Ellsbury is the first Red Sox to receive the honor in its short seven-year history after rebounding from an injury-ravaged 2010 campaign to become the first player in franchise history to record 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.
The 28-year-old Ellsbury played in just 18 games in 2010 due to broken ribs suffered in an early-season collision with Adrian Beltre. His remarkable turnaround in 2011 featured career highs in batting (.321), home runs (32), RBIs (105), doubles (46) and almost every other significant offensive category.
Ellsbury led the majors with 364 total bases and 83 extra-base hits and was the first Red Sox leadoff hitter to have 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in the same season. He was the fourth player in baseball history to reach 200 hits, 100 RBIs, 35 steals and 30 homers in a single season.
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman won the award for the National League.