Juan Gonzalez joins Roger Maris (1960-1961), Mike Schmidt (1980-1981) and Cecil Fielder (1990-1991) as a back-to-back winner of the Babe Ruth Crown tomorrow night.
The American League's leading home-run hitter the past two years, Gonzalez headlines the Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association's 41st annual Tops In Sports banquet at Towson State.
The Texas Rangers slugger has hit 89 home runs in the past two years and tied the San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds for the major-league leadership with 46 in 1993. He won his first Babe Ruth award after hitting 43 home runs in 1992.
Tony Perez, an integral part of Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" in the 1970s, will receive the retroactive Babe Ruth Award. Perez is tied with Orlando Cepeda for 33rd on the all-time list with 379 homers.
Former and current owners Jerry Hoffberger and Peter Angelos also are scheduled to receive awards in a program that has a heavy Orioles flavor. Chris Hoiles will be recognized as the team's Most Valuable Player, Rick Sutcliffe for his community service, Fernando Valenzuela for his 1993 comeback and Johnny Oates as Manager of the Year.
The Maryland "Star Of the Future Award" will be shared by Brian Bark, a left-handed pitcher in the Atlanta Braves organization, and Steve Mabry, an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals system.
Other honorees include former New York Yankees left-hander Tommy Byrne, who will receive a post-career achievement award, and Eddie Robinson, former major-league first baseman who played with the International League Orioles in the 1940s and founded the Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, who was scheduled to receive the Edwin A. Rommel Award for long and distinguished service to baseball, will be unable to attend.
A few tickets ($45) remain for the banquet, which begins with a reception at 6:15 p.m.