Wide open for debate
With no clear-cut choice and a dozen or more candidates, the AL MVP race couldn't be more wide open.
It's more confusing than the Iowa caucuses. It's harder to predict than the NHL Northeast. Has baseball ever had an election wilder than the 2003 American League Most Valuable Player race? Maybe not in a generation. Maybe never.
It's an election that could threaten the all-time record for most players receiving a first-place MVP vote. That one was set in 1977, when 11 different American Leaguers topped somebody's ballot, in a race that was won by Rod Carew.
It's also an election in which the winner might not even be the man who gets the most first-place votes. The only other time that's happened in the last 37 years was 1999, when Pudge Rodriguez got seven first-place votes to Pedro Martinez's eight, but still won -- because two voters left Pedro off their ballot completely.
Oh, there are terrific MVP arguments to be made -- for everyone from Carlos Delgado to David Ortiz. The trouble is, for every argument for, there's a powerful argument against -- on every candidate out there.
|Previous close calls|
1947 AL -- (1) Joe DiMaggio 202 points, Ted Williams 201
1944 NL -- (1) Marty Marion 190 points, Bill Nicholson 189
1996 AL -- (3) Juan Gonzalez 290 points, Alex Rodriguez 287
1960 AL -- (3) Roger Maris 225 points, Mickey Mantle 222
1966 NL -- Roberto Clemente 8, Sandy Koufax 9
1960 AL -- Roger Maris 8, Mickey Mantle 10
1944 AL -- Hal Newhouser 7, Dizzy Trout 10
1947 NL -- 10
1979 NL -- 8
1970 AL -- 8
1955 AL -- 8
1951 AL -- 8
1951 NL -- 8
1946 AL -- 8
1944 NL -- 8
Carlos Beltran? Keith Foulke? Vernon Wells? Magglio Ordonez? There are cases to be made for all of them. But in the end, this election is likely to come down to how each voter defines that magic word, "valuable," and to which player can position himself near the top of the most ballots.
But which player will that be? That's a question not even FortuneTellers.com could answer -- until the 2003 MVP results are finally announced on Monday afternoon.
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