Near Perfection

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Near Perfection

Mauer earned 27 of 28 first-place votes by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees finished second and third, respectively, and Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera earned the other first-place vote and finished fourth. Minnesota Twins catcher  Joe Mauer was named the American League’s 2009 Most Valuable Player today, becoming the fifth league MVP in team history.

The fourth, 2006 winner and former roommate Justin Morneau, brought him something to celebrate.

“Right now we’re at the Metrodome,” Mauer said in a conference call this afternoon. “He came up with a bottle of champagne. Hopefully, we can pop that open later.”

According to the Associated Press, Cabrera’s first-place vote came from Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News, a Seattle chapter member.

Mauer said he was humbled by what called “a tremendous honor” — but, frankly, added that he would much rather have been doing a press conference to talk about winning a World Series.

“Over the years,” he said, “we’ve proved we can get to the postseason.”

But the Twins keep falling short, this year being eliminated in the first round by the New York Yankees. Mauer is about to enter the final year of his contract with the Twins, but the St. Paul native declined to speculate about a new deal being worked out this offseason.

” I think this will happen when it needs to happen,” Mauer said.

Mauer, 26, was the best player on a team that won its fifth Central Division title in eight seasons. He won his third AL batting title with a .365 average, setting a major league record for batting average by a catcher, and set career highs in homers (28) and runs batted in (96) despite missing the first month of the season because of a back injury.

Besides Mauer and Morneau, other Twins to win the award were Rod Carew (1977), Harmon Killebrew (1969) and Zoilo Versalles (1965).

In addition to leading the AL in batting average, he was tops in on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.587), becoming the first player in the American League since George Brett in 1980 to lead in all three categories.

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