Holliday finishes second in MVP voting
Slugger positions himself to be a force for years to come
DENVER -- Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday insisted throughout this season that part of his success came from not analyzing it. His highest moment came when he couldn't analyze anything, even if he had wanted to.
On Oct. 1, Holliday dashed for the plate on Jamey Carroll's 13th-inning fly ball into short right field with a playoff spot at stake. Holliday slid headfirst, taking a ferocious blow to the head that knocked him woozy while the ball got away from Padres catcher Michael Barrett.
It'll forever be debated whether Holliday touched the plate, but, nonetheless, he was called safe and the Rockies won, 9-8. Had Holliday been able to think, maybe he would have attempted to scramble back to the plate, which might have affected umpire Tim McClellan, who delayed his call. But the Rockies won the National League Wild Card tiebreaker, and eventually advanced to their first World Series. So why analyze?
In the final analysis, however, Holliday proved in 2007 that he has the skill to do everything and the will to do anything to lift his team. However, Holliday fell short of winning the NL Most Valuable Player Award, finishing second behind Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, another player who willed his team to the playoffs. The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced its voting results on Tuesday.
Out of the 32 ballots, Holliday received 11 first-place votes, 16 second-place votes, one third-place vote, one-fourth place vote, and one sixth-place vote, for a total of 336 points, 17 points behind Rollins.
Holliday would have become the second Rockies player to earn the award, joining Larry Walker, who won in 1997.
Offensively, Holliday led the NL in batting with a .340 average, and RBIs with 137, as well as total bases (386), extra-base hits (92) and doubles (50). His 36 home runs ranked fourth in the circuit, and he finished third in slugging percentage (.607) and runs (120).
After some inconsistency early in the playoffs, Holliday finished with a .289 average in 11 postseason games. Only Kazuo Matsui's .304 was higher among the Rockies. Holliday led the club in postseason home runs with five, RBIs with 10 and total bases with 28, and was chosen NL Championship Series MVP for batting .333 with two homers and four RBIs.
He did it by locking out any distractions that may have come from trying to index his success or take account of how others saw it along the way. After hitting a home run in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Phillies, Holliday explained his philosophy.
"Just every day, go out there, play the game hard," he said. "Do the best you can and keep it simple. If you start thinking about too many things, you get your mind on too many things and you're not able to perform."
|2007 NL MVP Award Voting|
|Jimmy Rollins, PHI||16||7||4||4||1||353|
|Matt Holliday, COL||11||18||1||1||1||336|
|Prince Fielder, MIL||5||6||17||3||1||284|
|David Wright, NYM||1||4||12||7||1||1||2||182|
|Ryan Howard, PHI||2||6||3||3||3||2||3||112|
|Chipper Jones, ATL||1||3||3||7||5||1||1||107|
|Jake Peavy, SD||2||5||5||4||1||4||1||97|
|Chase Utley, PHI||1||5||2||6||4||1||3||89|
|Albert Pujols, STL||1||2||2||3||6||5||50|
|Hanley Ramirez, FLA||3||2||4||4||1||49|
|Eric Byrnes, ARI||1||3||4||7||43|
|Alfonso Soriano, CHC||1||1||2||2||1||1||2||39|
|Aramis Ramirez, CHC||2||2||1||2||2||36|
|Jose Valverde, ARI||1||2||1||1||19|
|Miguel Cabrera, FLA||1||2||3||18|
|Jose Reyes, NYM||1||2||1||1||16|
|Brandon Webb, ARI||1||1||2||4||15|
|Troy Tulowitzki, COL||1||1||2||13|
|Carlos Lee, HOU||1||1||2||7|
|Adrian Gonzalez, SD||1||1||6|
|Carlos Beltran, NYM||2||6|
|Brandon Phillips, CIN||1||3|
|Aaron Rowand, PHI||1||3|
|Brad Hawpe, COL||1||2|
|Ryan Braun, MIL||2||2|
|Carlos Marmol, CHC||1||1|
As was the case with the Rockies, who won 14 of their final 15 regular-season games, including the classic Wild Card tiebreaker with the Padres, to qualify for the playoffs, Holliday received little notice for his accomplishments until late in the season.
Even though 2007 marked his second consecutive appearance in the All-Star Game, it wasn't until his display of power moved him to the semifinals of the Home Run Derby that much of the national audience learned of him.
Holliday, however, became difficult to ignore in September, especially when he hit 11 home runs in 12 games from Sept. 9-20. Only the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez accomplished the same number of homers in the same span this season (April 7-20), and no NL player had done it since Braves catcher Javy Lopez, from May 22-June 11, 2003. Holliday continued to be a force in the playoffs as the Rockies swept their first two series to bring the overall streak to 21-of-22, until they were swept by the Red Sox in the World Series.
In his fourth season, Holliday has become the Rockies' marquee player. Even though the club won more games than in any season in its 14-year history and reached numerous other heights, they've been just about shut out of postseason honors.
Veteran first baseman Todd Helton and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki did not receive enough votes from opposing NL managers and coaches to win Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, despite the fact the Rockies set all-time records in fielding percentage and the pair were tops at their positions in baseball. Also, Tulowitzki lost out to Brewers third baseman Ryan Braun by two points in BBWAA voting for NL Rookie of the Year.
But Holliday was chosen by opposing managers and coaches for Louisville Slugger's Silver Slugger Award for the second straight season. However, despite his best defensive season, the left fielder was denied a Gold Glove.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.