Fielder is furious he's not AL MVP Two-time runner-up calls vote a joke

November 20, 1991|By Kent Baker

Cecil Fielder is furious.

After finishing second in the American League's Most Valuable Player balloting for the second straight year, Fielder last night blasted the voters who placed him behind Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken this time.

"The voters don't understand what's going on," Fielder told the Detroit media from his home in Texas. "I was told last year I didn't win because I wasn't on a winning team. Now, I've lost to somebody who played on a sixth-place team. I'm very upset. I don't get upset over many things, but I'm upset about this. It's a shame. It's a joke as far as I'm concerned."

Fielder's Tigers made a strong run at the East Division title until the final weeks of the season and finished in a second-place tie with the Boston Red Sox with an 84-78 record. The Orioles never were in the race.

"It's not easy to drive in 130 runs," Fielder said. "I don't know what those people [voters] are after, a [Roger] Maris type of season? I'm not ashamed, but there are a lot of people who should be."

Last November, Fielder finished second to Rickey Henderson of the West Division champion Oakland Athletics by an almost identical margin. Under the 14-9-8-7 point system, Henderson beat Fielder, 317-286, getting 14 first-place votes to Fielder's 10. This time, Ripken won by a 318-286 margin with 15 first-place votes to Fielder's nine.

Two baseball beat writers in each of the 14 league cities have a ballot.

Roberto Alomar of the East Division-winning Toronto Blue Jays was the only other player with more than one first-place vote. But he deferred to the front-runners. "I knew from August on that it should have been Ripken," he said. When informed that he was sixth overall, Alomar asked: "What am I doing in there with all those big guys?"

His teammate, Joe Carter, was thought to be a leading contender, but Carter finished fifth, garnering one first-place vote.

"I figured it would be Ripken-Fielder or Fielder-Ripken," said Carter. "I thought they'd be 1-2. It's tough on Cecil's part to be second twice in a row, but it's tough to deny Ripken's year, too. I would have been happy if they had named co-winners."

Fielder stressed that he bears no ill will toward Ripken and even saluted his accomplishments.

"I'm not mad at Rip," he said. "I can't say he didn't have an MVP type of season. He had an excellent year. I'm just upset at those who voted."

In the last two seasons, Fielder has hit 95 home runs and knocked in 265 runs for the Tigers after being signed as a free agent from the Japanese Central League. He was the sensation of baseball in 1990, hitting two homers on the final day to give him 51 and 132 RBI. But Detroit posted only a 79-83 record and finished a distant third.

"I could accept this if they told me that a player from a winning team had won," he said. "That's the way they told me it was last year. But this year, the voters have reversed themselves. If a player from a sixth-place team can beat out one from a contender, it's a new trick on me."

Ripken was the first player in the league to win from a sixth-place team and the first in either league from a team with more than 85 losses (the Orioles had 95).

The award surprised one of Ripken's teammates.

"I didn't think he [Ripken] would win it," said Randy Milligan, "just because of where we were in the standings, but he had an outstanding year. We didn't have a great year, but Cal had a great year. I'm excited for him. I also feel good about it because a lot of the time, I was hitting behind him."

Fielder said he will take a different approach if he is an MVP contender again in 1992, while dismissing any expectations.

"I'm done with it. I'll accept it [the award] in the future if I win, but it won't be the same. It's all a bunch of garbage as far as I'm concerned," he said. "The people who vote for the awards have screwed me up in the head.

"It's a shame the way things go down."

Cal Ripken's MVP years

Year..Avg. G..AB.. R.. H..2b 3b HR RBI BB SO SB CS E

1983 .318 162 663 121 211 47 2..27 102 58 97..0 4 25

1991 .323 162 650..99 210 46 5..34 114 53 45..6 1 11

AL MVP statistics

Statistical comparison of the past 15 AL MVPs:


Year, player,.. team.. .. .. AB.. .. R.. H.. HR.. RBI.. Avg.

1977, Carew,. Minnesota.. .. 616... 128..239 14.. 100... 388

1978, Rice,.. Boston.. .. .. 677... 121..213 46.. 139 ...315

1979, Baylor, California.. ..628... 120..186 36.. 139 ...296

Brett, Kansas City.. ..449.. ..87..175 24.. 118 ...390

1982, Yount, Milwaukee.. ... 635... 129..210 29.. 114 ...331

1983, C.Ripken, Baltimore... 663... 121..211 27.. 102 ...318

Mattingly, New York... 652... 107..211 35.. 145 ...324

1987, G.Bell, Toronto.. .. ..610... 111..188 47.. 134 ...308

1988, Canseco, Oakland.. ... 610... 120..187 42...124... 307

Yount, Milwaukee.. ... 614... 101..195 21...103....318

1990, RHendrsn, Oakland.. .. 489... 119..159 28... 61 ...325

1991, C.Ripken , Baltimore.. 650.. ..99..210 34.. 114....323


Year, player, team.. .. .. IP... W-L.. BB.. SO.. SV.... ERA

1981 Fingers, Milwaukee... 78 ...6-3.. 13.. 61.. 28.. 1.04

1984 Hernandez, Detroit..140.1.. 9-3.. 36..112.. 32.. 1.92

1986 Clemens, Boston.. .. 254...24-4.. 67..238... 0.. 2.48

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