Dustin Pedroia ran away with the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday.
Pedroia, the little Boston second baseman with the big swing, easily topped Tampa Bay outfielder Delmon Young. Generously listed at 5-foot-9, and playing with a broken left hand down the stretch, he helped lead the Red Sox to the World Series title.
"Everyone doubted me at every level I've been to, you know, saying I'm too small, I'm not fast enough, my arm's not strong enough,'' Pedroia said. "There's a lot of people that have stuck by me and, you know, knew deep down in that there's something about me that makes me a winning baseball player.''
Pedroia got 24 of the 28 first-place votes and finished with 132 points. Young was next with three first-place votes and 56 points and Kansas City pitcher Brian Bannister received the other first-place vote.
Pedroia hit .317 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs. In early September, a test revealed he had a cracked bone in his left hand. He kept playing through the pain, and had surgery last week.
"I don't really know when it happened,'' he said on a conference call from his home in Chandler, Ariz. For now, Pedroia will have to hold his award with his right hand _ his left hand is in a soft cast.
Pedroia had already made his mark when voting was completed at the end of the regular season.
In October, Pedroia excelled. He sparked Boston's comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the AL championship series, homering and driving in five runs to beat Cleveland in Game 7. Pedroia then led off the World Series opener with a home run, sending the Red Sox toward their sweep of the Rockies.
A month into the season, Pedroia was hitting just .172 with no home runs and only two RBIs. His slump was so severe that some Red Sox fans were calling for Alex Cora to take over the starting spot.
"The first month was definitely tough on me,'' he said. "I don't think a player is made over one month.''
Encouraged by Cora and future World Series MVP Mike Lowell to stick with it, the 24-year-old Pedroia perked up in May and his all-out style made him a fan favorite at Fenway Park. His diving stop on a grounder by Miguel Tejada helped preserve Clay Buchholz's no-hitter in September.
Pedroia became the sixth Red Sox player to win the AL award and first since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.
Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka finished fourth in the AL voting, followed by Angels outfielder Reggie Willits and Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima.
The AL Cy Young Award will be announced Tuesday. Boston's Josh Beckett and Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia are co-favorites.
This program aired on November 12, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.