A Major League Baseball player, who is an American Legion Baseball alumnus, is honored each year with the American Legion Graduate of the Year award. The award recognizes character, leadership, playing abilities and community service. Candidates are endorsed by their former posts. To recommend a Major League player, send a short biography to your respective department Baseball Committee.
Through a special arrangement with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, a player is selected each year as the George W. Rulon Player of the Year. The award is based on integrity, mental attitude, cooperation, citizenship, sportsmanship, scholastic aptitude and general good conduct. George W. Rulon was the national staff coordinator who operated American Legion Baseball for 25 years, until his retirement in 1986.
Since 1945, the Hillerich and Bradsby Co. of Louisville, Ky., has presented a Louisville Slugger trophy to the player with the highest batting average during national competition.
Sponsored by Rawlings Sporting Goods Co., the Big Stick Award is given at the Legion World Series to the player who rounds the most bases in regional and national competition.
During the 1970 season, American Legion Baseball lost a dynamic leader in Dr. Irvin L. Cowger, a former Department of Kansas adjutant and devoted baseball supporter. The National Americanism Commission established an award in Cowger's name, sponsored by the Department of Kansas. The recipient is credited with the most runs batted in at the regional tournament and World Series.
Bob Feller was the first American Legion Baseball alumnus elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Despite an active business career, Feller continues to maintain a keen interest in the program. The National Americanism Commission salutes his participation with this award. The recipient is the player with the most strikeouts in regional and national competition.
The James F. Daniel Jr. Memorial Sportsmanship Award is presented to a player who participates in the Legion World Series and best embodies the principles of good sportsmanship. The Selection Committee chooses the recipient.
Adjutant Jack Williams led the Department of North Dakota for 49 years before his death in 1967. His great love for the game of baseball was evident in his efforts to establish American Legion Baseball as a youth citizenship training program. Aware that proper adult leadership is an important component of success, Williams encouraged qualified men to work in the program. To honor Williams' memory, the Department of North Dakota annually presents this award to the manager and coach of the national championship team as outstanding representatives of adult leadership.