Ryan Howard wins MVP in his 2nd season

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, who got his major-league career off to a strong start by winning the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award in 2005, was honored in 2006 by being elected the National League Most Valuable Player in balloting by the BBWAA.

Of the 32 ballots submitted by two writers in each league city, Howard, who turned 27 Sunday, was listed first on 20 and second on the other 12 for a total of 388 points, based on the tabulation system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th.

Howard led the majors in home runs (58), runs batted in (149) and total bases (393) while hitting .313 for the Phillies, who ran a distant second to the New York Mets in the NL East but remained in the wild-card hunt until the next to the last day of the season. Howard set a franchise record for home runs, topping Mike Schmidt’s previous mark by 10, and matched Jimmie Foxx’s total with the Athletics in 1932 for the most in one season by a Philadelphia player.

For the third time in the past five years, the runner-up was St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who received the other 12 first-place votes, plus 19 for second and one for third to total 347 points. Pujols, who won the award last year, was a major candidate again this season having led the NL in batting with runners in scoring percentage (.397) and slugging (.671), finished second in home runs (49) and RBI (137) and third in batting (.331).

Pujols, who also finished second in 2002 and ’03, has never placed lower than fourth in MVP voting in his six seasons. He was fourth as a rookie in 2001 and third in 2004. The only players to have been MVP runners-up more often than Pujols were three-time NL winner Stan Musial and two-time American League winner Ted Williams, who were second four times each. Mickey Mantle, a three-time AL winner, was also second three times.

Only two other players were listed on all 32 ballots: Houston Astros first baseman-outfielder Lance Berkman (.319, 45 HR, 136 RBI), who finished third with 230 points, and Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran (.275, 38 2B, 41 HR, 116 RBI, 127 R), who was fourth with 211.

Rounding out the top 10 were Florida Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera (.339, 50 2B, 26 HR, 114 RBI, 112 R), Washington Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano (.277, 41 2B, 46 HR, 95 RBI, 119 R, 41 SB), Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (.300, 30 2B, 17 3B, 19 HR, 81 RBI, 122 R, 64 SB), Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (.309, 40 2B, 32 HR, 102 RBI, 131 R), Mets third baseman David Wright (.311, 40 2B, 26 HR, 116 RBI) and San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman (0-2, 2.14 ERA, 46 SV). In all, 24 players gained mention.

Howard became only the second player to win an MVP Award the year after being elected Rookie of the Year. The other was the Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken, AL Rookie of the Year in 1982 and AL MVP in 1983. Two other AL players won both awards in the same season, Boston Red Sox center fielder Fred Lynn in 1975 and Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.

It marked the sixth time a Phillies player won the award and the first in 20 years since third baseman Mike Schmidt won his third MVP in 1986. Other Phillies winners were outfielder Chuck Klein in 1932 and reliever Jim Konstanty in 1950. Howard is the 19th player overall to win both Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards, joining Pujols, Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Pete Rose, Dick Allen, Johnny Bench, Andre Dawson and Jeff Bagwell in the NL and Ripken, Lynn, Suzuki, Rod Carew, Thurman Munson and Jose Canseco in the AL.

Howard was the 11th NL first baseman cited, a list that includes Pujols, Cepeda, McCovey, Bagwell, Frank McCormick, Dolph Camilli, Stan Musial, Steve Garvey, Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell. Musial was an outfielder when he won his other two MVPs.

The vote:

2006 NL MVP

Ryan HowardPhiladelphia Phillies2012388
Albert PujolsSt. Louis Cardinals12191347
Lance BerkmanHouston Astros2143211230
Carlos BeltranNew York Mets15156221211
Miguel CabreraFlorida Marlins26105512170
Alfonso SorianoWashington Nationals12461721106
Jose ReyesNew York Mets1155341298
Chase UtleyPhiladelphia Phillies167101198
David WrightNew York Mets1122523170
Trevor HoffmanSan Diego Padres211122746
Andruw JonesAtlanta Braves1215329
Carlos DelgadoNew York Mets1112423
Nomar GarciaparraLos Angeles Dodgers23418
Rafael FurcalLos Angeles Dodgers13111
Garrett AtkinsColorado Rockies11210
Matt HollidayColorado Rockies12310
Aramis RamirezChicago Cubs115
Freddy SanchezPittsburgh Pirates215
Chris CarpenterSt. Louis Cardinals14
Chipper JonesAtlanta Braves13
Mike CameronSan Diego Padres12
Jimmy RollinsPhiladelphia Phillies12
Bronson ArroyoCincinnati Reds11
Jason BayPittsburgh Pirates11