12/10/2002 7:15 pm ET
A-Rod is best player, fans say
Shortstop adds inaugural MLB.com award to collection
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
56K | 300K
The fans have spoken and Alex Rodriguez is their choice for Player of the Year.
Rodriguez hit .300 and led the Majors in homers with 57, RBIs with 142 and total bases with 389. He finished among the league leaders in runs scored, slugging percentage, hits, extra-base hits, on-base percentage and multi-hit games. His home run total set a single-season record for a shortstop for the second straight year and 2002 marked the third straight season in which he had more than 135 RBIs.
MLB.com's "This Year in Baseball Awards" debuted on Nov. 7. More than 300,000 votes were cast for the six inaugural awards, which included Play of the Year, Blooper of the Year, Setup Man of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year. The awards were created to allow fans to have the final say on the top moments and players from the 2002 baseball season.
MLB.com's award caps off a rewarding season for Rodriguez, who had already been named Player of the Year by The Sporting News and by the Major League Baseball Players Association. He was voted Outstanding American League Player at the Players' Choice Awards in 2002 and picked up his second consecutive Hank Aaron Award, which recognizes the best overall hitter in the American league. Rodriguez also earned his sixth Silver Slugger Award 2002.
One day after finishing second in voting for the AL Most Valuable Player Award, the shortstop picked up his first Gold Glove Award. Rodriguez, who committed 10 errors in 741 chances, posted a career-high .987 fielding percentage, fourth best among AL shortstops and the best at the position in club history. He led the league in putouts, with 259, and double plays, with 108. He tied for first with 162 games played and was second in assists with 472.
Rodriguez committed the fewest errors ever for a Texas shortstop who qualified for the award, and he established a club record for games played at the position. He also went 52 consecutive games -- from June 28-Aug. 27 -- without an error.
A-Rod became the first shortstop in Rangers history to win a Gold Glove and ended Omar Vizquel's nine-year reign as the AL's Gold Glove shortstop. The last AL shortstop before Vizquel to win the award was Cal Ripken in 1992.
Also, Rodriguez played in all 162 games for the second consecutive season and has hit 109 home runs since signing a 10-year, $252 million contract with Texas before the 2001 season. He is two home runs shy of reaching the 300-home run plateau.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.