Long since established as one of baseball's great players, Pujols emerged as the game's dominant figure in 2009. On Tuesday, the Baseball Writers' Association of America once again recognized him as such, naming Pujols the National League Most Valuable Player in a unanimous decision.
Pujols received all 32 first-place votes, good for 448 ballot points. Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez garnered 15 second-place votes and 233 points. First baseman Ryan Howard of the Phillies was a close third with 217 points. He was followed by Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
"It's an award you give to one person, but I believe if it wouldn't have been for the help my teammates have given me for the past year, I wouldn't be standing up here," Pujols said. "I always say, if I could split this award and give a piece to every single player that had an impact with this organization, I would do that."
It's the second straight year that Pujols has won the award, and the third time overall. He is the 10th player in history to win three MVPs, and the fifth to win it three times in the National League. He is the 12th player to win back-to-back MVP awards. The last was Barry Bonds, who won it four straight years from 2001-04.
"When you think about the year we had, to have it end in this fashion is really quite remarkable," general manager John Mozeliak said. "It's historic what he's achieved and we're very fortunate to be a part of that."
Every three-time MVP who is eligible for Hall of Fame enshrinement has been elected to the Hall. Alex Rodriguez and Bonds have not come up for election yet. Now Pujols makes 10, and he's building his Cooperstown case every year.
"There's three things that as a professional athlete you want," Pujols said. "You want to get to the big leagues, and I accomplished that. Winning a World Series ring, I got that. And then getting to the Hall of Fame. That's everybody's dream. Every athlete, they want to be up there in the Hall of Fame, mentioned with the greatest players to ever play this game."
The award puts Pujols on a level with a number of the game's greats, but in St. Louis, a third MVP has a special resonance. Stan Musial is the only other Cardinals player with three MVP awards, and with every year, Pujols inches a little closer to Musial's place as the greatest Cardinal ever.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Albert Pujols takes home his third MVP award.