After taking an eraser last season to the record-book entries of the venerated Babe Ruth (slugging percentage and walks) and Mark McGwire (home runs), Barry Bonds is wiping out the marks set by other baseball divinities, such as Ted Williams (on-base percentage) and Willie McCovey (intentional walks), as well as one he set himself (walks). With Bonds, nothing is sacred.
After another historic season for a pennant contender, Bonds will win his fifth National League MVP, breaking another record already in his possession. This time, however, in the 13th consecutive season in which he will be named on MVP ballots, Bonds might win unanimously. He deserves to be the 15th such player since the annual balloting of baseball writers began in 1931.
"There's nobody close to Barry," Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Brian Jordan says. "He's going to walk 200 times and still end up with around 50 homers, 100 runs and 100 RBIs. That's just unbelievable."
Bonds is the most feared hitter who ever lived, with teams going to unprecedented lengths to avoid pitching to him. No one in the league is within 137 points of his record on-base percentage (.581) or 187 points of his slugging percentage (.796). He is peerless, and the voting should reflect it.
AL Rookie of the Year
1 ERIC HINSKE, 3B, BLUE JAYS
2 RODRIGO LOPEZ, P, ORIOLES
3 JORGE JULIO, P, ORIOLES
Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi traded for Hinske twice within nine months last year, once in March while an assistant to Oakland G.M. Billy Beane—taking him sight unseen from the Chicago Cubs because he liked Hinske's minor league numbers—and again in December, three weeks after he was named the Blue Jays' G.M. Hinske, 25, rewarded Ricciardi's faith with the best production by an AL rookie (.278, 23 HRs, 82 RBIs) while mostly hitting second in the batting order. "And his defense is so good," Ricciardi says, "he's going to win a Gold Glove someday."
NL Rookie of the Year
1 JASON JENNINGS, P, ROCKIES
2 BRAD WILKERSON, CF, EXPOS
3 RYAN JENSEN, P, GIANTS
Jennings (16-8, 4.62), didn't so much tame Coors Field this season as he survived it. The righthander with the slick sinker was tattooed by opposing hitters for a .320 batting average in Colorado but hung in to win nine games at Coors en route to the most victories by a rookie since the Reds' Tom Browning won 20 in 1985.