Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton wins AL MVP

Josh Hamilton, who was a central figure in the Texas Rangers reaching the World Series for the first time in the franchise’s 50th season, was voted the American League Most Valuable Player in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Hamilton, 29, won the batting title with a .359 average and also finished first in the league in slugging percentage (.633), on-base percentage plus slugging (1.044) and batting with runners in scoring position (.369). Despite missing 29 games in September due to a bruised ribcage, Hamilton had 32 home runs and 100 runs batted in and also put together the longest hitting streak in the majors of 23 games from June 6-30.

He was listed first on 22 of the 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city, second on four and fourth on two for a total of 358 points, based on a tabulation system rewarding 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th. Hamilton being named MVP of the AL Championship Series had no bearing on this election because balloting is conducted prior to the start of post-season play.

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera received five first-place votes and was runner-up in the balloting with 262 points. Cabrera led the league in RBI (126) and on base percentage (.420), was second in batting (.328), slugging (.622), total bases (341) and runs (111) and third in home runs (38). Cabrera, who ranked fourth in the 2009 election, has placed in the top five in MVP balloting in four of the past six years.

The other first-place vote went to Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, who finished fourth with 165 points, behind New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who placed second on the most ballots (12) and totaled 229 points.

Bautista led all major leaguers in home runs with 54 and also topped the AL in total bases (351) and extra-base hits (92) while batting .260 with 124 RBI. Cano hit .319 with 29 home runs, 109 RBI and 103 runs and was second in the league in hits (200) and multi-hit games (59) and third in total bases (334).

Hamilton, Cabrera, Cano and Bautista were named on every ballot. In all, 20 players received votes, the fewest since the 2000 election in the AL that had 19.

Also placing in the top 10 were Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (.312, 39 HR, 111 RBI), Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (.294, 22 HR, 104 RBI), Rays left fielder Carl Crawford (.307, 19 HR, 90 RBI, 13 3B, 110 R, 47 SB), Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (.327, 9 HR, 75 RBI), Boston Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre (.321, 28 HR, 108 RBI, 49 2B) and Twins left fielder Delmon Young (.298, 21 HR, 112 RBI).

It marked the sixth time a Rangers player won the award. Right fielder Juan Gonzalez was a two-time winner, in 1996 and ’98. The other MVPs from Texas were right fielder Jeff Burroughs in 1974, catcher Ivan Rodriguez in 1999 and shortstop Alex Rodriguez in 2003. A-Rod won two other MVPs as a third baseman with the Yankees in 2005 and ’07.

Hamilton’s victory was the 10th for a center fielder in the AL. He joined three-time winners Joe DiMaggio (1939, ’41, ’47) and Mickey Mantle (1956-57, ’62) as well as Fred Lynn (1975), Robin Yount (1989) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1997). Yount was a shortstop when he won his first MVP Award in 1982. His team, the Milwaukee Brewers, moved to the National League in 1998.

A center fielder has won the award in the NL five times – twice apiece by Willie Mays (1954, ’65) and Dale Murphy (1982-83) and once by Willie McGee (1985).

2010 AL MVP

Player, Team1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thPoints
Josh Hamilton, Texas2242358
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit5111011262
Robinson Cano, New York121213229
Jose Bautista, Toronto14851612165
Paul Konerko, Chicago4765212130
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay2365511100
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay163234298
Joe Mauer, Minnesota2136234197
Adrian Beltre, Boston11349683
Delmon Young, Minnesota12421344
Vladimir Guerrero, Texas214322
Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay1111321
CC Sabathia, New York23113
Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland1129
Alex Rodriguez, New York1118
Felix Hernandez, Seattle16
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle33
Jim Thome, Minnesota22
Joakim Soria, Kansas City11
Mark Teixeira, New York11

First-place voting breakdown:

Hamilton: Tim Kurkjian (BAL-WAS), ESPN.com; Paul White (BAL-WAS), USA Today; Steve Buckley (BOS), Boston Herald; Gordon Edes (BOS), ESPN.com; Mark Feinsand (NY), New York Daily News; Pete Caldera (NY), Bergen Record; Marc Topkin (TB), St. Petersburg Times; Roger Mooney (TB), Tampa Tribune; John Lott (TOR), National Post; Joe Cowley (CHI), Chicago Sun Times; Paul Hoynes (CLE), Cleveland Plain Dealer; Jeff Passan (KC), Yahoo.com; La Velle Neal III (MSP), Minneapolis Star Tribune; Kelsie Smith (MSP), St. Paul Pioneer Press; Bill Plunkett (LAA), Orange County Register; Mark Saxon (LAA), At Large; Joseph Stiglich (SFO), Contra Costa Times; Susan Slusser (SFO), San Francisco Chronicle; Larry LaRue (SEA), Tacoma News Tribune; Keizo Konishi (SEA), Kyodo News; Jeff Wilson (DFW), Fort Worth Star Telegram; Evan Grant (DFW), Dallas Morning News.

Cabrera: Scot Gregor (CHI), Daily Herald; Jim Ingraham (CLE), News Herald; Tom Gage (DET), Detroit News; Steve Kornacki (DET), Booth Newspapers; Bob Dutton (KC), Kansas City Star.

Bautista: Shi Davidi (TOR), Canadian Press.