2010 A.L. MVP: Josh Hamilton Voted The Best In American League

Despite missing most of September with an injury, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton may still have the strongest case, with stunning numbers across the board and a low salary to boot.

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2010 A.L. MVP: Josh Hamilton Wins Award, Capping One Of Baseball's Greatest Comebacks

Josh Hamilton, the author of one of baseball's most inspiring stories of the last decade, is officially our 2010 American League Most Valuable Player. The MVP voting results were announced at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and to everyone familiar with Hamilton's contributions to his Texas Rangers this year, the verdict was not surprising.

Hamilton, in his fourth year as a major leaguer, won the award despite only playing 133 games due to injury. He led the American League in batting average (.359), slugging (.633), and OPS (1.044), while placing second in on-base percentage (.411), and tying for fifth in home runs (32). He was the centerpiece of a vaunted Rangers lineup that helped bring the city of Arlington its first-ever American League pennant.

Hamilton's baseball career is well-described as a riches-to-rags-to-riches story. The Tampa Bay Rays, recognizing the 18-year-old Hamilton's potential, chose him with the first overall pick of the 1999 draft. However, he developed addictions to drugs and alcohol which grew so severe that they forced him out of baseball entirely for a period between 2004 and 2006.

Hamilton was claimed by the Chicago Cubs in the 2006 Rule 5 draft, then immediately sent to the Reds. His turnaround was immediate in Cincinnati; Hamilton, who had conquered his addictions, batted .292 with 19 home runs for the Reds in 2007. In 2008, he found yet another new home with th Rangers and drew MVP consideration with a league-leading 130 RBI. After an injury-plagued 2009, he returned to post career numbers with the Rangers.

Hamilton won the award with 22 first-place votes, four second-place votes, and two fourth-place votes. In second was Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, who earned five first-place votes. The Yankees' Robinson Cano placed third, and the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista, who led the major leagues in home runs, placed fourth.

For more on Josh Hamilton and the Rangers, check in with our Rangers blog, Lone Star Ball.

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