Alex Rodriguez wins AL MVP

Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez was named the American League Most Valuable Player in a tightly contested election in which 10 players received first-place votes, one short of the record set in the AL in 1977. There were also 10 players to receive first-place votes in the National League election of 1947.

Rodriguez, 28, who had twice finished second in the balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, became the second player from a team that finished in last place to win the MVP Award, joining 1987 National League winner Andre Dawson of the Chicago Cubs.

Rodriguez, who led the league in home runs (47), runs scored (124) and slugging percentage (.600) while batting .298 with 118 RBI, was the only player to gain mention on all 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city. He also had the most first-place votes, six, which equaled the lowest since MVP balloting went to the current tabulation system in 1938 of 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th. New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra also had six first-place votes when he won the first of his three MVP Awards in 1951.

Rodriguez, the runner-up in 1996 and 2002, finished with 242 points. The runner-up this time was Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado, the AL RBI leader, with 210 points. Delgado (.302, 42 HR, 145 RBI) and Yankees catcher Jorge Posada (.281, 30 HR, 101 RBI), who finished third with 194 points, received five first-place votes apiece.

Outfielder Shannon Stewart (.307, 13 HR, 73 RBI), who divided the season between Toronto and Minnesota, was first on three ballots and ranked fourth with 140 points, 10 more than Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (.288, 31 HR, 101 RBI), who had four first-place votes.

Receiving one first-place vote each: Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez (.325, 37 HR, 104 RBI), who was sixth; Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra (.301, 28 HR, 105 RBI), who was seventh; Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells (.317, 33 HR, 117 RBI), who was eighth; Oakland Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada (.278, 27 HR, 106 RBI), who was 11th, and Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi (.250, 41 HR, 107 RBI), who was 13th.

Finishing in the top 10 but not receiving first-place votes were Kansas City Royals center fielder Carlos Beltran (.307, 26 HR, 100 RBI), who was ninth, and Seattle Mariners second baseman Bret Boone (.294, 35 HR, 117 RBI), who was 10th. In all, 27 players received votes. Stewart and Ramirez got votes in all 10 places on the ballot.

It marked the second consecutive year, the eighth time in the AL and the 13th time overall that a shortstop was named MVP. Tejada was last year’s AL winner over Rodriguez, who also finished second in 1996 by merely three points to the Rangers’ Juan Gonzalez.

Rodriguez is the first MVP from a team that did not reach postseason play since Colorado Rockies right fielder Larry Walker in the National League in 1997 and the first in the AL since Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. in 1991. This is the fifth time a Texas player has been honored. Rodriguez joins Gonzalez, who also won in 1998, catcher Ivan Rodriguez in 1999 and right fielder Jeff Burroughs in 1974.

The vote:

2003 AL MVP

ALEX RODRIGUEZRangers65662111242
CARLOS DELGADOBlue Jays583112421213
JORGE POSADAYankees54434111194
SHANNON STEWARTTwins3223232121140
DAVID ORTIZRed Sox432231130
MANNY RAMIREZRed Sox1331112211100
VERNON WELLSBlue Jays11311432184
CARLOS BELTRANRoyals1422123377
BRET BOONEMariners113244265
MIGUEL TEJADAAthletics111122249
BILL MUELLERRed Sox2123145
JASON GIAMBIYankees11111336
KEITH FOULKEAthletics113320
FRANK THOMASWhite Sox1121120
ERIC CHAVEZAthletics112118
CARLOS LEEWhite Sox111216
DEREK JETERYankees1110
AUBREY HUFFDevil Rays124