California signs free agent Don Baylor to a six-year, $1.6 million deal. Baylor, who played with the A’s last season after being dealt by the Orioles in the Reggie Jackson trade, will go on to become the only Angel to win the MVP Award (1979) until Vladimir Guerrero cops the honor in 2004.
Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski (.326, 44, 121), receiving 19 of 20 first-place votes, is selected by the BBWAA as the American League Most Valuable Player. A writer puts the light-hitting Twins infielder Cesar Tovar (.267, 6, 47) on the top of his ballot, preventing the 28-year-old Red Sox outfielder of being the unanimous choice for the award.
In the closest vote for the award since 1960, Ranger outfielder Juan Gonzalez (.314, 47, 144) wins the American League MVP. Gonzalez, who will also cop the honor in 1998, edges out Alex Rodriguez by just three points, getting one more first-place vote than the Mariner shortstop.
Bob Gibson (22-9, 268 strikeouts, 1.12 ERA) wins the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award, edging out Reds infielder Pete Rose. The Cards’ right-hander was also the unanimous winner of the NL Cy Young Award when he garnered all 20 of the first-place votes cast by the BBWAA.
After playing Class-A ball for one year, Albert Pujols (.329, 37, 130), is named the National League Rookie of the Year by the BBWAA. The Cardinal freshman set NL rookie marks for RBIs (130), total bases (360), and extra-base hits (88), and fell just one home run shy of tying the National League rookie record of 38, established by Frank Robinson in 1956 as a member of the Reds.
Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela (13-7, 2.48) becomes the first rookie ever to win the Cy Young Award. The 20-year-old southpaw, who was also selected as the NL’s Rookie of the Year, edges Reds’ right-hander Tom Seaver (14-2, 2.54) in the BBWAA voting for the strike-shortened season, 70-67.
The Dodgers’ hurler Orel Hershiser (23-8, 2.26) becomes the ninth pitcher in National League history to win the Cy Young Award unanimously when he receives all 24 first-place votes from the sportswriters. The 29-year-old right-hander, known as the ‘Bulldog’ to his teammates, is the only player to win the Cy Young Award, the NLCS MVP Award, and the World Series MVP Award in the same season.
Brewers’ shortstop Robin Yount (.331, 29, 114) wins the American League MVP unanimously. The 26-year-old future Hall of Famer (1999) captures all 27 first place votes, easily beating runners-up Eddie Murray and Doug DeCinces.
Joining Dean Chance, Bartolo Colon becomes the second Angels’ pitcher, the first in 41 years, to win the Cy Young Award. The 32-year-old from the Dominican Republic, who led the American League with 21 victories, is the only player named on every ballot.
Receiving all of the writers’ 28 first-place votes, Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar, Jr. wins the AL Rookie of the Year, joining Carlton Fisk and Mark McGwire as the only rookies to be elected unanimously. Yankee first baseman/DH Kevin Maas and Royals right-hander Kevin Appier are the runners-up.