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11/18/08 6:24 PM EST
Hamilton falls short in AL MVP voting
Rangers center fielder finishes seventh in balloting
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton's season to remember earned him seventh place in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award in results announced Tuesday. Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox won the honor with 16 first-place votes and 317 total points in a 1-10 voting system. Hamilton finished with 112 points, with his highest votes being two third-place nods, and he was left out of the top 10 on two ballots. He finished behind the Twins' Justin Morneau, the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis, the Twins' Joe Mauer, Carlos Quentin of the White Sox and the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez. Slugger Milton Bradley finished 17th with a sixth- and a seventh-place vote, and second baseman Ian Kinsler checked in with a 10th-place vote. Hamilton hit .304 with 98 runs scored, 32 home runs and a league-leading 130 RBIs. He finished with a .901 OPS that was sixth in the league, a combination of a .371 on-base percentage and a .530 slugging percentage. He had 29 RBIs that put his team ahead, third most in the league, and he had 13 game-winning RBIs, tied for the 10th in the league. He was the American League Player of the Month for both April and May. "Josh meant so much to our club this year, especially when he got hot in the first half and helped turn the season around," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "It seemed like he found a different way to impact the game every night. It was one of those seasons that you really enjoy watching -- never know when you'll see another like it." The Rangers were hoping Hamilton would become the fifth Rangers player to win the highest honor in the American League. Jeff Burroughs (1974), Juan Gonzalez (1996, '98), Ivan Rodriguez (1999) and Alex Rodriguez (2003) previously won the award as Rangers. Hamilton appeared to be a lock for the MVP at the All-Star break when he was hitting .310 with 21 home runs and 95 RBIs. He just wasn't able to keep up the pace in the second half as he started to wear down from playing in his first full season in the Major Leagues. But he still wove a remarkable story in his amazing comeback from drugs and alcohol. He essentially missed 3 1/2 seasons while dealing with his personal issues. He finally made his Major League debut with the Reds in 2007 but was limited to 90 games because of a variety of injuries. The Rangers acquired him last winter in a trade with the Reds for pitcher Edinson Volquez in a deal that worked out well for both teams. Hamilton still had to deal with physical issues this past season, including a sore lower back that required treatment every day. But he still played in 156 games even though the Rangers were openly saying in Spring Training that 140 games would be the best-case scenario. The awards are pouring in for Hamilton. He already has been named the American League's Outstanding Player in the Player's Choice Awards as well as the Rangers Player of the Year. He was also a member of the American League Silver Slugger team.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.