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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ryan Howard & Justin Morneau win MVP honors

By David

Fellow first basemen Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau took home the MVP award in their respective leagues. At the age of 27, the Phillies slugger overpowered opposing National League pitching to the tune of 58 home runs and 149 runs batted in. In the American League, 25 year old Justin Morneau surprised all of baseball in defeating Yankees shortstop and seven time all star Derek Jeter by a slim 14 points. Morneau became only the second Canadien born player to win the award since Larry Walker.

Both players enjoyed remarkable seasons as Howard lead the major leagues in home runs, RBI's, total bases and finished tied for second with a .659 slugging percentage and third with a 1.084 OPS. Morneau rebounded extremly well from a disappointing 2005 campaign where he batted .239 with 79 RBI's to bat .321 with 34 home runs and 130 runs batted in.

Still, Morneau was overshadowed by the heart felt story of catcher Joe Mauer winning the batting title and having the AL CY young winner and arguebly the best pitcher in baseball Johan Santana on his team. This is why Jeter should have won the award because he was the focal point of his teams success and with out him the Bronx Bombers would not have made the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Ryan Howard was the odds on favorite to win the award and even though slugger Albert Pujols enjoyed a productive season, with out Howard the Phillies would have never been in playoff contention. His numbers on the field don't speak enough volume to how overpowering he is at the plate. Just watching him clobber home runs to all sides of the field with such ease is startling for a player only in his second major league season. If Howard can continue on his current pace of destruction he will go down as one of the very best to ever play the game.

It seems to me that the winners of this years MVP award are beginning to open up a new breed of baseball players. Howard and Morneau are two young first basemen who play the game the right way. They are extremly diligent, very benevolent in the press and conduct themselves in a professional manner. If the rest of MLB could acquire some tips from these men maybe the game would be much more attractive for people to watch.

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