Dustin Pedroia wins MVP a year after taking Rookie of the Year

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had an historic victory in winning the 2008 American League Most Valuable Player Award in balloting by the BBWAA. Pedroia is the first AL second baseman to win the award in 49 years and only the third player to be named MVP the year after being elected Rookie of the Year.

Pedroia, who led the league in runs (118), hits (213) doubles (54) and multi-hit games (61), received 16 first-place votes from the 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city. Pedroia was listed second on six ballots, third on four and fourth on one for a total of 317 points, based on a tabulation system rewarding 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th.

Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (.300, 23 HR, 129 RBI), the 2006 winner, received seven first-place votes and was the runner-up with 257 points. Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis (.312, 29 HR, 115 RBI) got two first-place votes and finished third with 201 points. Morneau and Youkilis were the only players named on all ballots.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer (.328, 9 HR, 85 RBI) also was first on two ballots and ranked fourth with 188 points. The other first-place vote went to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (2-3, 2.24 ERA, 62 SV), who totaled 143 points and finished sixth, behind Chicago White Sox left fielder Carlos Quentin (.288, 36 HR, 100 RBI), who had 160 points.

Rounding out the top 10 were Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton (.304, 32 HR, 130 RBI), New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (.302, 35 HR, 103 RBI, 104 R), the 2007 winner, Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena (.247, 31 HR, 102 RBI) and Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore (.268, 33 HR, 90 RBI, 101 R, 38 SB). In all, 23 players gained mention.

Pedroia, 25, batted .326, second only to Mauer, with 17 home runs, 83 RBI and 20 stolen bases for the Red Sox, who were the AL wild-card team. He struck out only 52 times in 710 plate appearances.

As the previous year’s Rookie of the Year, Pedroia this year matched the feat in the AL of Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., who was the Rookie of the Year in 1982 and MVP in 1983, and in the National League of Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, who was the Rookie of the Year in 2005 and MVP in 2006. Two other AL players won both awards in the same season, Red Sox center fielder Fred Lynn in 1975 and Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.

Pedroia became the 20th former Rookie of the Year to be named MVP, the seventh in the AL. Other than Ripken, Lynn and Suzuki, former AL Rookie of the Year winners who later were MVPs were Rod Carew, Thurman Munson and Jose Canseco. NL players who won both awards were Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Pete Rose, Dick Allen, Johnny Bench, Andre Dawson, Jeff Bagwell, Albert Pujols and Howard. Allen was Rookie of the Year in one league (NL) and MVP in another (AL). Frank Robinson was an MVP in both leagues.

A second baseman had not won the MVP Award in the AL since 1959 when Nellie Fox of the Chicago White Sox was honored. Pedroia is only the fourth AL second baseman and 10th overall to win. The other AL winners were the New York Yankees’ Joe Gordon in 1942 and the Detroit Tigers’ Charlie Gehringer in 1937. The award has been won by a second baseman in the NL six times, including two-time winner Joe Morgan of the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976. The others were the St. Louis Cardinals’ Frankie Frisch in 1931, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson in 1949, the Chicago Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg in 1984 and the San Francisco Giants’ Jeff Kent in 2000. No position has had fewer MVP winners.

Pedroia is the 10th Red Sox player honored and the first since first baseman Mo Vaughn in 1995. The others were left fielders Ted Williams (who won twice, in 1946 and 1949), Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 and Jim Rice in 1978, right fielder Jackie Jensen in 1958, pitcher Roger Clemens in 1986, first baseman Jimmie Foxx in 1938 (he also won twice with the Philadelphia Athletics, in 1932 and 1933) and Lynn in 1975. Since Vaughn’s victory 13 years ago, three Red Sox players finished second in the voting: shortstop Nomar Garciaparra in 1998, pitcher Pedro Martinez in 1999 and designated hitter David Ortiz in 2005.

2008 AL MVP

Dustin PedroiaBoston Red Sox16641317
Justin MorneauMinnesota Twins7763311257
Kevin YoukilisBoston Red Sox24492412201
Joe MauerMinnesota Twins281343321188
Carlos QuentinChicago White Sox14844411160
Francisco RodriguezLos Angeles Angels12616322143
Josh HamiltonTexas Rangers22373243112
Alex RodriguezNew York Yankees11414745
Carlos PenaTampa Bay Rays12232344
Grady SizemoreCleveland Indians2156142
Evan LongoriaTampa Bay Rays2252138
Cliff LeeCleveland Indians1111124
Miguel CabreraDetroit Tigers114117
Vladimir GuerreroLos Angeles Angels22116
Jermaine DyeChicago White Sox12214
Aubrey HuffBaltimore Orioles12312
Milton BradleyTexas Rangers119
Jason BartlettTampa Bay Rays16
Mike MussinaNew York Yankees13
Raul IbanezSeattle Mariners11
Ian KinslerTexas Rangers11
Ichiro SuzukiSeattle Mariners11
Mark TeixeiraLos Angeles Angels11