Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve capped a storybook season by being named the American League’s Most Valuable Player for 2017.
"I want to cry," said Altuve, who immediately thanked his teammates and family for his success ... and then tipped his hat to fans and American League rivals -- in both Spanish and English.
He far outpaced New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, whose 52 home runs were an all-time record for a debut season and had already earned him Rookie of the Year honors. Judge led the league in homers, runs and walks.
Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez was third.
In the National League, the MVP was Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who led all of baseball with 59 home runs and 132 RBI this season. He outdistanced Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Altuve was the league’s batting champion (.346) -- his third title in four years -- and led the league in hits (204) for the fourth straight season.
The diminutive giant of the Astros’ potent offense – he stands 5-feet-6 – was bidding to become only the second Astro to be named MVP, following Jeff Bagwell in 1994.
Altuve slugged 24 homers, had 81 RBI and stole 32 bases this season as well as hitting 39 doubles and scoring 112 runs. He also was awarded the Silver Slugger Award for AL second basemen.
The five-time All-Star finished third in the MVP voting in 2016, 10th in 2015 and 13th in 2014.
WORLD CHAMPS SAY THEY'RE PROUD
The Astros' front office, in touting the honor, notes that Altuve:
--Is the only player in Major League history to be the outright leader in hits in his league in four consecutive seasons.
--Is only the 11th player in MLB history to record at least 200 hits in four straight years.
--Led the majors in Wins Above Replacement, or WAR (8.4), while ranking among the top 10 American League players in runs (tied for second, 112), on-base percentage (third, .410), stolen bases (third, 32), on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, or or OPS (third, .957), total bases (fifth, 323), slugging percentage (sixth, .547) and doubles (tied for ninth, 39).
"Altuve’s season was one of the best in franchise history, as he earned his fifth All-Star selection and his third consecutive start," the team notes. "Since the regular season concluded, Altuve has been named the Sporting News Player of the Year, the Baseball America MLB Player of the Year, the 2017 AL Hank Aaron Award winner and the winner of two MLBPA Players Choice Awards for the Major League Player of the Year and the AL Most Outstanding Player. He also took home his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger award."
Altuve is one of just five American League second basemen to win the award, joining Dustin Pedroia (2008), Nellie Fox (1959), Joe Gordon (1942) and Charlie Gehringer (1937).