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With the end of 2008 upon us, the Sports of Boston staff has cast their ballots for the SoB Player of the Year. Defining SoB’s Player of the Year is simple: he/she must have made a tremendous impact on the success of their team and also must have had a tremendous individual season as well. According to the votes (five points for a first place vote, four for a second place vote, and so on…), Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia has been named the first SoB Player of the Year.
In adding to his large amount of hardware, Pedroia truly had a banner year for the Red Sox. After winning the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year and a World Series Championship with the Red Sox, Pedroia had an even better year in 2008, stepping up while regular sluggers (David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew) went down with injury and another (Manny Ramirez) was traded.
In 2008, the second baseman hit .326 (2nd in the AL) with 213 hits, 54 doubles (1st in the AL), 17 HRs, 83 RBIs, and a league-leading 118 runs scored. Pedroia threw in 20 stolen bases against one caught stealing despite the fact that he’s not very fast. He controlled the strike zone quite well with 50 walks and just 52 strikeouts, and finished with an impressive .992 fielding percentage with just six errors.
For his efforts, Pedroia won his first AL Gold Glove at Second Base, and also won his first AL MVP award. He was Boston’s first AL MVP since 1B Mo Vaughn in 1995.
SoB’s Pete, who voted for Pedroia as his No. 1 selection, offered his perspective:
In his first season, he won Rookie of the Year. For his encore, he won the AL MVP award. With injuries to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (not to mention the trading of Manny), someone had to step it up on offense. Pedroia’s numbers during the summer were God-like. He hit .356 in June, .350 in July, .374 in August, and finished off with .326 in September. He led the AL in hits (213) and set career highs in every category.
SoB’s Mike offered his reasons why KG should’ve won the award:
The acquisition of Kevin Garnett was THE reason for the Celtics title run. Garnett (and Ray Allen) took offensive pressure off Pierce, he made a huge difference defensively, and brought leadership.
To the last point, I credit KG with Kendrick Perkins’ improvement specifically and I believe it was in Europe that he was going to bring Pierce and Allen out to dinner, and instead decided to bring the whole team and rent a limo, etc. He brought the team together from that day forward.
Stay tuned Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning for the winner of SoB’s Game of the Year.