Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Texas Ranger and former Tampa Bay Rays prospect Josh Hamilton wins AL MVP award

Josh Hamilton led the majors with a .369 average and added 32 homers and 100 RBIs as the Rangers won the AL West.

Associated Press

Josh Hamilton led the majors with a .369 average and added 32 homers and 100 RBIs as the Rangers won the AL West.

Even on the good days such as Tuesday, Josh Hamilton will still think about the very bad ones. About the horrid depths he reached after falling from the pedestal as the then-Devil Rays' prized prospect, how drug use and repeated abuse imperiled his career and even his life, how close he came to never making it back on the baseball field at all.

But he found his faith and, with the Rays' help, his way, then eventually he refound the course that had been plotted and the person he was supposed to be: Playing in the big leagues, being an All-Star, leading his team to the World Series.

And Tuesday, winning an American League Most Valuable Player award.

"I would say there's a 99 percent chance that this would never happen. I mean, honestly, I think a lot of people would agree with that," Hamilton said on a conference call. "But it was a 100 percent chance this would never happen if I tried to do it on my own. And I think that's the most important thing I want to get across, is that I couldn't do it on my own. God made it all possible."

Hamilton's performance on the field — a major-league-best .369 average, 32 homers and 100 RBIs — turned the vote into not much of a race as he overcame the one negative of missing most of the final month due to injury.

Hamilton received 22 of 28 first-place votes, finishing comfortably ahead of Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who received five, and New York's Robinson Cano. Toronto's Jose Bautista got the other first-place vote and finished fourth.

The Rays had three players in the top 12: third baseman Evan Longoria sixth (the highest finish by a Ray; Ben Zobrist was eighth in 2009); free agent outfielder Carl Crawford seventh (including a second-place vote, highest for any Ray, from Jim Ingraham of the Cleveland-area Times Herald); and free agent closer Rafael Soriano 12th (highest of any pitcher on the ballot).

Hamilton was expected to be a star for the Rays when they made him the first overall pick of the 1999 draft (with Crawford going in the second round). Early he was slowed by a series of injuries, then sidelined nearly four full years primarily due to drug-related suspensions.

The Rays got him back on the field briefly in June 2006 but made a mistake in losing him via the Rule 5 draft to the Reds, who made their own by trading him a season later to the Rangers, for whom Hamilton has since starred.

Hamilton said he holds on to the past not only to remind himself of where he came from but to maintain his priority on his faith.

"I think I'd lose sight of things if I didn't reflect," he said. " 'I' might start sneaking in there, a little ego might start sneaking in there, and that's one thing I don't want to happen. So I do reflect and think about where I was at my lowest time and how God brought me through that and sustained me since I started depending on him."

When Hamilton was asked during the season about winning the MVP, he said he'd trade it for the chance to get to the playoffs and win. Having gotten to do both — ousting the Rays and the Yankees (winning ALCS MVP honors) in leading the Rangers to their first World Series — then Tuesday getting what he called "an absolutely great honor" turned out pretty well.

"It's just awesome to think about where I am at this moment," he said, "and where I was."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

MVP voting

Player 1st 2nd 3rd Total

Hamilton, TEX 22 4 2 358

Cabrera, DET 5 11 10 262

Cano, NYY 0 12 12 229

Bautista, TOR 1 0 4 165

Konerko, CWS 0 0 0 130

Longoria, TB 0 0 0 100

Crawford, TB 0 1 0 98

Mauer, MIN 0 0 0 97

Beltre, BOS 0 0 0 83

Young, MIN 0 0 0 44

Guerrero, TEX 0 0 0 22

Soriano, TB 0 0 0 21

Sabathia, NYY 0 0 0 13

Choo, CLE 0 0 0 9

Rodriguez, NYY 0 0 0 8

Hernandez, SEA 0 0 0 6

Suzuki, SEA 0 0 0 3

Thome, MIN 0 0 0 2

Soria, KC 0 0 0 1

Teixeira, NYY0 0 0 1

Topkin's ballot

1. Josh Hamilton, Rangers

2. Robinson Cano, Yankees

3. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

4. Carl Crawford, Rays

5. Paul Konerko, White Sox

6. Joe Mauer, Twins

7. Jose Bautista, Jays

8. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox

9. Vlad Guerrero, Rangers

10. Rafael Soriano, Rays

Texas Ranger and former Tampa Bay Rays prospect Josh Hamilton wins AL MVP award 11/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 8:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan


    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst


    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said


    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  5. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.


    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]