Wright seventh, Delgado ninth for MVP
Five Mets -- most in NL -- receive votes behind winner Pujols
Delgado was seemingly a compelling candidate until the Mets faded in September. The first baseman placed behind eight other players, including Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who won the award for the second time in four years. Delgado also came in behind runner-up Ryan Howard of the Phillies and Mets teammate David Wright, who placed seventh, in the balloting by 32 voting members -- two from each National League market -- of the BBWAA.
It was Delgado, and not Wright, who was endorsed by Mets players -- Wright included -- and manager Jerry Manuel as the team's MVP. Delgado, not Wright, prompted chants of MVP at Shea Stadium while the Mets pushed into first place last summer. And the veteran first baseman's most productive hitting and the Mets' re-emergence as a contender did run concurrently.
But the BBWAA committee, which is to take a more dispassionate view than fans or Mets personnel, saw it differently. Delgado's candidacy undoubtedly was undermined by his wildly uneven production. Moreover, Wright led the team in RBIs -- equaling the club record with 124 -- while placing second, by one, to Carlos Beltran in runs with 115, establishing a career high in home runs with 33 and winning a Gold Glove.
Delgado produced 80 of his 115 RBIs, 60 of his 96 runs, 27 of his team-high 38 home runs and 20 of his 32 doubles during a period in which the Mets won 51 of 85 games. Judging by the reaction of Shea Stadium, his poor performance in the first 77 games was at least forgiven, if not forgotten. The 32-man committee saw it differently, so Delgado again finished well out of first place with 96 points -- 273 fewer than Pujols, 212 fewer than Howard, the 2006 MVP, and 19 fewer than Wright.
Delgado received five third-place votes, but he was omitted from 14 ballots. Wright, who received two second-place votes and one for third, was named on all but nine. His seventh place this year comes after he placed fourth in 2007, ninth in 2006 and 19th in 2005.
Delgado has placed among the 10 leading vote-getters four times in his 15 seasons with the Mets (three), Marlins (one) and Blue Jays (11). He was runner-up to Alex Rodriguez, then of the Rangers, in 2003 when he played for the Jays. He also placed fourth in 2000 for Toronto and sixth in 2005, his year with the Marlins. He was 12th in 2006, his first season with the Mets, and received no votes last year.
Strangely, five Mets players -- Wright, Delgado, Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes -- received votes. No other club had more than three players named to ballots. The Mets had more players named on the ballots than the Dodgers -- one, Manny Ramirez -- and any one of the other three National League teams in the postseason. The Phillies, Cubs and Brewers had three each. Only the Nationals and Reds had no players receive votes.
Beltran was named on three ballots and received 10 points, tying him for 21st with Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee. Reyes received one eighth-place vote and tied for 23rd with Astros closer Jose Valverde.
Santana, who received American League MVP support with the Twins in 2004 and 2008, was named on more ballots, seven, and was awarded more points, 30, than either of the other starting pitchers who received votes. Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum of the Giants placed 23rd, and Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks, the Cy Young runner-up, placed 17th. Santana placed directly behind them in the Cy Young vote. He became the first Mets starting pitcher to receive MVP support since 1994, when Bret Saberhagen tied for 22nd place with one vote.