Delgado runner-up to MVP A-Rod

Updated: November 19, 2003, 9:49 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

I'm glad that A-Rod has finally won the MVP award. It's an overdue honor, because I thought he deserved it last year (when Miguel Tejada won). In fact, I see A-Rod as the cumulative MVP over the past 10 years.

He's had better years numbers-wise, but he definitely deserved it this year because there were no standout candidates on any of the playoff teams.

I don't believe the MVP needs to come from a winning team, though. I see the award as a player-of-the-year accolade. But if two MVP candidates have similar numbers, I would defer to a candidate from a playoff team (that would be a tiebreaker).

Some writers question how difficult it can be for a player to post big numbers on a losing team that's nowhere near first place. They say that it's more impressive for an MVP candidate to perform in the pressure of a pennant race. There might be some truth to that, but remember, A-Rod has played under plenty of pressure to perform ... pressure in the form of his $250 million contract.

Before and after he signed that huge deal with Texas, A-Rod has been such a consistent performer. His numbers are so good year in and year out, but he's been hurt in the MVP voting because the Rangers have been a sub.-500 team. And A-Rod's work ethic is incredible. He didn't rest on his laurels after signing that contract. He's worked hard to stay at the top of his game.

In the future, I'd like to see the commissioner's office define the criteria for the MVP award so all the writers are on the same page. This year, though, they got it right.

NEW YORK -- Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez became the second player from a last-place team to win a Most Valuable Player award, beating Carlos Delgado and Jorge Posada in American League voting announced Monday.

Rodriguez received 242 points in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Delgado had 210 points and Posada 194.

"It means the world to me," Rodriguez said. "I'm so proud. It really is a validation to all the hard work and dedication."

Showing the split among the writers, 10 players received first-place votes, matching the record set in the 1947 NL vote and one short of the 1977 AL vote.

Rodriguez was picked first on six ballots, the fewest for an MVP winner since the New York Yankees' Mickey Mantle in 1957. Delgado and Posada got five firsts each.

The only other player on a last-place team to win an MVP was the Chicago Cubs' Andre Dawson in 1987. Texas went 71-91 this year and has finished last in the AL West in all three of his seasons with the Rangers.

"It's been a rough three years in Texas," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, second in the voting in 1996 and last year, was the only player picked on every ballot. He hit .298, tied for the major league lead with 47 homers, and led the AL in runs (124) and slugging percentage (.600). He had 118 RBI, second in the AL to Delgado's 145.

Rodriguez was in his third season with Texas, which finished last in the AL West at 71-91. He joined the Rangers after the 2000 season when Texas gave him a record $252 million, 10-year contract and has led the league in homers in all three years.

Delgado hit .302 with 42 homers for Toronto, while Posada batted .281 for the Yankees with 30 homers and 101 RBI.

"Obviously, I was expecting to get the award and that wasn't the case," Delgado said. "If they were going to pick somebody from a team that did not make it to the playoffs I think it would have given me an edge, but that's what I get for thinking, I guess."

Delgado got two eighth-place votes and was left off the ballot by Joe Cowley of the Daily Southtown in Chicago. Cowley also left off Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells, while including Esteban Loaiza and Frank Thomas of the White Sox.

"I don't understand who they vote for," Delgado said. "What team you are watching?"

Shannon Stewart, traded from Toronto to Minnesota during the season, was fourth with three first-place votes and 140 points. Boston's David Ortiz was fifth with four firsts and 130 points.

AL MVP Award Voting
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Total
A. Rodriguez 6 5 6 242
C. Delgado 5 8 3 210
J. Posada 5 4 4 194
S. Stewart 3 2 2 140
D. Ortiz 4 3 2 130

Boston's Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra, Toronto's Vernon Wells, Oakland's Miguel Tejada and the Yankees' Jason Giambi got one first-place vote each. Tejada was last year's MVP.

Rodriguez gets a $500,000 bonus added to his $21 million salary, and Stewart gets $25,000 for finishing fourth.

Rodriguez, the first AL MVP since 1979 without a .300 batting average, didn't think he would win this year.

"I felt like I was driving myself crazy over this award," he said.

Because he finished 10th, Seattle second baseman Bret Boone gets an automatic $250,000 raise to $8.25 million.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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