November 12, 2007
NEW YORK (TICKER) -- The World Series champion Boston Red Sox added to their list of honors Monday, as second baseman Dustin Pedroia was named American League Rookie of the Year.
Pedroia received 24 of the 28 first-place votes in balloting conducted by two writers from each of the 14 American League cities. He also received four second-place votes and 132 total points.
The only player named on all 28 ballots, the diminutive Pedroia led all rookies in batting average at .317, on-base plus slugging at .823, runs scored with 86 and doubles with 39.
"I'm not too big on personal accomplishments, I just want to help my team win," Pedroia said. "There have been some great players to get this award, and it's definitely been such a fun and exciting year for me and my teammates. I'm so happy for the people that have stuck with me through this whole thing."
Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Delmon Young was second with 56 points, including three first-place votes. Kansas City Royals righthander Brian Bannister earned the other first-place vote and finished with third with 36 points.
Boston righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka finished fourth while Los Angels Angels of Anaheim outfielder Reggie Willits was fifth. Boston lefthander Hideki Okajima was sixth, followed by Chicago White Sox third baseman Josh Fields and Kansas City Royals righthander Joakim Soria.
Pedroia, 24, is the sixth Red Sox player to be named as the AL's top rookie and first since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.
"We're very proud of Dustin for what he has accomplished and how he has conducted himself in a Red Sox uniform," Boston general manager Theo Epstein said. "So it's especially gratifying to see him recognized today with such a prestigious honor."
Pedroia became just the fourth AL player to win the award while playing the majority of his games at second base, joining Minnesota's Rod Carew (1967), Detroit's Lou Whitaker (1978) and Minnesota's Chuck Knoblauch (1991).
Pedroia began the season in a horrible slump, batting just .172 on May 1. The fans were clamoring for popular backup Alex Cora to take Pedroia's spot in the lineup. But Red Sox manager Terry Francona stuck with him, and had his faith was rewarded.
"Everyone has doubted me at every level I've been at, saying I'm too small, I'm not fast enough, my arm is not strong enough," Pedroia said. "But there's a lot of people that have stuck by me and knew deep down that there's something about me that makes me a winning baseball player."
He batted .335 between May 3 and the end of the season, working his way from the No. 9 spot in Boston's lineup all the way to the leadoff hole.
Pedroia won over the fans with his ability to fight through at-bats, tallying 165 hits and 47 walks while only striking out 42 times - ranking him second among all AL players with 12.4 at-bats per strikeout.
Pedroia was at his best during Boston's playoff run, hitting .345 against the Cleveland Indians in the AL Championship Series and clubbing a two-run homer in the decisive Game Seven. He batted .283 in the World Series against the Colorado Rockies and led off Game One with a home run.
"The only thing I cared about was trying to help the team win," Pedroia said. "That was our ultimate goal. We set out to try to win the American League East and try to win the World Series. We accomplished both of those things.
"I think that if you're dedicated into team goals, individual goals will come later."