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Wednesday, November 17, 1999
Updated: November 18, 9:29 PM ET
Pudge edges Pedro in AL MVP upset

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez won the American League's Most Valuable Player award in an upset Thursday, even though Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez had more first-place votes.

Ivan Rodriguez
Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who hit .332 with 35 homers and 113 RBI, finished with seven first-place votes and 252 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

"That's the dream of every player, to get this award," Rodriguez said.

Martinez, who won the AL Cy Young Award earlier this week after going 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts, had eight first-place votes and 239 points.

"It's fine. It's fine. I'm not going to cry about it. It would have been a great honor," Martinez said. "I got the Cy Young. That's good enough."

AL MVP balloting
Voting results from the Baseball Writers Association of America, with first-, second- and third-place votes and total points on a 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis:
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Rodriguez, Tex. 7 6 7 252
Martinez, Bos. 8 6 4 239
Alomar, Cle. 4 7 6 226
Ramirez, Cle. 4 4 5 226
Palmeiro, Tex. 4 1 2 193
Jeter, N.Y. 1 2 2 177
Garciaparra, Bos. 0 2 2 137

It was the closest MVP vote since 1996, when Seattle's Alex Rodriguez lost 290-287 to Juan Gonzalez.

Rodriguez became only the fourth MVP to win without getting the most first-place votes, joining Detroit's Hal Newhouser, who beat Dizzy Trout 236-232 in 1944; the Yankees' Roger Maris, who beat Mickey Mantle 225-222 in 1960; and Pittsburgh's Roberto Clemente, who beat Sandy Koufax 218-205 in 1966.

Rodriguez said he would have picked himself first, Martinez second and Alomar third. He said he didn't agree with those who say pitchers shouldn't be eligible.

"I think the MVP should be for everybody," he said.

Voters list their top 10, and Rodriguez won largely because he was listed on the ballots of all 28 voters while Martinez was not listed by two: George King of the New York Post and La Velle Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"I'm just not a pitcher-for-MVP kind of guy," Neal said. "I don't have anything against Pedro. He had a great season. I just don't think the award should go to a pitcher. Pedro definitely had a great season, but I don't think it qualifies as a special circumstance. There were other good players on that team. Their manager did a great job."

King was on vacation in the Caribbean and could not be reached.

In 1947, Boston's Ted Williams lost the MVP to the Yankees' Joe DiMaggio 202-201 despite winning the Triple Crown because Boston Globe writer Mel Webb, who did not like the sometimes-snarly Red Sox star, left Williams off his ballot.

Rodriguez received six seconds, seven thirds, five fifths, two sixths and one seventh, while Martinez got six seconds, four thirds, one fourth, two fifths, two sixths and three sevenths.

How the writers voted
Two writers snubbed Martinez on their ballot:
  • George King of the New York Post gave Derek Jeter his first-place vote
  • La Velle Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave Manny Ramirez his first-place vote

    Both Dallas writers gave Rafael Palmeiro their first-place vote:
  • Johnny Paul of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Martinez fourth and Rodriguez fifth
  • Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News had Martinez second and Rodriguez sixth

    Writers who gave Martinez a first-place vote:
    Chris Anderson, Sarasota Herald Tribune
    Danny Knobler, Booth Newspaper chain
    Tom Gage, Detroit News
    Larry Stone, Seattle Times
    John Hickey, Oakland Tribune
    Howard Bryant, San Jose Mercury News
    Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
    Tony Massaretti, Boston Herald

    Writers who gave Rodriguez a first-place vote:
    Scott Miller, St. Paul Pioneer Press
    Joe Haakenson, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
    Larry Millson, Toronto Globe and Mail
    Geoff Baker, Toronto Star
    Joe Goddard, Chicago Sun-Times
    Alan Eskew, Topeka Capital Journal
    Larry LaRue, Tacoma News Tribune
  • Cleveland's Manny Ramirez and Roberto Alomar tied for third with four first-place votes each and 226 points apiece.

    Rangers designated hitter Rafael Palmeiro was fifth with four first-place votes and 193 points, and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was sixth with one-first place vote and 177 points. Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was seventh with 137 points.

    "Everybody that was in the pile was good enough to be MVP so I don't hold anything against anybody," Martinez said. "There's nothing I can do. If they don't want to vote, it's up to them."

    First-place votes are worth 14 points, seconds are worth 9, thirds worth 8 and so on.

    Texas players have won the award in three of the last four years. Gonzalez, who was traded to Detroit earlier this month, won in 1996 and '98. The Rangers' only other winner was Jeff Burroughs in 1974.

    Rodriguez's batting average was the highest by an AL catcher since the Yankees' Bill Dickey hit .362 in 1936. Rodriguez also became the first AL catcher to hit .300 and reach 100 in runs (116) and RBI. He threw out 39 of 72 runners trying to steal (54 percent).

    Martinez, a unanimous Cy Young winner, had hoped to join Denny McLain (1968), Vida Blue (1971), Rollie Fingers (1981), Willie Hernandez (1984), Clemens (1986) and Dennis Eckersley (1992) as the only AL pitchers to win the Cy Young Award and MVP in the same season.

    Don Newcombe (1956), Koufax (1963) and Bob Gibson (1968) did it in the National League.

    "It would mean a lot, probably more than this Cy Young alone," Martinez said Tuesday. "I've already achieved that, so the MVP would be something different, especially to a pitcher."

    Ramirez's 165 RBI were the highest single-season total since Boston's Jimmie Foxx drove in 175 in 1938.