That Guide will certainly look different in 2007, however.
On Monday afternoon, The Baseball Writers Association of America completed the major individual award announcements for the National League in 2006 as they named the National League Most Valuable Player Award winner. Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard dethroned his Cardinals counterpart Albert Pujols in voting that was conducted prior to the postseason.
This comes on the heels of 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter finishing a disappointing third in the 2006 voting as announced last week. This year's winner was Arizona's Brandon Webb, with San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman also outpolling Carp.
Outfielder Chris Duncan not only did not place in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting, he did not receive a single first, second or third-place vote. The deserving winner was Florida's shortstop Hanley Ramirez, with Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Marlins' second sacker Dan Uggla finishing next.
Silver Slugger Awards are given each year to the best offensive performer at each position in each league as voted upon by league players and coaches. Surprisingly, the Cardinals were shut out this season.
However, only pitcher Jason Marquis was named in 2005, as Pujols was edged by Chicago's Derrek Lee. Jim Edmonds and Pujols were winners in 2004. In fact, prior to 2006, the Cardinals had winners in every season since 1999.
There were several individual winners this year, though. Both Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols received recognition as National League Gold Glove winners in 2006. For Pujols, it enabled him to take the one individual award that to-date had eluded him – recognition for fielding excellence.
Edmonds won the Award in 2005 and like with the Silver Sluggers, the Cardinals streak of wins began back in 2000. During this current seven-year run, the Redbirds players have brought home 18 Gold Gloves in total, led by Edmonds' six consecutive from 2000 through 2005.
Finally, as expected, former Florida manager Joe Girardi was tabbed as the 2006 NL Manager of the Year by the voting members of the BBWAA. Girardi finished ahead of the Mets' Willie Randolph.
Remembering the timing of the balloting and how the Cardinals stumbled into October, it is not surprising that Tony La Russa was not among the top vote-getters. But, like Duncan, the Cardinals' veteran skipper received nary a vote, for first, second or third.
Like Carpenter, Pujols and the others, La Russa has tasted plenty of individual success. To a man, I am sure not a single member of the 2006 Cardinals would ever trade what they accomplished together in October for one or more of these shiny individual awards.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing that 2007 Cardinals Media Guide cover featuring the World Championship trophy. Isn't that what it is all about, anyway?
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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