[Chrystal O’Keefe shares a surname with a certain other OK who’s now departed SSS for other White Sox blog pastures, but is a unique and talented voice who burst onto the South Side writing scene with a fabulous open letter to her fellow fans for us at South Side Hit Pen earlier this season. Her piece on Rick Hahn and José Abreu’s Sporting News awards today mark her first stories for South Side Sox.]
Since this delayed and shortened MLB season started, I have tweeted, liked or retweeted anything #MVPito related every time José Abreu did anything great — so, nearly every single game.
Today, the Sporting News announced that it chose the White Sox first baseman as its Major League Baseball Player of the Year. I’ve been wrong before, but I can’t help but think this bodes well for his chances to win more accolades for this season, but especially the American League MVP Award.
Abreu joins Frank Thomas (1993) and Early Wynn (1959) as the only White Sox to be named MLB Player of the Year by Sporting News.
Abreu, 33, hit .317/.370/.617 with 15 doubles, 19 home runs, 60 RBIs, 148 total bases, 34 extra-base hits and 21 multi-hit efforts in 60 games this season, his seventh with the White Sox. He is looking to join Thomas (1993-94), Dick Allen (1972) and Nellie Fox (1959) as the only Sox to win American League MVP honors. The only Cuban natives to be named AL MVP are Minnesota’s Zoilo Versalles (1965) and Oakland’s José Canseco (1988).
Abreu became just the fourth player in major-league history to lead the AL in hits and RBIs, joining Jim Rice (1979), Carl Yastrzemski (1967) and Lou Gehrig (1931). He also is the first qualifying player to record as many RBIs as games played in a season since the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa (160) and Cleveland’s Juan González (140) in 2001. Abreu helped lead the White Sox to their first postseason appearance since 2008, hitting .286 with a double, home run and two RBIs in three games of the AL Wild Card Series at Oakland.
The unofficial team captain led the AL in hits, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases and extra-base hits, tied for the lead in multi-hit efforts and WAR and ranked second in home runs. He was the only player to rank in the Top 5 of the following AL categories: hits, RBIs, slugging percentage, extra-base hits, total bases, home runs, batting average (fourth) and OPS (fifth, .987). Abreu, who led the league in RBIs in 2019, became the first player to lead the AL in RBIs in consecutive seasons since Boston’s David Ortiz in 2005-06.
“I am honored to be recognized with this award, as this is very special to me, my family and the White Sox organization,” Abreu says. “I want to thank God and everybody who voted for me. This award really means a lot to me and is humbling because it comes from my fellow players. I never think about awards and my goal is always to do the best I can to help my teammates and the Chicago White Sox, and of course to make my mom and family proud. To get this recognition is a surprise and one that makes me feel very happy.”
Abreu previously was recognized by Sporting News as the Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 2014. The first baseman also has been named a finalist for the 2020 Hank Aaron Award, given to the outstanding offensive performer during the regular season in each league.
Anyone reading this knows Abreu is deserving of all the recognition he’s received thus far. It only took less than a month into this season for me to know he was destined for greatness, as he hit four home runs in four at-bats against the Cubs in August.
Fill this offseason with all the other hardware, because next season he’s coming for his ring.