Vladimir Guerrero of the Anaheim Angels won the American League MVP award on Tuesday, just the fifth time a player switched leagues and earned the honor in his first season with his new team.
The Dominican right fielder received 21 of 28 first-place votes and 354 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
New York Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield finished second with five first-place votes and 254 points. Boston players split the remaining two first-place votes, with left fielder Manny Ramirez finishing third with 238 points and designated hitter David Ortiz winding up fourth with 174 points.
Guerrero was prepared for a close vote.
"I was in no way expecting it to be the way it came out," he said through a translator during a conference call from the presidential palace in the Dominican Republic.
Guerrero, 28, signed with the Angels last winter after eight seasons with the Montreal Expos. He hit .337 with 39 homers and 126 RBIs as Anaheim won the AL West, and led the league with 124 runs and 366 total bases. He batted .371 in September with 10 homers and 23 RBIs.
The only other non-rookies who became MVPs in their first AL seasons were Baltimore's Frank Robinson (1966), Chicago's Dick Allen (1972) and Detroit's Willie Hernandez (1984). In the NL, Kirk Gibson accomplished the feat with Los Angeles in 1988.
Houston's Roger Clemens won the NL Cy Young Award last week following his first season in the league. Clemens won six Cy Youngs in the AL.
Guerrero became the second Angels player to win, joining Don Baylor (1979). He is the fourth Dominican to be MVP, following Toronto's George Bell (1987), the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa (1998) and Oakland's Miguel Tejada (2002).
Guerrero was especially happy that three of the top four finishers in the voting were Dominican.
"It's in our blood," he said. "We grow up with baseball."
Guerrero gets a US$500,000 bonus for winning the award and Ramirez US$100,000 for finishing third. Ortiz didn't get anything for finishing fourth -- but would get US$400,000 for finishing second through fifth in his contract that starts next season. Tejada, now with Baltimore, gets a US$300,000 bonus for finishing fifth, and Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez gets US$100,000 for winding up 10th.
Anaheim was swept by Boston in the first round of the playoffs, Guerrero's first time in the postseason, and he hopes to get back every year.
"It really left a taste in my mouth," he said.
Barry Bonds won his record seventh NL MVP on Monday, capping a season of suspicion and success to become the oldest player to win the award.
The 40-year-old San Francisco Giants left fielder received 24 first-place votes and 407 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America to earn the award for the fourth straight season.
"I don't know if one is better than the other. They're all overwhelming," Bonds said.
Los Angeles third baseman Adrian Beltre was second, getting six first-place votes and 311 points, and St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols was third with one first and 247 points. St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen got the other first-place vote and finished fourth, followed by teammate Jim Edmonds.
Bonds is the only player with more than three MVP awards and the only one to win more than two in a row. Willie Stargell was previously the oldest to win it, sharing the 1979 NL award with Keith Hernandez at 39.