Barry Bonds wins 4th straight MVP

San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds continued his dominance in Most Valuable Player Award balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America by winning the National League election for the seventh time, including the fourth consecutive season. No other player in either league has won the award more than three times or more than two years in a row.

Bonds, who won his second batting title and was the first player in history with an on-base percentage above .600, was listed first on 24 of the 32 ballots cast by two writers in each NL city, second on seven and third on one to total 407 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th.

By hitting .362, Bonds raised his career batting average from .297 to .300. He scored 129 runs, the second highest total in the league, and drove in 101 while slugging 45 home runs to push his career total to 703, trailing only Henry Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) on the all-time list. Bonds’ .609 on-base average broke his previous mark of .584 in 2002. He also shattered his own records for walks (232) and intentional walks (120) in a season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Adrian Beltre, who tied Mike Schmidt’s record for home runs in a season by a third baseman with 48, received six first-place votes and finished with a runner-up score of 311 points. Beltre ranked fourth in batting (.344), runs batted in (121) and slugging (.629) in helping Los Angeles win the NL West title. It was the third second-place finish for a Dodgers player since they last had an MVP with Kirk Gibson in 1988. Catcher Mike Piazza was the runner-up in 1996 and ’97.

The other two first-place votes were split between two St. Louis teammates, first baseman Albert Pujols (.331, 46 HR, 123 RBI, 133 R, 389 TB) and third baseman Scott Rolen (.314, 34 HR, 124 RBI), who finished third and fourth, respectively. Pujols, who was second to Bonds in 2002 and ’03, has finished fourth, second twice and third in MVP balloting in his four years in the majors.

Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds (.301, 42 HR, 111 RBI) was fifth in the balloting, marking the 30th time in both leagues that three players from the same team finished in the top five and the first time since the NL vote of 1993 when the Atlanta Braves had David Justice third, Fred McGriff fourth and Ron Gant fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Braves right fielder J.D. Drew (.305, 31 HR, 93 RBI), Houston Astros right fielder Lance Berkman (.316, 30 HR, 106 RBI), Astros pitcher Roger Clemens (18-4, 2.98 ERA, 218 K in 214 1/3 IP), San Diego Padres second baseman Mark Loretta (.335, 16 HR, 76 RBI) and Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez (.318, 36 HR, 103 RBI).

Bonds, Beltre and Pujols were the only players named to every ballot. In all, 31 players gained mention.

Bonds, who turned 40 July 24, is the oldest MVP winner. The previous oldest had been Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Willie Stargell, the co-winner in 1979 at age 39. Bonds’ four victories plus the 2000 victory of second baseman Jeff Kent makes the Giants the first team to win five consecutive MVPs. The New York Yankees won four consecutive American League MVP Awards twice with Yogi Berra in 1954 and ’55 and Mickey Mantle in ’56 and ’57 and with Roger Maris in 1960 and ’61, Mantle in ’62 and Elston Howard in ’63.

In addition to Bonds and Kent, other Giants winners were Carl Hubbell in 1933 and ’36, Willie Mays in 1954 and ’65, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. The Giants’ 12 MVPs are second in the NL behind only the Cardinals’ 14. The Yankees’ 18 victories in the AL are the most overall.

The vote:

2004 NL MVP

BARRY BONDSSan Francisco Giants2471407
ADRIAN BELTRELos Angeles Dodgers62132311
ALBERT PUJOLSSt. Louis Cardinals1120541247
SCOTT ROLENSt. Louis Cardinals1371253226
JIM EDMONDSSt. Louis Cardinals5126233160
J.D. DREWAtlanta Braves156672114
LANCE BERKMANHouston Astros246711100
ROGER CLEMENSHouston Astros114332161
MARK LORETTASan Diego Padres11355150
ARAMIS RAMIREZChicago Cubs11225542
ERIC GAGNELos Angeles Dodgers33130
CARLOS BELTRANHouston Astros11320
JEFF KENTHouston Astros1111118
STEVE FINLEYLos Angeles/Arizona12115
MOISES ALOUChicago Cubs32215
JUAN PIERREFlorida Marlins1139
TODD HELTONColorado Rockies1149
JOHNNY ESTRADAAtlanta Braves128
RANDY JOHNSONArizona D-backs1117
JIM THOMEPhiladelphia Phillies237
JOHN SMOLTZAtlanta Braves16
MIGUEL CABRERAFlorida Marlins135
ARMANDO BENITEZFlo rida Marlins13
JEROMY BURNITZColorado Rockies13
BOBBY ABREUPhiladelphia Phillies113
VINNY CASTILLAColorado Rockies113
ROY OSWALTHouston Astros113
ADAM DUNNCincinnati Reds12
PHIL NEVINSan Diego Padres11
JIMMY ROLLINSPhiladelphia Phillies11