Jeter was robbed! That was the one-line message I received from my good friend – and clear Yankee zealot – Chris F. this morning, a day after it was announced that Derek Jeter finished second in the AL MVP voting to Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau.
My response? Not really. I have no argument with the guy winning.
In truth, the numbers put up by the two men were practically mirror images. Jeter was more consistent throughout the season. He also topped the second-year player in hits, runs, doubles, batting average, on-base percentage and stolen bases. And he was only the fifth player in the past 75 seasons to hit .340 or higher, drive in at least 90 runs and steal 30 or more bases in the same season.
So what perhaps made the difference? Morneau had more home runs (34 to just 14) and RBIs (134 to 97). Chicks dig the long ball. Apparently, so do baseball writers.
Iit’s been widely noted that one voter, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, placed Jeter an astounding sixth on his ballot. His reasoning? Jeter played ina stronger lineup and was thus less “valuable” to his than Morneau, who carreid the Twins into the postseason after a weak start.
I don’t it. Three of the top seven MVP vote-getters played for the Twins, not the Yankees. So you
can argue both benefitted from playing on strong teams.
The real shame is that this may have been Jeter’s last best shot at the award. Morneau is a pimply faced kid. Jeter, who also could have easily won the award in 1999, will reach the top of the mountain soon and may retire as the best player never to win an MVP.