The AFL Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award is set to be handed out this Saturday, and a Cardinals prospect is one of six finalists being considered for the award. Outfielder Mike O'Neill could become the first Cardinals prospect to take home the hardware. Managers and coaches nominate one player, and the AFL selects the winner.
The award was created in memory of Reds outfield prospect Dernell Stenson, who was killed during the 2003 AFL season. It's given to the player who best exemplifies unselfishness, leadership and hard work.
At just 5'9 tall, O'Neill personifies the hard work aspect of the award better than any other and understands that he never know when he'll take his final at-bat.
When people take their ability for granted, they don't know what they have. You never know when you're last at-bat, you're last game might be, so I try to play every game like it's my last.
O'Neill noted the players are told at the beginning of the AFL about not just the award, but the kind of person Stenson was on the field. Marlins prospect Kevin Mattison picked up the award last season.