Jimmy Rollins makes 2 Phillies in a row to win NL MVP

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the offensive and defensive catalyst for a club that reached post-season play for the first time in 14 years, was elected the National League Most Valuable Player in a tight race against Colorado Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday in balloting by the BBWAA.

Of the 32 ballots submitted by two writers in each league city, Rollins was listed first on 16, second on seven, third on four, fourth on four and fifth on one for a total of 353 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. Holliday’s breakdown was 11 first-place votes, 18 seconds, one third, one fourth and one sixth for 336 points.

The 17-point differential between Rollins and Holliday made the 2007 election the 20th closest overall and ninth in the NL since the current format was adopted by the BBWAA in 1938, seven years after taking over the awards. Prior to then, one writer from each league city voted. The only MVP tie was in the NL in 1979 when first basemen Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals and Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates each received 216 points.

Other tighter NL elections: 1944 (Cardinals shortstop Marty Marion over Chicago Cubs outfielder Bill Nicholson, 190-189), 1955 (Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella over Dodgers center fielder Duke Snider, 226-221), 1962 (Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills over San Francisco Giants center fielder Willie Mays, 209-202), 1957 (Milwaukee Braves right fielder Henry Aaron over Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial, 239-230), 1966 (Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Roberto Clemente over Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, 218-208), 1952 (Cubs left fielder Hank Sauer over Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts, 226-211) and 1991 (Atlanta Braves third baseman Terry Pendleton over Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds, 274-259).

Rollins, 28, who batted .296 and scored 139 runs, was the first player in history with 200 hits (212) and 20 doubles (38), triples (20), home runs (30) and stolen bases (41) in one season. He set a league record for shortstops with 380 total bases, breaking by one the previous mark of the Cubs’ Ernie Banks in 1958.

Holliday led the league in batting (.340), RBI (137), hits (216), total bases (386), doubles (50) and extra-base hits (92), including 36 home runs, for the wild-card Rockies, who eventually reached their first World Series. Voting is conducted prior to the start of post-season play.

The other four first-place votes went to Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder (.288, 50 HR, 119 RBI, 109 R), who finished third with 284 points. Rollins, Holliday and Fielder were the only players on every ballot.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (.268, 47 HR, 136 RBI), the 2006 winner, placed fifth this time behind New York Mets third baseman David Wright (.325, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 113 R). Rounding out the top 10 were Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (.337, 29 HR, 102 RBI, 108 R), San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy (19-6, 2.54 ERA, 240 K in 223⅓ IP), Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (.332, 22 HR, 103 RBI, 104 R), Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (.327, 32 HR, 103 RBI) and Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.332, 29 HR, 81 RBI, 212 H, 125 R). In all, 26 players received votes.

Rollins and Howard are the 11th set of teammates to win the NL award in consecutive seasons and the first since the Giants’ Jeff Kent (2000) and Bonds (2001). Cincinnati had three teammates win successively in 1938 (Ernie Lombardi), 1939 (Bucky Walters) and 1940 (Frank McCormick), as did the Cardinals in 1942 (Mort Cooper), 1943 (Stan Musial) and 1944 (Marty Marion). Other back-to-back, MVP-winning teammates were the Dodgers’ Campanella (1955) and Don Newcombe (1956), Wills (1962) and Koufax (1953), the Cardinals’ Orlando Cepeda (1967) and Bob Gibson (1968), the Reds’ Joe Morgan (1976) and George Foster (1977) and the Pirates’ Dave Parker (1978) and Stargell (1979).

It marked the seventh time a Phillies player won the award with Rollins joining Howard, three-time winner Mike Schmidt (1980-81, ’86), Chuck Klein (1932) and Jim Konstanty (1950). It was the seventh MVP for an NL shortstop, a list that includes Banks, a two-time winner (1958-59), Marion, Wills, Dick Groat (1960) and Barry Larkin (1995). Shortstops have won in the American League eight times.

The vote:

2007 NL MVP

Jimmy RollinsPhiladelphia Phillies167441353
Matt HollidayColorado Rockies1118111336
Prince FielderMilwaukee Brewers561731284
David WrightNew York Mets14127112182
Ryan HowardPhiladelphia Phillies2633323112
Chipper JonesAtlanta Braves1337511107
Jake PeavySan Diego Padres255414197
Chase UtleyPhiladelphia Phillies152641389
Albert PujolsSt. Louis Cardinals12236550
Hanley RamirezFlorida Marlins3244149
Eric ByrnesArizona Diamondbacks134743
Alfonso SorianoChicago Cubs112211239
Aramis RamirezChicago Cubs2212236
Jose ValverdeArizona Diamondbacks121119
Miguel CabreraFlorida Marlins12318
Jose ReyesNew York Mets121116
Brandon WebbArizona Diamondbacks112415
Troy TulowitzkiColorado Rockies11213
Carlos LeeHouston Astros1127
Adrian GonzalezSan Diego Padres116
Carlos BeltranNew York Mets26
Brandon PhillipsCincinnati Reds13
Aaron RowandPhiladelphia Phillies13
Brad HawpeColorado Rockies12
Ryan BraunMilwaukee Brewers22
Carlos MarmolChicago Cubs11