Berroa, Willis Named MLB Rookies of Year - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Berroa, Willis Named MLB Rookies of Year

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Posted: Monday, November 10, 2003 11:30 am | Updated: 1:54 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

NEW YORK - Kansas City shortstop Angel Berroa beat New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui in the closest AL Rookie of the Year vote in 24 years. Florida pitcher Dontrelle Willis won the NL award.

Berroa received 12 first-place votes, seven seconds and seven thirds for 88 points in balloting released Monday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Matsui got 10 firsts, nine seconds and seven thirds for 84 points.

It was the closest vote since the BBWAA adopted the current format in 1980, a year after Minnesota's John Castino and Toronto's Alfredo Griffin tied with seven votes each. Berroa and Matsui each were picked on 26 of 28 ballots.

In the NL, Willis received 17 first-place votes and 118 points, easily defeating Milwaukee outfielder Scott Podsednik, who got eight firsts and 81 points.

Berroa hit .287 with 17 homers, 73 RBIs, 21 steals and 92 runs. Matsui batted .287 with 16 homers, 106 RBIs, two steals and 82 runs.

Matsui was a three-time MVP of Japan's Central League before signing with the Yankees after the 2002 season. While some have argued Japanese players shouldn't be eligible, the BBWAA has always allowed voters to pick them.

Pitcher Hideo Nomo won the NL award for Los Angeles in 1995. Seattle reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki won the AL award in 2001, and teammate Ichiro Suzuki took it home the following year.

Willis went 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA as Florida won the NL wild card, slumping in the second half of the season. The high-kicking left-hander was 9-1 with a 2.08 ERA before the All-Star break, then went 5-5 with 4.60 ERA. He was dropped from the Marlins' rotation during their World Series win against the Yankees.

Podsednik hit .315 for the Brewers with nine homers, 58 RBIs, 43 steals and 100 runs. Arizona's Brandon Webb was third in the NL voting with 73 points.

Tampa Bay outfielder Rocco Baldelli finished third in the AL voting with 51 points, followed by Cleveland outfielder Jody Gerut (20).

Berroa is the fourth Kansas City player to win the award, following Lou Piniella (1969), Bob Hamelin (1994) and Carlos Beltran (1999). Willis is the first Florida player to win the NL honor.

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