Oakland’s shortstop Tejada wins first AL MVP award

By Ronald Blum The Associated Press
Wednesday November 13, 2002

NEW YORK — Miguel Tejada beat all those more famous American League shortstops to the Most Valuable Player award. 

After leading Oakland to the AL West title, Tejada easily defeated Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday, earning the AL honor when he received 21 of 28 first-place votes and 356 points from a panel of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. 

“I don’t think there can be anyone on earth more happy than I am right now,” Tejada said from the presidential palace in the Dominican Republic, where about 1,000 people attended a reception in his honor. “Inside, I feel fulfilled.” 

His car to the palace was repeatedly stopped by the large crowd, and many of his relatives joined him at the palace. 

“I don’t know if I can count all the members of my family, because there’s lots of people here,” he said. 

In balloting that rewarded winning over statistics, A-Rod was second with five first-place votes and 254 points. He led the major leagues in home runs and RBIs but played for last-place Texas. 

Among the other two star AL shortstops, Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra was tied for 11th with 24 points and New York’s Derek Jeter wasn’t among the top 10 on any ballot. 

“It makes me real proud to be in the same group,” Tejada said. 

New York Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano got the remaining two first-place votes and was third with 234 points, followed by Anaheim outfielder Garret Anderson (184) and Yankees slugger Jason Giambi (162). 

Tejada thought a player who makes the playoffs should get preference in the voting, but also said he would have voted for Rodriguez. 

“He had a monster year. I’ve been thinking the whole way that he’s going to win the MVP,” Tejada said. “I got a surprise today when they made the announcement.”