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Continued: Morneau named AL MVP

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 31, 2013 - 2:49 PM

Santana received the only other first-place vote.

"I want to congratulate Justin Morneau on this well-deserved honor," Jeter said in a statement. "He is a special player, and I suspect this won't be the last time you will hear his name mentioned when awards are being passed out."

Jeter, the Yankees shortstop who has never won MVP honors, hit .343 with 14 home runs and 97 RBI this year, winning his third consecutive Gold Glove Award. Mauer hit .347, edging Jeter for the batting title.

After the announcement, Morneau received a congratulatory call from 1997 National League MVP Larry Walker, the only other Canadian to win the award.

"He said he was more excited than I was," Morneau said. "But I kind of doubt that."

Morneau's achievement capped a season that saw him erase many of the doubts that surfaced in 2005.

That year, he hit .239 with 22 home runs and 79 RBI, as the Twins missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Hunter was so disappointed with Morneau's attitude, he threw a punch at him toward the end of that frustrating season.

"Last year, I lost a lot of my confidence," Morneau said. "I started beating myself up."

Morneau still hadn't found his stride on June 7, when manager Ron Gardenhire pulled him into the office for a meeting in Seattle. Morneau said Gardenhire basically gave him "a wake-up call," telling him to clear his off-field distractions and focus on baseball.

"It wasn't so much a warning," Morneau said. "They kind of opened my eyes: 'You can be a great player. You can be one of the best players in this league. We believe in you.' "

On Tuesday, the Twins were rewarded for that belief.

 

 

Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune.com

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