Crosby, Bay take home top rookie awards
Posted: Monday November 8, 2004 2:04PM; Updated: Monday November 8, 2004 6:08PM
Bay, also the first Canadian to win the rookie award, got 25 of 32 first-place votes and 146 points Monday from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby was just a vote shy of being a unanimous pick for AL honor.
Clemente wasn't listed on a single ballot in 1955, when each voter selected just one name and Bill Virdon won. Stargell didn't get any votes when Pete Rose won in 1963, and Bonds was sixth with four points in 1986, finishing behind Todd Worrell, Robby Thompson, Kevin Mitchell, Charlie Kerfeld and Will Clark.
Ralph Kiner's big rookie season for the Pirates came in 1946, one year before the rookie award began.
"It means the world to me," Bay said. "You walk into the locker room and you see all those jerseys hanging up, it's kind of amazing it never happened."
Pittsburgh had been the only pre-expansion team without a rookie of the year, with four players finishing second: first baseman Donn Clendenon (1962), second baseman Johnny Ray (1982), pitcher Mike Dunne (1987) and outfielder-first baseman Orlando Merced (1991).
Bay, traded by Montreal in 2001, the New York Mets in 2002 and San Diego in 2003, became friends with Greene in the Padres' organization. Greene, who broke his right index finger Sept. 13 and missed the rest of the season, hit .273 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs.
"I was figuring he was going to win," Greene said. "Statistically, which is what it's based on more than anything, he had a better year than I did."
Crosby received 27 of 28 first-place votes for 138 points. Chicago White Sox closer Shingo Takatsu received the other first-place vote, from Newsday's Jim Baumbach, and finished second with 44 points, followed by Baltimore pitcher Daniel Cabrera with 29 points.
Crosby, the son of former major league infielder Ed Crosby, said it was nerve-racking waiting for the announcement and that being a unanimous pick "would have been nice."
"I think it's sweet either way," he said.
Crosby, 24, took over Oakland's shortstop job from 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada, who signed with Baltimore. Crosby hit .239 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs, his average the lowest for a non-pitcher given the award.
"Filling in for Miggy, he had big shoes to fill," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "We told him to just catch the ball. He did just outstanding at that."
Crosby led AL rookies in hits (130), doubles (34) and walks (58), and was third among all AL players with 4.17 pitches per plate appearance. However, his 141 strikeouts were the most for Oakland since Jose Canseco's 152 in 1991 and he had a streaky season that included a 1-for-23 slide.
"I had so many ups and downs this year," he said. "Next year I think is going to be a bit more of a relief."
Bay hit .282 with 26 homers and 82 RBIs. The 26-year-old from Trail, British Columbia, had the most homers by an NL rookie since Albert Pujols hit 37 three years ago. Bay started the season on the disabled list while recovering from surgery on his right shoulder and didn't play his first major league game of the season until May 7.
His sister, Lauren Bay, was a pitcher for Canada's Olympic softball team, making it two star athletes for a town with a population of about 10,000. He's kidded her about how he'd fare against her.
"If I faced her four times, I might hit her twice," he remembered telling her. "She kind of spouted back that that was generous."
Bay got married in Seattle on Saturday to his college girlfriend, Kristen. He was trying to sleep late Monday when he got the call.
"November 2004, especially in a two-day span, is something I'll never forget," he said.