Bonds unanimous pick for National League MVP awardPosted: Monday November 11, 2002 2:03 PM
Updated: Monday November 11, 2002 7:35 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Barry Bonds is winning Most Valuable Player awards so fast and so often, he doesn't know what to do with them.
"All my trophies are in storage. I don't have a house big enough," Bonds said Monday after winning the National League MVP for a record fifth time. "I happen to have a little house in San Francisco. I've been living out of storage for the last eight, nine years now."
Bonds, the only baseball player with more than three MVP awards, won it unanimously for the first time. The San Francisco Giants outfielder received all 32 first-place votes and 448 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"I'd rather win the World Series, but this is great. I'm very happy about it, very excited," Bonds said Tuesday in Japan, where he is on the major league all-star tour. "I'm trying to figure out why a 38-year-old player is still playing like this.
"Forget the historical part about MVPs. I'm overjoyed, very happy, very pleased, especially coming off the 73-home-run year, to be able to pretty much stay consistent," he said.
Bonds hit .370 to win his first NL batting title, and set records with 198 walks, 68 intentional walks and a .582 on-base percentage. He had a .799 slugging percentage, down from his record .863 last year but still good enough to lead the major leagues.
Bonds also won the MVP award for Pittsburgh in 1990 and 1992 and for the Giants in 1993 and 2001, and is the first player to twice win the honor in consecutive seasons. No other player has won an MVP award more than three times, and only 10 others have won it in consecutive seasons.
In other sports, only the NHL's Wayne Gretzky (nine), and NBA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Bill Russell and Michael Jordan (five each) have won as many or more MVP awards as Bonds has.
"I wish mine could be respected as much as theirs, but unfortunately they haven't," Bonds said.
Last year, Bonds received 30 of 32 first-place votes, with two Chicago writers casting their ballots for Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa. Bonds finished second to Atlanta's Terry Pendleton in 1991 and to teammate Jeff Kent in 2000.
Bonds became the 14th unanimous winner, and just the fifth in the NL, joining Orlando Cepeda (1967), Mike Schmidt (1980), Jeff Bagwell (1994) and Ken Caminiti (1996).
Bonds hit 46 homers, down from a record 73 the previous year, and had a team-high 110 RBIs as San Francisco won its first NL pennant since 1989 and he made it the World Series for the first time. But Bonds and the Giants lost to Anaheim in seven games after being just six outs from the title in Game 6.
Voting for MVP was conducted before the postseason, when Bonds hit .356 with eight homers, 16 RBIs and 27 walks.
"It may sound strange, but I really enjoyed being in the World Series," Bonds said. "Once I got past the tomahawk chop of the Atlanta Braves that haunted me for 10 years, it allowed me to get a weight off my chest. It allowed me to relax and play to a level -- I felt I did pretty good in the playoffs and World Series. I think if it ever happens again, we'd win."
Bonds said this will be his last time playing in Japan. He homered twice Saturday against the Yomiuri Giants, struck out three times Sunday against Japanese stars, then hit a two-run homer in Monday's 8-2 loss.
He gets a $500,000 bonus added to his $13 million salary. Pujols, who hit .314 with 34 homers and 127 RBIs, didn't have a bonus clause. Berkman gets $25,000 for finishing third, and Los Angeles outfielder Shawn Green gets $50,000 for finishing fifth.
Bonds is going to take a month off, then start preparing for next season. He has shot up to fourth on the career homer list with 613, trailing only his godfather, Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).
"Eventually, I have to go backwards," Bonds said, not ready to say that time has come.
"I really take pride in staying consistent throughout my
career," he said. "If I do something, I must do it again."