Didn't see this anywhere...we'll find out later.
SAY IT AIN'T CO
JETER MIGHT TIE MORNEAU FOR AL MVP
By GEORGE KING
FIT TO BE TIED? Rumor has it that Derek Jeter and Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will be named co-MVPs when the AL award is announced this morning.November 21, 2006 -- How close was the AL MVP voting that will be announced today? Throughout baseball yesterday an unsubstantiated rumor buzzed the landscape that Derek Jeter and Twins first baseman Justin Morneau had tied for the award.
However, nobody from MLB or the Baseball Writers Association of America confirmed the rumor.
"I am not allowed to say anything," said BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell, the man who counts the votes and will inform the winner this morning.
The rumor gained steam when the Phillies' Ryan Howard won the NL MVP yesterday, because before the various awards were announced last week, somebody in MLB was shown a list of BBWAA award winners. After Howard won, that list was 7-for-7 and had Jeter and Morneau sharing today's award.
However, that list was compiled before the MVP ballots were counted.
Either way, today's result is expected to be the closest in years. Last year, Alex Rodriguez edged Boston's David Ortiz by a scant 24 points (331 to 307).
According to agent Casey Close, Jeter, fresh off a L.A. vacation, wasn't talking about the MVP yesterday. Nor was George Steinbrenner, the man who appointed Jeter as the Yankee captain. According to PR guru Howard Rubenstein, The Boss will have something to say today if Jeter wins or loses. And presumably if he shares the award.
If Jeter and Morneau tie for the MVP, it will be the second time in baseball history. The other time was 1979 when St. Louis' Keith Hernandez and Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell were co-MVPs in the National League.
Jeter and Morneau are two of five serious candidates for the award that a Yankee has won a record 19 times. The others are Ortiz, the Red Sox DH who led the AL in homers (54) and RBIs (137), catcher Joe Mauer, Morneau's teammate who was the AL batting title winner (.347), and White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, who batted .315 with 44 homers and 120 RBIs.
Hurting Ortiz and Dye in some eyes is the Red Sox and White Sox didn't get into the playoffs. Ballots were required to be in before the playoffs started so Jeter, Morneau and Mauer don't get hurt for their teams exiting after one round. And Ortiz gets penalized for being a full-time DH.
It's a good thing for the Yankees captain that the Jeter-Morneau debate isn't settled by a home-run hitting contest. The Twins' first baseman slugged 34 homers compared to Jeter's 14. Morneau drove in 130 runs compared to Jeter's 97. However, Jeter hits second and 388 of Morneau's 592 at-bats were as a No. 5 hitter.
Jeter has the advantage of winning his third Gold Glove and batting .343, which was second to Mauer.
The intangible where Jeter is concerned is he has to be watched every day to be fully appreciated. And only two of the 28 voters do that since two writers from each city get a vote. Winning even half of the award would fill one of the few voids in Jeter's resume. Jeter has four World Series rings, was the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year, won the 2000 All Star MVP as well as the World Series MVP in that season (the only time that daily double has been hit) and has three Gold Gloves.
Jeter never has won a batting title or led the league in homers and RBIs but has led the league in runs once (1998) and his 118 this year were second to Cleveland's Grady Sizemore