The TORONTO BLUE JAYS' R. HOWARD WEBSTER AWARD is an annual award that is bestowed upon the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER from each of the club's minor league affiliates and was named in honour of the late R. HOWARD WEBSTER, the first Chairman of the Board for the TORONTO BLUE JAYS and an original co-owner with LABATT's and the CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK of COMMERCE.

The recipient in 2000 for the SYRACUSE SKYCHIEFS, of the INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE (AAA) is CHAD MOTTOLA. The 28-year-old outfielder, who signed as a minor league free agent in November of 1999, curently leads the IL with 31 home runs, is second with 99 RBI and was named as that league's MVP this past week. MOTTOLA, who is batting .310 and has 28 stolen bases, became the first player in franchise history to hit 25 home runs and steal 25 bases in one season. The 6'3", 220lb, right-handed hitter is a native of Augusta, Georgia and was originally drafted by the CINCINNATI REDS organization in the first round (5th overall) in the June 1992 First Year Player Draft.

23-year-old, first baseman, JAY GIBBONS, is the recipient for the TENNESSEE SMOKIES of the SOUTHERN LEAGUE (AA). The left-handed hitter is batting .320, second in the league, with 18 home runs, 74 RBI and a league high .518 slugging. The 6'0", 200lb, who was named to the SL's year end All-Star team, was originally drafted in the 14th round (411th overall) in the June 1998 First Year Player Draft. GIBBONS, who in 1998 won the R. HOWARD WEBSTER AWARD while with the MEDICINE HAT BLUE JAYS of the PIONEER LEAGUE (ROOKIE ADVANCED), is a native of Oakland County, Michigan.

The MVP for the DUNEDIN BLUE JAYS of the FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE (A) is catcher JOE LAWRENCE. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter is batting .301, with 32 doubles, 13 home runs, 67 RBI and 21 stolen bases. LAWRENCE, a 6'2", 200lb, native of Lake Charles, Louisiana in his first full season as a catcher and named to the FSL post-season All-Star squad, was originally selected by the BLUE JAYS in the first round (16th overall) of the June 1996 First Year Player Draft.

Outfielder REED JOHNSON is this year's recipient for the HAGERSTOWN SUNS of the SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE (A). The 5'10", 185lb, right-handed hitter batted .290 with a team high 24 doubles and 70 RBI, before finishing the season with the TENNESSEE SMOKIES. The Riverside, California native led the team with 62 walks and was second in the league with a .422 on base percentage. The 23-year-old was drafted in the 17th round (523rd overall) of the June 1999 First Year Player Draft.

For the QUEENS KINGS of the NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE (SHORT SEASON-A), 20-year-old MARTIN MALPICA was selected as this year's MVP. The 6'2". 180lb, right-handed hitting corner infielder is batting .270 with a team high 12 doubles and 32 RBI. MALPICA, who split his playing time between first and third base, is a native of Lara, Venezuela and was signed as a non-drafted free agent in May of 1997.

22-year-old outfielder JEREMY JOHNSON is the 2000 season recipient for the MEDICINE HAT BLUE JAYS of the PIONEER LEAGUE (SHORT SEASON-A). The Tamms, Illinois native leads the league with 92 hits and a .498 on base percentage and is second in batting at .376. The 6'1", 185lb, left-handed hitter was selected in this year's June First Year Player Draft in the 26th round (778th overall) out of South East State Missouri University.

MAIKEL JOVA has been selected as the award winner for the PRINGAMOSA BLUE JAYS of the DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE (ROOKIE). The right-handed hitting, outfielder is batting .297 and leads the league in runs (64), doubles (20), home runs (9) and RBI (66). The 6'0", 195lb, 19-year-old, is a native of Villa Clara, Cuba and was signed as a non-drafted free agent in August of 1999.

All of these award winners were recognized during the final weekend series at SKYDOME vs the TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS on 9-22/25-2000.

Special to CANADIAN BASEBALL NEWS – 27 September 2000

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