Carlos Beltran of the Kansas City Royals was a near unanimous choice today as American League Rookie of the Year following a season in which he was the first rookie in 24 years with 100 RBIs and 100 runs.
The 22-year-old switch-hitting outfielder received 26 of 28 first-place votes. He also received one second-place vote and was bypassed on one ballot. He earned 133 points from a panel of the Baseball Writers' Association of American.
Seattle pitcher Freddy An. Garcia, 17-8 with a 4.07 ERA, was second with one first, 12 seconds and four thirds for 45 points, followed by Texas reliever Jeff Zimmerman with 27 points. Boston infielder Brian Daubach, who got the other first-place vote, was fourth with 16 points.
Royals manager Tony Muser said Beltran is so focused on playing that he didn't think about awards.
"I'm sure Carlos, in his mentality, doesn't even understand the impact," Muser said.
Beltran, who got married Saturday and found out about the award today while on a Caribbean cruise, was the first rookie with 100 runs and 100 RBIs since Boston's Fred Lynn in 1975 and only the eighth overall, a group that includes Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.
Beltran teamed with second baseman Carlos Febles to give the Royals what might have been the best rookie duo on one team since Lynn and Jim Rice in 1975.
"The scouts and the development people need to be given some credit," Muser said. "It was their tutoring and their teaching and disciplining that got them so far so fast. I'm just going to try to continue what they've done, to keep them getting better and better and not getting complacent."
Muser thought he may have been rushing Beltran when he called him up from the minors in September 1998.
"I told him, `Yeah, I'm ready to play. I think I'm ready,"' Beltran said.
Muser pointed t Beltran's number of at-bats this season.
"He's had tons of opportunities to play poorly, and he has not," Muser said. "He's done it in all facets stealing bases, going first-to-third, improved his defense and has hit third in the lineup."
Cincinnati pitcher Scott Williamson was voted NL Rookie of the Year on Monday.
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