10/16/07 8:45 PM ET
A-Rod highlights Sporting News awards
Yankees slugger wins player of the year award in landslide
By Conor Nicholl / MLB.com
He can add another one: 72.3.
That was the percentage of Major League players who voted for A-Rod as the 2007 Sporting News Player of Year. Rodriguez, who led the Majors in homers, runs and RBIs and paced the high-octane Yankees offense, was named on 353 of 488 player ballots.
"I don't think you can look back and say anyone's had a better season than he's had," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I can't. I haven't seen it."
Rodriguez's award highlighted the 2007 version of the St. Louis-based magazine's yearly awards. Indians manager Eric Wedge earned the American League Manager of the Year honor, while Diamondbacks skipper Bob Melvin earned one more vote than Phillies manager Charlie Manuel for the NL award.
Wedge's Indians captured 96 wins -- tied for the Red Sox for tops in the Majors -- and won 18 more games than last year. Cleveland, which earned its first divisional title since 2001, currently holds a 2-1 series lead over Boston in the ALCS.
Melvin's Diamondbacks were swept by Colorado in the NLCS, but Arizona -- despite being outscored this season -- still won 90 games and captured the NL West title.
"Obviously, because of the fact that it's voted on by the managers, it's an honor, but for me it ends up being a group award," Melvin said. "You've got to have good players, which we do. We've got a great coaching staff that prepares the players to play every day, so it's a credit to them. And [we have] a front office that gives us the right tools and the right players to be successful with. So it ends up being a group award."
Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia won the American League Rookie of the Year award and Brewers third baseman Ryan Braun captured NL rookie honors. Pedroia, the sparkplug for the American League East champs, hit just .182 in April. However, he batted .333 the rest of the season and supplied steady defense at second base.
Braun, considered one of baseball's top prospects entering the season, didn't make his Major League debut until May 24. He had little trouble adapting to Major League pitching, batting .324 with 34 homers and 97 RBI in 113 games.
His .634 slugging percentage was the highest by any rookie in the modern era, besting Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Albert Pujols and several other greats.
Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena and Washington's Dmitri Young garnered Comeback Player of the Year honors. Pena, who hit just one homer in 33 at-bats in 2006 and was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, found new life in Tampa Bay this season. He crushed 46 homers, second in the American League to A-Rod, and finished fourth in the AL with 121 RBIs.
Young, also a non-roster player in Washington's camp, earned his second All-Star appearance and finished tied for eighth in the National League with a .320 average.
The league All-Star teams were filled with playoff participants. Indians ace C.C. Sabathia (Major League-best 241 innings) was selected as the American League's top pitcher.
New York's Jorge Posada was named as the catcher, Pena was the first baseman, while Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and A-Rod rounded out the infield.
Detroit's Magglio Ordonez and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, 1-2 in the American League batting race, joined the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero in the outfield. David Ortiz was picked as the designated hitter and Cleveland's Joe Borowski was the top reliever.
The National League team featured 10 players from nine different teams. Padres ace Jake Peavy and Diamondbacks closer Jose Valverde were named as the top starter and reliever, respectively.
Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder (NL-best 50 homers), Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Mets third baseman David Wright formed the infield.
Matt Holliday, the offensive cornerstone for the pennant-winning Rockies, highlighted the outfield selections that included Houston's Carlos Lee and Philadelphia's Aaron Rowand.
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.