11/16/09 3:24 PM ET
Bailey captures AL rookie award
Righty reliever recorded 26 saves to go with 1.84 ERA
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
He assumed, however, that it was safe to let his parents in on the secret: His rise from Minor League obscurity to Major League limelight turned historic when he was named the American League's 2009 Rookie of the Year.
"My dad couldn't believe it," Bailey told MLB.com by phone shortly after the announcement. "He had been reading all these articles about who had voted for who, and everyone kind of thought Elvis [Andrus of the Rangers] was going to win. So when I told him, he was like, 'No way. Are you kidding? Really?'
"When I called my mom, she just started laughing. And then she started crying."
Andrus, Texas' acrobatic 21-year-old shortstop, finished second in the voting, which was carried out by selected members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Bailey, 25, posted 26 saves -- no other AL rookie reliever had more than two -- with a 1.84 ERA, also the best among AL rookies. He was listed first on 13 ballots submitted by two writers in each AL city, second on six and third on five to score 88 points, based on a 5-3-1 tabulation system.
Andrus, who batted .267 and led AL rookies in hits (128), runs (72), triples (8), total bases (179) and stolen bases (33), placed first on eight ballots, second on six and third on seven for 65 points -- one point more than Tigers righty starter Rick Porcello (14-9, 3.96 ERA), who was first on seven ballots, second on eight and third on five for 64 points.
A's lefty starter Brett Anderson finished sixth in the voting, picking up one second-place vote and one third-place vote.
"There were so many rookies who had great years, it's an amazing honor," Bailey said while scurrying to the airport for an afternoon flight to Oakland, where he'll be featured at a press conference Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT.
"And I think it's really cool that we had two guys in the mix, with Brett being kind of a darkhorse. He had an incredible year, too."
Bailey is the second Oakland closer to win in the past five elections; Huston Street won it in 2005. Other closers elected were Gregg Olson of the Orioles in 1989 and Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Mariners in '00. Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti was a starter when he won the award in '81.
"I kind of thought Andrus was going to win, too," Bailey said. "He was awesome, and he plays every day."
Including shortstop Bobby Crosby's honor in 2004, this marks the third time in six seasons that an A's player has won the rookie award and the eighth time overall, tying the Yankees for the most winners in the league.
The National League's Dodgers -- Brooklyn and Los Angeles -- hold all-time bragging rights with 16 ROYs.
Moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen at Double-A Midland at midseason in 2008, Bailey didn't just make a successful transition to relief work. He made the transition look like a breeze.
After dominating during the second half of the 2008 season at Midland, he following suit in the prestigious Arizona Fall League and did the same in his first trip to big league Spring Training.
Named to the 25-man roster in part because projected closer Joey Devine was out with an elbow injury that resulted in season-ending surgery, Bailey was handed a low-stress role in the season's first several weeks but steadily climbed the ladder of responsibility.
He picked up his first save in early May and eventually took over as the full-time closer, converting his final 21 save opportunities dating to June 17.
"We didn't give him the job," pitching coach Curt Young said in September. "He took it."
Named the Athletics' lone representative at the All-Star Game in St. Louis this summer, Bailey broke Street's Oakland rookie record for saves and posted a 6-3 record with a 0.88 WHIP and 91 strikeouts against 24 walks in 83 1/3 innings over 68 appearances. Opponents batted .167 against Bailey, who surrendered 47 hits
"Andrew," said A's catcher Kurt Suzuki, "was amazing."
Bailey, who is sharing an apartment with his fiancée, Amanda, in Hamden, Conn., this winter, said he was "shocked" when he got Monday's big news.
"It's kind of hard to believe still," he said. "It's crazy. There's about 100 people trying to get through on my phone right now, so everyone's pretty excited about it. I really tried not to think too much about it after the season because it was out of my hands. All you can do is put up your numbers and hope that's good enough.
"I guess this means it was. It's incredible. I'm still shaking."
|ASG MVP||Roberto Clemente||AL Manager of Year|
|Terry Steinbach||1988||Dave Stewart||1990||Tony LaRussa||1988|
|ALCS MVP||Outstanding DH||Hutch Award|
|Dennis Eckersley||1988||Dave Kingman||1984||Carney Lansford||1992|
|Rickey Henderson||1989||Dave Parker||1989||Jason Giambi||2000|
|World Series MVP||Joe Cronin Award||Rolaids Relief|
|Gene Tenace||1972||Rickey Henderson||1982||Dennis Eckersley||1988|
|Reggie Jackson||1973||Jose Canseco||1988||Dennis Eckersley||1992|
|Rollie Fingers||1974||Dave Stewart||1990||Billy Koch||2002|
|AL MVP||ROY||AL Cy Young|
|Lefty Grove||1931||Harry Byrd||1952||Vida Blue||1971|
|Jimmie Foxx||1932||Jose Canseco||1986||"Catfish" Hunter||1974|
|Jimmie Foxx||1933||Mark McGwire||1987||Bob Welch||1990|
|Bobby Shantz||1952||Walt Weiss||1988||Dennis Eckersley||1992|
|Vida Blue||1971||Ben Grieve||1998||Barry Zito||2002|
|Reggie Jackson||1973||Bobby Crosby||2004|
|Jose Canseco||1988||Huston Street||2005|
|Rickey Henderson||1990||Andrew Bailey||2009|
|Rawlings Gold Glove|
|Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award||Year|
|Mark Ellis||2005, 2007|
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.