HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Sports Illustrated has named Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt as the 2017 SI Sportspersons of the Year. The honor was announced during Watt's appearance on The Tonight Show on NBC.
Altuve becomes the first player in Astros history to win the SI Sportsperson of the Year award, which was created in 1954 and bestowed upon the athletes, team or coach who transcended the year in sports by achieving the highest level of athletic excellence while demonstrating the ideals of sportsmanship.
“The city of Houston has treated me really good," said Altuve in the SI issue. "I felt at that time that I owed them something. So when they were having a hard time, I wanted to give something back to them.”
Altuve becomes the 18th individual baseball player to have won the SI Sportsperson of the Year award since its inception.
The award adds to a banner year for Altuve, who was named the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player after leading the Astros to the team's first World Series Championship in franchise history.
Since the regular season concluded, Altuve has been named the AL MVP, the Sporting News Player of the Year, the Baseball America MLB Player of the Year, the 2017 AL Hank Aaron Award winner and the winner of two MLBPA Players Choice Awards for the Major League Player of the Year and the AL Most Outstanding Player. He also took home his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger award.
“We will remember 2017 as much for what athletes strove to achieve off the field as for what they achieved on it,” said Chris Stone, Editorial Director of Sports at Time Inc. “While J.J. and José represent two very different paths, they both led to the same destination: #HoustonStrong. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of SI’s original ‘Athletes Who Care’ Sportsperson of the Year honor, which recognizes players who transcended sport alone. This year once again we celebrate a new generation of athletes who care, in all senses of the word: caring about humanitarian efforts, about social and political justice, about their communities and about their crafts.”
Watt raised more than $37 million in Hurricane Harvey relief aid and served as a beacon for what an athlete can do with their platform beyond sports. As Peter King, Editor in Chief of The MMQB, points out, “Nothing J.J. Watt has achieved in his career, or might still achieve, will measure up to what he did for Houston.”
“All I did was give people a way to help," said Watt. "If I’m going to get an award, I feel like over 200,000 other people should too.”
Watt and Altuve will be honored at the 2017 SI Sportsperson of the Year Award Show on Dec. 5, in addition to the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award winner, Colin Kaepernick; the 2017 SI Kids SportsKid of the Year, Bunchie Young; the 2017 Rising Star of the Year Award presented by Symetra, Joel Embiid; the 2017 Performer of the Year Award presented by Jack Link’s, Maya Moore; and the 2017 Hope Award recipient, retired Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran.