February 20, 2007

2006 Awards Recap

With Spring Training finally here, so is the 2007 season. And with the 2007 season here, it is time to finally put the 2006 season behind us. What better way would there be to put the 2006 season behind us than to recap maybe the best part, the awards.

2006 was possibly the best year the Minnesota Twins have ever had as far as awards go. They won some of the biggest awards and had many players win awards for the first time, and a few players win repeat awards. They also had a player and coach who came close to winning awards, but missed out. Here is a complete list of the Twins players who won awards in 2006.

Justin Morneau (MVP):
This past season, Morneau was the first Twins player to finally break the 30 HR barrier in more than ten years (Hunter did so as well, however he did after Morneau). Morneau ended his 2006 season with 34 homeruns, 130 RBI, and a .321 batting average. Although some people didn't think Morneau deserved the MVP award, he won it for the first time in his career. And as you can see in my post, I definitely thought he deserved it.

Johan Santana (Cy Young):
In 2006, Johan Santana had yet another amazing season. Santana ended his season with 19 wins, 245 strikeouts, and a 2.77 ERA which led him to win the Pitchers Triple Crown. Santana became the 1st Twins pitcher to ever win the Pitchers Triple Crown. The Cy-Young award was Santana's second of his career as he won it in 2003 as well. Another interesting note about the win is that Santana won both Cy-Young awards unanimously. This is what I had to say about the win.

Torii Hunter (Gold Glove):
In 2006, along with Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter broke the 30 HR barrier for the first time in more than 10 years. This however is not what got him this award. Hunter again displayed amazing defense in 2006, such as the video you see here. The award was Hunter's sixth straight gold glove win, this is my article on the win.

UPDATE: The link is not working, so if you want to see the catch, go to this page and click on "Hunter's running catch"

Joe Mauer (AL Batting Title):
In 2006, Joe Mauer was able to make history. He was able to do something that no other American League catcher has ever done in the history of Major League Baseball. He was able to become the first American League catcher in history to win the major league batting title. He won the award by finishing the season with a .347 batting average.

Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (Silver Slugger):
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were also able to win the Silver Slugger awards presented to their position in 2006. As you may know, each year there is a total of nine Silver Slugger awards given to each position in each league. These are the other winners along with my take.

Terry Ryan (Executive of the Year):
Again in 2006, General Manager Terry Ryan was awarded with the General Manager's highest honor, the Executive of the Year. This win marked the second of Ryan's career. This is the complete story from MLB.com.

The Smaller Ones:
To see all of the Twins players who won Player of the Month and Player of the Week awards, just go to the links below. Also below are a links to the Sporting News awards and a link to the Minor League awards for the 2006 season.

Player of the Month Winners

Player of the Week Winners

Sporting News Winners

Minor League Awards

They Came Close:
In 2006, manager Ron Gardenhire came close to winning the Manager of the Year award. However with the great job that manager Jim Leyland did with the Tigers, it would have been very hard to win the award and in my opinion 2nd place was very good considering the odds.

Rookie Francisco Liriano also came close to winning the Rookie of the Year award and had he not gotten injured, probably would have. Instead, Justin Verlander won the award.

These are all of the awards that I could think of that Twins players won in 2006. I'm not including the team awards, but if you want to see who won those, you can read the story from the Twins website. I hope I didn't forget any, but if I somehow did, I hope you'll e-mail me and let me know.