Alex Rodriguez ties AL record by winning 3rd MVP

Alex Rodriguez, who enjoyed an abundantly productive 2007 season in an already formidable career, was elected Most Valuable Player in the American League for the third time in balloting by the BBWAA. “A-Rod” became the fifth AL player to win the award thrice and the ninth overall combining leagues to be named MVP three or more times.

Rodriguez won his second MVP in his fourth season with the New York Yankees, adding to his 2005 trophy. His other MVP was in 2003, his final season with the Texas Rangers. Similarly, Jimmie Foxx won twice with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1932 and ’33 and once with the Boston Red Sox in 1938. The other three-time AL MVPs all did so with the Yankees: Joe DiMaggio (1939, ’41, ‘47), Yogi Berra (1951, ’54-55) and Mickey Mantle (1956-57, ’62).

Barry Bonds holds the record for most MVP Awards: seven, five with the San Francisco Giants (1993 and 2001-04) and two with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1990, ’92). The other three-time NL winners were the St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial (1943, ’46, ’48), the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Roy Campanella (1951, ’53, ’55) and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Mike Schmidt (1980-81, ’86). Rodriguez and Schmidt are the only third basemen to win the award more than once. A-Rod was a shortstop when he won in 2003.

Rodriguez, who batted .314 and led the league in home runs (54), RBI (156), runs (143), total bases (376), slugging (.645) and was tied for first in grand slams (3), was listed first on 26 of the 28 ballots cast by two writers from each league city, and second on the other two to total 382 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th.

Detroit Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez, the AL batting champion (.363), received the other two first-place votes and was the runner-up with 258 points. Ordonez led the league in doubles (54) and was second in RBI (139), hits (216), total bases (354) and on-base percentage (.434). The only player other than Rodriguez and Ordonez to be named on every ballot was Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim right fielder Vlad Guerrero (.324, 27 HR, 125 RBI), the 2004 winner, who finished third with 203 points.

Rounding out the top 10 were Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (.332, 35 HR, 117 RBI, 116 R), Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell (.324, 21 HR, 120 RBI), Yankees catcher Jorge Posada (.338, 20 HR, 90 RBI), Cleveland Indians catcher Victor Martinez (.301, 25 HR, 114 RBI), Seattle Mariners center fielder Ichiro Suzuki (.351, 228 H, 111 R, 37 SB), Tampa Bay Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena (.282, 46 HR, 121 RBI) and Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson (.322, 38 2B, 23 3B, 23 HR, 74 RBI, 112 R, 26 SB). In all, 24 players received mention.

Rodriguez, 32, who has also finished second in MVP balloting twice and third once, set personal highs in runs, RBI, slugging and on-base percentage (.422). His home run total extended his club record for home runs by a right-handed batter that he set in 2005 with 48.

A-Rod was the youngest player in history to reach 500 career home runs when he connected Aug. 4, and with 518 ranks 17th on the all-time list. He had his third season of 50 or more home runs. Only three players achieved that plateau more often – Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, four times apiece. Rodriguez was devastating in the ninth inning of games, batting .463 with eight home runs and 21 RBI in 41 at-bats.

It marked the 20th time a Yankees player has been honored, the most MVP Awards for one team. The St. Louis Cardinals are second with 15, the most in the National League. Rodriguez joins Roger Maris as a two-winner for the Yankees. In addition to DiMaggio, Berra and Mantle, other Yankees MVPs were Lou Gehrig, Joe Gordon, Spud Chandler, Phil Rizzuto, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson and Don Mattingly.

This was the 11th time a Detroit player was the runner-up. Al Kaline (1955, ’63) and Cecil Fielder (1990-91) each finished second twice. Other Tigers runners-up were Charlie Gehringer in 1934, Dizzy Trout in 1944, Eddie Mayo in 1945, Hal Newhouser in 1946, Bill Freehan in 1968 and Alan Trammell in 1987.

The vote:

2007 AL MVP

Alex RodriguezNew York Yankees262382
Magglio OrdonezDetroit Tigers2224258
Vladimir GuerreroLos Angeles Angels310933203
David OrtizBoston Red Sox11163321177
Mike LowellBoston Red Sox1627432126
Jorge PosadaNew York Yankees3466312112
Victor MartinezCleveland Indians1754231103
Ichiro SuzukiSeattle Mariners162533189
Carlos PenaTampa Bay Devil Rays22238564
Curtis GrandersonDetroit Tigers121511051
Derek JeterNew York Yankees111117
Grady SizemoreCleveland Indians113115
J.J. PutzSeattle Mariners11112
C.C. SabathiaCleveland Indians11211
Torii HunterMinnesota Twins115
Orlando CabreraLos Angels Angels125
Bobby AbreuNew York Yankees14
John LackeyLos Angeles Angels14
Placido PolancoDetroit Tigers114
Justin MorneauMinnesota Twins13
Chone FigginsLos Angeles Angels113
Josh BeckettBoston Red Sox22
Fausto CarmonaCleveland Indians11
Frank ThomasToronto Blue Jays11