Twins’ Mauer AL MVP
He received 27 of 28 first-place votes and became the second Twins player in four seasons to win the award.
“To think that I’m an MVP, I don’t know,” Mauer said at a press conference on Monday. “I can’t really describe it. ... It is an individual award, but my teammates had a lot to do with it. They pushed me every day.”
Miguel Cabrera of Detroit received the other first-place vote but the first baseman finished fourth overall, behind Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter of the Yankees, who finished second and third respectively.
Mauer, 26, became the fifth Twin to win MVP honors, joining Zoilo Versalles (1965), Harmon Killebrew (1969), Rod Carew (1977) and Justin Morneau (2006).
Mauer will receive a $100,000 bonus for winning the award, a stipulation in his current contract. For Mauer, the MVP award comes with the Twins hoping to sign him to a long-term contract extension. His current four-year, $33 million deal expires after the 2010 season.
“We have a lot of time to work on that,” Twins general manager Bill Smith said. “Right now we want to let everything soak in and let this be a celebration for Joe and his family. There’s plenty of time to talk about a contract.”
The voters—two writers from each AL market—cast their ballots at regular season’s end. The postseason is not taken into account.
Mauer won his third batting title and became the first AL player since George Brett in 1980 to lead the league in batting average (.365), on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.587).
Despite missing April with a lower-back injury, Mauer set new career highs with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs.
Mauer became the first major league player to win a batting title, Gold Glove Award and MVP in the same season since Ichiro Suzuki did it for the Seattle Mariners in 2001.
The last National League player to complete that trifecta was Willie McGee with the Cardinals in 1985.
Mauer said he was at home earlier Monday with Mike Herman, the Twins director of media relations called: “He said, You may want to stick around the phone for the next five minutes.’ It was a great call. We started talking about some of the catchers who have won the award and some of the other players. It’s pretty amazing.”
Other AL catchers to win the award were Mickey Cochrane (1934), Yogi Berra (1951 and 1954-55), Elston Howard (1963), Thurman Munson (1976) and Ivan Rodriguez (1999). National League catchers to win were Gabby Hartnett (1935), Ernie Lombardi (1938), Roy Campanella (1951, 1953 and 1955) and Johnny Bench (1970 and 1972).
Michael Cuddyer received an eighth-place vote and a 10th-place vote from two of the 28 reporters who cast ballots. Jason Kubel received an eighth-place vote.
“My goal coming into the spring training every year is one, to stay healthy and, two, try to get to the postseason,” Mauer said. “I think that goal will never change. But it has been nice to reflect on this year and the things I have been able to accomplish this year and our team.
“You definitely look forward to next year at some point, but I’m going to enjoy this one for a little bit.”