Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pujols unamimous MVP

As he explained why he would intentionally walk Albert Pujols even when baseball tradition and accepted strategy screamed not to, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre offered a seven-word defense of his action: "Albert is in a class by himself." If Pujols wasn't then, he took a step closer to it Tuesday.

The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman won his second consecutive and his third career National League MVP award, sweeping the first-place votes of 32 writers around the NL cities. The Baseball Writers' Association of America made the announced Tuesday afternoon on its Web site.

The vote, as expected, wasn't close, with Pujols out-distancing runner-up Hanley Ramirez of Florida and Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, who finished third. Ramirez got 15 second-place votes; Howard got six.

Pujols becomes the 10th player in the eight decades of the award to win three. Only Barry Bonds, who has seven MVPs in his career, has more than the nine players now tied with three.

Pujols is the first unanimous selection since Bonds in 2002. He is the seventh player to win the NL award unanimously, joining fellow Cardinal Orlando Cepeda (1967), Bonds and four others: Carl Hubbell (1936), Mike Schmidt (1980), Jeff Bagwell (1994) and Ken Caminiti (1996).

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