Justin Morneau won the American League's (AL) Most Valuable Player Award on Tuesday, edging Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees after a season in which Morneau's 34 homers and 130 RBIs helped the Minnesota Twins capture their division.
Morneau received 15 first-place votes, eight seconds, three thirds and two fourths for 320 points in voting by a panel of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Jeter got 12 firsts, 14 seconds, one fourth and one sixth for 306 points.
"Last night even I was saying I don't expect to get it. I might have given myself maybe a 50-50 chance," Morneau said. "I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment if I didn't get it."
Boston's David Ortiz was third with 193 points, followed by Oakland's Frank Thomas (174), Chicago's Jermaine Dye (156), and Minnesota's Joe Mauer (116) and Johan Santana (114).
It was the 16th-closest MVP race since the current format began in 1938, and the 10th closest in the AL.
Morneau became the second Canadian-born player to win an MVP following Colorado's Larry Walker in 1997. He is the third Canadian-born athlete to win an MVP in a major pro league this year, following Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton.
Walker telephoned Morneau as he was arriving at the Metrodome.
"He just wanted to call and say, `Congrats,'" Morneau said. "He said he thought he was more excited than I was. He said, `Just wait, it's going to be crazy.'"
Morneau's Minnesota teammates had previousLy garnered other honors. Mauer won the AL batting title this year and Santana won the AL Cy Young last week.