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Stars of the game honored with GIBBY Awards

Stars of the game honored with GIBBY Awards

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Stars of the game honored with GIBBY Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Putting the finishing touch to a remarkable 2012 Major League Baseball season, the people have spoken in MLB.com's 11th annual Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, aka the GIBBYs.

In the afterglow of a virtually unprecedented run of breakthrough performances and performers, the Triple Crown ultimately rules.

The MLB MVP in 2012 GIBBY Awards voting is Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. His landmark offensive season, leading the American League in batting average, homers and RBIs, lifted the Venezuelan to the top of a worthy field of candidates. Cabrera is the first Triple Crown king since Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox in 1967.

Cabrera, named the AL Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, outpolled Angels rookie sensation Mike Trout and BBWAA National League MVP Buster Posey.

"Miguel Cabrera had a historic year," said voter and former Angels star Tim Salmon. "In the annals of baseball, you're talking about the Triple Crown -- it just doesn't happen often. All the sabermetrics aside, I still think it's a very powerful statement of the kind of season he had. ... He was by far the best complete hitter in the game, and it was great for the game of baseball to see a player like that have a season he had."

2012 GIBBY Award winners
Award Winner
MLB MVP Miguel Cabrera
Hitter of the Year Miguel Cabrera
Starting Pitcher of the Year R.A. Dickey
Rookie of the Year Mike Trout
Closer of the Year Fernando Rodney
Setup Man of the Year Sergio Romo
Defensive Player of the Year Yadier Molina
Breakout Hitter of the Year Chase Headley
Breakout Pitcher of the Year R.A. Dickey
Comeback Player of the Year Buster Posey
Manager of the Year Buck Showalter
Executive of the Year Billy Beane
Postseason MVP Pablo Sandoval
Play of the Year Mike Trout
Storyline of the Year Tie: O's season
Nats' season
Hitting Performance of the Year Josh Hamilton
Pitching Performance of the Year Matt Cain
Oddity of the Year Michael Morse
Walk-off of the Year Chipper Jones
Cut4 Topic of the Year Bryce Harper
Postseason Moment Raul Ibanez

MLB's A-listers won GIBBY trophies in 21 categories -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. More than 10 million votes were cast by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.

"It's cool," said Baltimore's Buck Showalter when he learned he'd been selected as MLB Manager of the Year. "There were some great candidates, so I'm honored. It's really a reflection on our organization and players. No award is more team-oriented that that. It's the way the organization functions that's responsible for something like this.

"I'm proud of our team and our city."

GIBBYs categories include players from both leagues and performances not only from the regular season but also through the end of the playoffs, making them unique in singling out the best of the best.

The Mets' R.A. Dickey claimed the Starting Pitcher of the Year honor, outdueling BBWAA AL Cy Young Award winner David Price of the Rays. Trout, liberally praised by Cabrera when he accepted the AL MVP trophy, is the runaway Rookie of the Year.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is the Defensive Player of the Year. The Closer of the Year is the Rays' Fernando Rodney. Sergio Romo, who finished the season as the Giants' closer, was the choice as Setup Man of the Year after spending most of the season in that role.

Posey, rebounding brilliantly from a broken ankle in 2011, is the Comeback Player of the Year. His NL West rival, Chase Headley, is Breakout Hitter of the Year after driving in 115 runs for the Padres.

Pablo Sandoval, Posey's colorful teammate, powered his way to Postseason MVP, highlighted by his three-homer performance in Game 1 of the World Series against the Tigers in San Francisco.

Billy Beane is the Executive of the Year for a series of shrewd moves in lifting the Athletics to a stunning AL West title at the expense of the two-time defending league champion Rangers.

An outfit that looked fit for 100 losses in Spring Training, the A's won 94 games and seized the AL West on the final day, thumping the two-time defending American League champion Rangers in delirious Oakland for a sixth consecutive victory. The ride ended at the hands of Detroit's Justin Verlander in Game 5 of the AL Division Series, but that did nothing to diminish the magnitude of the accomplishment.

"We had two goliaths in our division -- the Angels and Rangers, two of the best teams in the game," Beane said. "We traded our three best players [starters Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and closer Andrew Bailey] because they weren't enough to allow us to compete. We acquired 10 players [in the swaps with the Nationals, Diamondbacks and Red Sox]. People sort of shut us off at that time. But our offseason didn't end."

Under the radar, Beane kept maneuvering, signing veteran starter Bartolo Colon, retaining center fielder Coco Crisp and signing unproven outfielder Yoenis Cespedes of Cuba. Cespedes and Gold Glove right fielder Josh Reddick, acquired from the Red Sox, drove the offense, while the youthful pitching staff exceeded all expectations.

"It changes quick," Beane said. "This business is so fluid. One good thing about what we did last year was that it was transformative."

In the specialty Must C categories, Trout vaulted to Play of the Year with his spectacular catch scaling the center field wall in Baltimore on June 27 to rob J.J. Hardy of a home run.

"He had an amazing year, made an amazing catch against Baltimore that put him on the map for everybody," Salmon said. "He was getting enough attention, but that play really vaulted him into the major media markets' limelight. That's always tough to do on the West Coast. That was the play that really put him in the forefront of everybody's minds."

The Storyline of the Year drew co-winners in the shadow of the nation's capital -- Baltimore for "Bucking the trend" and Washington for "Postseason baseball returns to DC."

"That's one award you'd like to win two years in a row," Showalter said, grinning.

Josh Hamilton's four-homer effort for the Rangers against the Orioles on May 8 carried him to Hitting Performance of the Year. The Giants' Matt Cain delivered the Pitching Performance of the Year with his June 13 perfect game -- the 22nd in history -- against the Astros. The Mariners' Felix Hernandez, who also unleashed a perfect game against the Rays, fell short of Cain in the voting, 38.7 percent to 34.8.

Mike Morse of the Nationals took the Oddity of the Year for his pantomime home run against the Cardinals on Sept. 29 in St. Louis. The Walk-off of the Year belonged to the Braves' Chipper Jones, whose final big league homer beat the Phillies on Sept. 2.

In a crowded field, the MLB.com Cut4 Topic of the Year went to the Nationals' Bryce Harper for his memorable response to a reporter's inquiry in Toronto: "That's a clown question, bro."

Raul Ibanez's two dramatic home runs in Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the Orioles prevailed as the No. 1 Postseason Moment.

Cabrera's MLB MVP mandate was impressive. He took 42.2 percent of the votes. Trout (29.7) was the runner-up, followed by Posey (16.1), the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen (7.9) and the Brewers' Ryan Braun (4.1).

"I don't know the next time we're going to see somebody have a year like that," Nationals broadcaster Charlie Slowes said of Cabrera. "Triple Crowns truly need to be honored. That's a tremendous accomplishment. He hit for average, he led in home runs and RBIs. You're a complete hitter. And he did that while agreeing to go switch positions and play third, which he hadn't done in a few years."

Slowes said he believed that 2012 was such a great year in baseball, "you could have picked almost anyone in any category to win."

With 20.3 percent of the vote, Dickey -- the BBWAA NL Cy Young Award winner -- edged Price, who took 17.5 percent. The Tigers' Justin Verlander was third with 16.7 percent.

"Looks like the voters got it right," Mets radio announcer Josh Lewin said. "It was a pleasure to describe that knuckleball on the radio this past summer and I'm sure it's reaffirming for R.A. to hear that the fans have acknowledged his sensational year as well."

While the Rookie of the Year was a slam dunk for Trout, with 92.4 percent compared to Harper's 4.2 percent, the Defensive Player of the Year voting was close. Molina (17.3 percent) was rewarded for his ongoing brilliance, edging the Cubs' Darwin Barney (15.6), Trout (15.1), the Mariners' Brendan Ryan (14 percent) and the Braves' Michael Bourn (10.1).

Showalter, edged by Oakland's Bob Melvin in the BBWAA Manager of the Year Award balloting, was the GIBBYs' selection with 21.2 percent of the vote to 19.6 by Melvin. World Series champion for the second time in three years, the Giants' Bruce Bochy was third at 18.1 percent, followed by Davey Johnson of the Nationals (15.3) and the Reds' Dusty Baker (6.6).

While Beane earned 27.6 percent of the votes for Executive of the Year, the man across the bay in San Francisco, Brian Sabean, was on his heels with 21.9 percent. Baltimore's Dan Duquette was third at 13.9 percent.

The excitement generated by the Orioles and Nationals was underscored when each club was named on 21.1 percent of the ballots in Storyline of the Season. Cabrera's Triple Crown was third (16.3), with Dickey's emergence (10.9) and the Athletics' ascent (10.4) also drawing strong support.

The champion Giants, fittingly, led the Majors with their four awards going to Posey, Romo, Sandoval and Cain.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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