Monday, November 13, 2006

NL Rookie of the Year

Florida Marlins short stop Hanley Ramirez beat Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman by four points in the BBWAA vote for the National League Rookie of the Year.
The gifted 22-year-old Marlins shortstop posted some first-year numbers that rival some of the game's all-time greats.

Consider, Ramirez is the first National League rookie to post 110-plus runs and 50-plus stolen bases. And he is the second Major League rookie since 1900 with 115-plus runs scored and 50-plus stolen bases. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki accomplished the feat in 2001.

Ramirez joined the legendary Ernie Banks (19 in 1954) as the second rookie in NL history to log 17-plus homers while playing 100-plus games at shortstop. And he is the fifth MLB player since 1900 to collect 45-plus doubles and have 50-plus stolen bases. That exclusive club is occupied by Hall of Famers: Ty Cobb (47/83 in 1911), Tris Speaker (53/52 in 1912) and Lou Brock (46/62 in 1968). Rounding out the list is multiple All-Star Craig Biggio (51/50 in 1998).

Such lofty standards haven't gone unnoticed as Ramirez on Monday was tabbed the Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year winner by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

In the closest NL vote since 1980, Ramirez was named the winner over Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. In all, three of the top four choices were Marlins. Florida All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla was third, and right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson was fourth.

Going a step further, six of the 12 rookies who received votes were Marlins, marking the first time in league history one team has had that many contenders. Pitchers Scott Olsen and Anibal Sanchez and outfielder Josh Willingham each picked up one third-place vote.

Ramirez is the second Marlins player to claim the award. In the franchise's 2003 World Series championship season, pitcher Dontrelle Willis was presented the award.
In other news, the St. Louis Cardinals will open their season at home on April 1, 2007, against the New York Mets.
The game, a rematch of this year's NL Championship Series, will be televised nationally by ESPN2 starting at 8:05 p.m. ET, the Cardinals said Monday.

After an off day on April 2, the series concludes with games April 3 and 4.

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