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Dustin Pedroia Wins A.L. MVP

by Ryan Hudson

In what was supposed a close race but ended up being a comfortable win, Dustin Pedroia was named the 2008 American League MVP today.

Pedroia joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Ryan Howard as the only players to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive years.

By prevailing in the Baseball Writers' Association of America voting, Pedroia became the first Red Sox player to cart home the coveted MVP Award since Mo Vaughn in 1995. But unlike Vaughn, one of the most physically imposing figures in club history, Pedroia will go down as one of the slightest.

Officially listed at 5-foot-9 in the Boston media guide, Pedroia is probably two or three inches shorter than that.

After a grand slam at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 27, a revved-up Pedroia informed his teammates that he was "the strongest 165-pound man in baseball."

Pedroia, who already had won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award this off season, received 16 first-place votes from the 28 ballots.

The 2007 AL Rookie of the Year batted .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI while establishing single-season franchise records by a second baseman for runs, hits, doubles, batting average, total bases, and extra-base hits.

He led the majors with 54 doubles, tied Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki for first with 213 hits, and ranked second with 118 runs and 61 multi-hit games, both AL highs. He also stole 20 bases in 21 attempts.

Additional accomplishments for Pedroia in 2008:
- The third major league second baseman ever to tally 100 runs, 200 hits, 50 doubles, and 20 steals in a season, joining the Yankees' Alfonso Soriano (2002) and the Astros' Craig Biggio (1998).
- Hit .345 with an OPS of .949 in the second half of the season.
- Committed just six errors.

Minnesota's Justin Morneau finished second, and Pedroia's teammate, Kevin Youkilis, finished third.