Major League Baseball announced today that Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been named the American League Player of the Month for June.  Hamilton, who was also A.L. Player of the Month in April and May of 2008, joins Rafael Palmeiro (3) and Alex Rodriguez (3) as the only Rangers to win the monthly honor three times.

Hamilton led the majors in average (.454), RBI (31), hits (49), total bases (88), slugging (.815), and on-base pct. (.482) last month, leading the American League with 9 home runs.  His 20 extra-base hits were tied for most in the majors.  The 49 hits set a club record for a single month, while his batting average was 3rd-best for any Ranger in any month in club history (minimum 50 plate appearances).  His 88 total bases were 4th-most in a month in team history and the 31 RBI established a Rangers record for the month of June.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hamilton was just the 3rd player since 1938 with a batting average of .454-or-higher while posting at least 31 RBI in a month.  He is the only A.L. player in that 73-year span to produce a month with those figures, joining Colorado’s Todd Helton (August 2000) and Houston’s Richard Hidalgo (Sept. 2000).  He ended the month with a career-best 23-game hit streak, including matching a career high with 5 hits on June 20 at Houston.

Palmeiro (July 1993/June 1999/Aug. 1999) and Alex Rodriguez (July 2002/Aug. 2002/Aug. 2003) also won the award three times apiece.  Hamilton joins Palmeiro as the only Rangers to take home the honors for the month of June.  In 2008, Hamilton became the first American League player in the history of the monthly honors (beginning 1974) to win the award in the first two months of a season.

Hamilton was voted by fans as a starter at this year’s All-Star Game for a third consecutive season in announcements made on Sunday.  He received more fan votes (2,840,816) than any other A.L. outfielder, and also topped the outfield list in player voting (588).

Entering tonight’s game, Hamilton ranks among A.L. leaders this season in total bases (1st, 195), extra-base hits (2nd, 45), home runs (T2nd, 20), slugging (3rd, .613), hits (3rd, 108), RBI (4th, 61), and average (4th, .340).

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