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Melky Cabrera is a finalist for the “Heart and Hustle” award

Nov 5, 2012, 1:50 PM EDT

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OK, so this was apparently announced way back in July, but I didn’t notice it until Mike Bates pointed it out on Twitter this afternoon and … well, you’ll see.

Each year the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association gives out a “Heart and Hustle” award “to a player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and traditions of the game.”

As part of the voting process one player from each of the 30 teams is selected as a finalist “based on the passion, desire, and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field.”

All of which makes this pretty amazing: Melky Cabrera is the Giants’ finalist for the “Heart and Hustle” award this year after missing the end of the regular season and being left off the postseason roster following his 50-game suspension for a performance-enhancing drug.

As pictured below, Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda presented Cabrera with the team version of the “Heart and Hustle” award on August 1, two weeks before his suspension was announced:

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And you can still vote for him on MLB.com and everything:

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MLB.com balloting only counts for five percent of the total “Heart and Hustle” vote or else this whole thing could get really fun. With his $300,000 in playoff share money Cabrera could build a shrine to display his award.

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