Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp and Blue Jays left fielder Jose Bautista… (Tom Pennington / Getty Images )
Matt Kemp was recognized as the top offensive player in the National League on Monday when he became the first Dodger to win the Hank Aaron Award.
Kemp, 27, was a triple crown contender and was one home run short of becoming the fifth player in baseball history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season.
"It's definitely a dream come true," said Kemp, who was accompanied by family members who included his parents, Judy and Carl, and his grandparents. "Hopefully, I can keep dreaming and keep going, keep this dream alive."
Kemp is also a top contender for the NL most-valuable-player award, which will be presented next month. "To win MVP is something you dream of as a kid, being the best," Kemp said. "If I win it, I'm definitely going to be happy, one of the happiest people in the world. But if I don't, that means I've got to work harder to win it next year."
Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays won the American League's Hank Aaron Award, which was established in 1999. Ballots were cast by a panel of eight Hall of Fame members, including Aaron, and fans.
Kemp led the National League in home runs, with 126 runs batted in, 115 runs scored and 353 total bases. He became the seventh player in major league history to rank in the top three in his league in home runs, batting average, RBIs and stolen bases.
Kemp's agent, former major league pitcher Dave Stewart, went as far to compare Kemp to Willie Mays on Monday.
"You don't want to put that tag on Matt," Stewart said. "That would be unfair. Willie Mays could be one of the top two or three players of all time. But there's a lot of likeness there for me."
Stewart said he and Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti have started discussing the possibility of a long-term contract extension for Kemp, who will be a free agent at the end of next season.
"We're in the cordial stages," Stewart said.
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