Stars of the game honored with GIBBY Awards
Miggy takes home two; champion Giants lead all teams with four winners
By Lyle Spencer / 12/04/12 3:00 PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The people, inside and outside Major League Baseball's corridors, have spoken in MLB.com's 11th annual Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, aka the GIBBYs.
In a season marked by remarkable breakthrough performances and performers, the Triple Crown ultimately rules.
The MLB MVP in 2012 GIBBY Awards voting is Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. His landmark offensive season, leading the American League in batting average, homers and RBIs, lifted the Venezuelan to the top of a worthy field of candidates. Cabrera is the first Triple Crown king since Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox in 1967.
Cabrera, named the AL Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, outpolled Angels rookie sensation Mike Trout and BBWAA National League MVP Buster Posey.
"Miguel Cabrera had a historic year," said voter and former Angels star Tim Salmon. "In the annals of baseball, you're talking about the Triple Crown -- it just doesn't happen often. All the sabermetrics aside, I still think it's a very powerful statement of the kind of season he had. ... He was by far the best complete hitter in the game, and it was great for the game of baseball to see a player like that have a season he had."
MLB's A-listers took home GIBBYs trophies, the ultimate honor of baseball's awards season, on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. The selections were based on voting by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
GIBBYs categories include players from both leagues and performances not only from the regular season but also through the end of the playoffs, making them unique in singling out the best of the best.
The Mets' R.A. Dickey claimed the Starting Pitcher of the Year honor, outdueling BBWAA AL Cy Young Award winner David Price of the Rays. Trout, liberally praised by Cabrera when he accepted the AL MVP trophy, is the runaway Rookie of the Year.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is the Defensive Player of the Year. The Closer of the Year is the Rays' Fernando Rodney. Sergio Romo, who finished the season as the Giants' closer, was the choice as Setup Man of the Year after spending most of the season in that role.
Posey, rebounding brilliantly from a broken ankle in 2011, is the Comeback Player of the Year. His AL West rival, Chase Headley, is Breakout Hitter of the Year after driving in 115 runs for the Padres.
Pablo Sandoval, Posey's colorful teammate, powered his way to Postseason MVP, highlighted by his three-homer performance in Game 1 of the World Series against the Tigers in San Francisco.
The Orioles' Buck Showalter was selected Manager of the Year. Billy Beane is the Executive of the Year for a series of shrewd moves in lifting the Athletics to a stunning AL West title at the expense of the two-time defending league champion Rangers.
In the specialty Must C categories, Trout vaulted to Play of the Year with his spectacular catch scaling the center field wall in Baltimore on June 27 to rob J.J. Hardy of a home run.
"He had an amazing year, made an amazing catch against Baltimore that put him on the map for everybody," Salmon said. "He was getting enough attention, but that play really vaulted him into the major media markets' limelight. That's always tough to do on the West Coast. That was the play that really put him in the forefront of everybody's minds."
The Storyline of the Year drew co-winners in the shadow of the nation's capital -- Baltimore for "Bucking the trend" and Washington for "Postseason baseball returns to DC."
Josh Hamilton's four-homer effort for the Rangers against the Orioles on May 8 carried him to Hitting Performance of the Year. The Giants' Matt Cain delivered the Pitching Performance of the Year with his June 13 perfect game -- the 22nd in history -- against the Astros. The Mariners' Felix Hernandez, who also unleashed a perfect game against the Rays, fell short of Cain in the voting, 38.7 percent to 34.8.
Mike Morse of the Nationals took the Oddity of the Year for his pantomime home run against the Cardinals on Sept. 29 in St. Louis. The Walk-off of the Year belonged to the Braves' Chipper Jones, whose final big league homer beat the Phillies on Sept. 2.
In a crowded field, the MLB.com Cut4 Topic of the Year went to the Nationals' Bryce Harper for his memorable response to a reporter's inquiry in Toronto: "That's a clown question, bro."
Raul Ibanez's dramatic tying home run in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series against the Tigers in New York prevailed as the No. 1 Postseason Moment.
Cabrera's MLB MVP mandate was impressive. He took 42.2 percent of the votes. Trout (29.7) was the runner-up, followed by Posey (16.1), the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen (7.9) and the Brewers' Ryan Braun (4.1).
"I don't know the next time we're going to see somebody have a year like that," Nationals broadcaster Charlie Slowes said of Cabrera. "Triple Crowns truly need to be honored. That's a tremendous accomplishment. He hit for average, he led in home runs and RBIs. You're a complete hitter. And he did that while agreeing to go switch positions and play third, which he hadn't done in a few years."
Slowes said he believed that 2012 was such a great year in baseball, "you could have picked almost anyone in any category to win."
With 20.3 percent of the vote, Dickey -- the BBWAA NL Cy Young Award winner -- edged Price, who took 17.5 percent. The Tigers' Justin Verlander was third with 16.7 percent.
While the Rookie of the Year was a slam dunk for Trout, with 92.4 percent compared to Harper's 4.2 percent, the Defensive Player of the Year voting was close. Molina (17.3 percent) was rewarded for his ongoing brilliance, edging the Cubs' Darwin Barney (15.6), Trout (15.1), the Mariners' Brendan Ryan (14 percent) and the Braves' Michael Bourn (10.1).
Showalter, edged by Oakland's Bob Melvin in the BBWAA Manager of the Year Award balloting, was the GIBBYs' selection with 21.2 percent of the vote to 19.6 by Melvin. World Series champion for the second time in three years, the Giants' Bruce Bochy was third at 18.1 percent, followed by Davey Johnson of the Nationals (15.3) and the Reds' Dusty Baker (6.6).
While Beane earned 27.6 percent of the votes for Executive of the Year, the man across the bay in San Francisco, Brian Sabean, was on his heels with 21.9 percent. Baltimore's Dan Duquette was third at 13.9 percent.
The excitement generated by the Orioles and Nationals was underscored when each club was named on 21.1 percent of the ballots in Storyline of the Season. Cabrera's Triple Crown was third (16.3), with Dickey's emergence (10.9) and the Athletics' ascent (10.4) also drawing strong support.
The champion Giants, fittingly, led the Majors with their four awards going to Posey, Romo, Sandoval and Cain.