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  • Caesar Cliffius

    My name is Cliff Eastham. I live in West Virginia with my wife Debbie, the loveliest lady in the world, and my youngest daughter, Holly who is equally as lovely as her mother.

    I enjoy writing about sports, and love a good healthy debate. My favorite teams are the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Redskins.

    There are only a couple of sports that I don't write about, Hockey and Soccer specifically. My favorite sports are Baseball, Boxing, NFL, NCAA Basketball, MMA.

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    It is decreed.....Caesar Cliffius
    this 8th day of December, in the Year of our Lord 2009.

Joe Mauer: Is the Twins’ Catcher’s Position the Main Reason He Won MVP?

In a showdown of American League’s “best,” it probably comes as a surprise to very few (living outside of New York) that Joe Mauer won the Most Valuable Player Award walking away. The only other first-place vote went to Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.

Catchers seem to have a bone tossed their way on a regular basis, don’t they?

What’s that? You disagree, you say?

We must look no further than last season (2008) when Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto won the National League Rookie of the Year Award (running away) from should-have-been winner Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

Doubt me if you must, but just check the numbers. Votto batted .297 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI. Soto’s numbers were similar but inferior: .285, 23 HR, 86 RBI. Surely you will show me more respect than to attempt to say those two RBI assured him passage on such a runaway train.

I don’t wish to digress from the purpose of this piece; I was just offering up a recent example of “behind the plate” preferences. I could go on, but then what is the point?

Am I attempting to diminish Mauer’s great year and his first MVP trophy, not to mention that incredible .365 average? No, not at all.

Should it have been one of the New York Yankees since they did win the World Series—say, perhaps, Mark Teixeira or Derek Jeter? Yes, I think Tex should have been the winner, and let me tell you why.

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Teixeira won two legs of the Triple Crown, tied with Carlos Pena for the league lead in homers with 39, and was the league leader in RBI with 122. The only remaining leg of the Crown was won in convincing fashion by Mauer with an incredible .365 batting average. Mauer did lead the league in OBP, slugging percentage, and OPS.

Both men are Gold Glove winners, but if there is another first basemen with the defensive skills of Tex, I wish someone would bring him to the forefront so we could lay hands on him. He also tied for the league lead in total bases with Cabrera, at 344.

Miguel Cabrera

The best “overall” year at the plate of anyone in the American League was crafted by Cabrera. It is still hard for me to believe he is only 26 years old. Let us get out our pencils and compare apples to apples—that is to say Cabrera and Mauer. Cabrera’s vital signs were .324 with 34 homers and 103 RBI. The Tigers first baseman had more runs (96-94), hits (198-191), doubles (34-30), home runs (34-28), RBI (103-96), and total bases (344-307) than Mauer.

As is the case nearly every year, there are disputes in many of the categories voted on by those slick-talking sages (baseball writers) who are oozing with acumen.

Condensing a long story into a “Reader’s Digest” format, do I think Joe Mauer is undeserving of the award? No, of course not; I just think Mark Teixeira is a tad more deserving.

What’s your story?


Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report, where this article was first published.

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