he said that defeats pained him more this year than last, despite a Spring Training vow to lighten up somewhat. "I might not have shown it because I was trying to get out of the clubhouse and not let my teammates know that I was down like that," Molina said. "I took it harder this year, knowing we had a lot better chance to win this year than last year." The Willie Mac Award was established in 1980 in honor of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. Engraved on the plaque that Molina was due to receive in a pregame ceremony were the words "Competitive Spirit, Ability and Leadership" to capture the traits McCovey and the winner exemplify.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.