Crosby, Bay receive top rookie awards

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Athletics shortstop Bobby Crosby fell one vote short of a unanimous selection.

By Ronald Blum ~ The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Oakland Athletics shortstop Bobby Crosby was just a vote shy of being a unanimous pick for AL Rookie of the Year, and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jason Bay easily won the NL award Monday.

Crosby received 27 of 28 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America for 138 points. Chicago White Sox closer Shingo Takatsu received the other first-place vote and finished second with 44 points, followed by Baltimore pitcher Daniel Cabrera with 29 points.

Crosby, the son of former major league infielder Ed Crosby, said it was nerve-racking waiting for the announcement and that being a unanimous pick "would have been nice."

"I think it's sweet either way," he said.

Bay, the first Pittsburgh player and first native Canadian to win the NL award, got 25 of 32 first-place votes and 146 points. San Diego shortstop Khalil Greene received seven first-place votes, 24 seconds and one third for 108 points, and Padres reliever Akinori Otsuka was next with 23 points.

Pittsburgh had been the only pre-expansion team without a rookie of the year, with four players finishing second: first baseman Donn Clendenon (1962), second baseman Johnny Ray (1982), pitcher Mike Dunne (1987) and outfielder-first baseman Orlando Merced (1991).

Bay, traded by Montreal in 2001, the New York Mets in 2002 and San Diego in 2003, was surprised that the Pirates, whose rookies have included Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Barry Bonds, never had a winner.

"It means the world to me," he said. "You walk into the locker room and you see all those jerseys hanging up, it's kind of amazing it never happened."

Bay got married in Seattle on Saturday to his college girlfriend, Kristen. He was trying to sleep late Monday when he got the call.

"November 2004, especially in a two-day span, is something I'll never forget," he said.

Crosby, 24, took over Oakland's shortstop job from 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada, who signed with Baltimore. Crosby hit .239 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs, his average the lowest for a non-pitcher given the award.

"Filling in for Miggy, he had big shoes to fill," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "We told him to just catch the ball. He did just outstanding at that."

Crosby led AL rookies in hits (130), doubles (34) and walks (58), and was third among all AL players with 4.17 pitches per plate appearance. However, his 141 strikeouts were the most for Oakland since Jose Canseco's 152 in 1991 and he had a streaky season that included a 1-for-23 slide.

"I had so many ups and downs this year," he said. "Next year I think is going to be a bit more of a relief."

Crosby became the sixth A's player to earn the honor, following Harry Byrd (1952), Canseco (1986), Mark McGwire (1987), Walt Weiss (1988) and Ben Grieve (1998).

Bay hit .282 with 26 homers and 82 RBIs. The 26-year-old from Trail, British Columbia, had the most homers by an NL rookie since Albert Pujols hit 37 three years ago. Bay started the season on the disabled list while recovering from surgery on his right shoulder and didn't play his first major league game of the season until May 7.

His sister, Lauren Bay, was a pitcher for Canada's Olympic softball team, making it two star athletes for a town with a population of about 10,000. He's kidded her about how he'd fare against her.

"If I faced her four times, I might hit her twice," he remembered telling her. "She kind of spouted back that that was generous."

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