Jason Bay succeeded where Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, and Barry Bonds failed: He became the first Pittsburgh Pirate to win the NL Rookie of the Year award.
The outfielder, also the first Canadian to win the rookie award, got 25 of 32 first-place votes and 146 points yesterday from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby was just a vote shy of being a unanimous pick for AL honor.
Clemente wasn't listed on a single ballot in 1955, when each voter selected just one name and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Bill Virdon won. Stargell didn't get any votes when Pete Rose won in 1963, and Bonds was sixth with four points in 1986, finishing behind Todd Worrell, Robby Thompson, Kevin Mitchell, Charlie Kerfeld, and Will Clark.
Ralph Kiner's big rookie season for the Pirates came in 1946, one year before the rookie award began.
"It means the world to me," Bay said. "You walk into the locker room and you see all those jerseys hanging up, it's kind of amazing it never happened."
San Diego shortstop Khalil Greene was far back in second place with seven first-place votes, 24 seconds, and one third for 108 points, and Padres reliever Akinori Otsuka was next with 23 points.
Bay hit .282 with 26 homers and 82 RBIs. The 26-year-old from Trail, British Columbia, had the most homers by an NL rookie since Albert Pujols hit 37 three years ago. Bay started the season on the disabled list while recovering from surgery on his right shoulder and didn't play his first major league game of the season until May 7.
Crosby received 27 of 28 first-place votes for 138 points. Chicago White Sox closer Shingo Takatsu received the other first-place vote, from Newsday's Jim Baumbach, and finished second with 44 points, followed by Baltimore pitcher Daniel Cabrera with 29 points.
Crosby, 24, took over Oakland's shortstop job from 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada, who signed with Baltimore. Crosby hit .239 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs, his average the lowest for a non-pitcher given the award.
On the waterfront?
Mayor Anthony A. Williams predicted he has enough votes in the District of Columbia Council to approve financing for a ballpark for the Expos in the location agreed to in the team's contract to relocate to the capital. The Council plans to vote today, and seven votes are needed for approval. Council Chair Linda Cropp, saying the site south of the Capitol along the Anacostia River waterfront would be too costly, proposed an alternative plan Friday to construct a stadium next to RFK Stadium. The Expos' contract with Washington calls for financing to be enacted by Dec. 31 and does not allow a change in site without the team's approval . . . Meanwhile, the city of Anaheim will resist any attempt by the Angels to change their name to the Los Angeles Angels. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times quoted an unidentified high-ranking baseball official as saying baseball commissioner Bud Selig has given permission to Angels owner Arte Moreno to rename the team. "We're pretty fired up. We want the Angels to understand this is very important to us," Anaheim city manager Dave Morgan said.
The San Diego Padres traded one of their extra outfielders, Terrence Long, to Kansas City for lefthander Darrell May and righthander Ryan Bukvich. The Royals also obtained righthander Dennis Tankersley. May will give the Padres a starter who has averaged closed to 200 innings the last two seasons, while Bukvich gives the Padres a power arm out of the bullpen. Long batted .295 with three home runs and 28 RBIs. Tankersley went 0-5 with a 5.14 ERA in nine games, including six starts, last season . . . The Expos released Rocky Biddle, the team's closer in 2003 when he had a career-high 34 saves. Biddle lost the role to Chad Cordero in June . . . Former Red Sox outfielder Curtis Pride agreed to a minor league contract with the Angels and was assigned to Triple A Salt Lake.