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Bailey captures AL rookie award

Bailey captures AL rookie award

OAKLAND -- A's right-hander Andrew Bailey got the call from New York at 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday and was told to "keep it under wraps."

He assumed, however, that it was safe to let his parents in on the secret: His rise from Minor League obscurity to Major League limelight turned historic when he was named the American League's 2009 Rookie of the Year.

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"My dad couldn't believe it," Bailey told MLB.com by phone shortly after the announcement. "He had been reading all these articles about who had voted for who, and everyone kind of thought Elvis [Andrus of the Rangers] was going to win. So when I told him, he was like, 'No way. Are you kidding? Really?'

"When I called my mom, she just started laughing. And then she started crying."

Andrus, Texas' acrobatic 21-year-old shortstop, finished second in the voting, which was carried out by selected members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Bailey, 25, posted 26 saves -- no other AL rookie reliever had more than two -- with a 1.84 ERA, also the best among AL rookies. He was listed first on 13 ballots submitted by two writers in each AL city, second on six and third on five to score 88 points, based on a 5-3-1 tabulation system.

Andrus, who batted .267 and led AL rookies in hits (128), runs (72), triples (8), total bases (179) and stolen bases (33), placed first on eight ballots, second on six and third on seven for 65 points -- one point more than Tigers righty starter Rick Porcello (14-9, 3.96 ERA), who was first on seven ballots, second on eight and third on five for 64 points.

A's lefty starter Brett Anderson finished sixth in the voting, picking up one second-place vote and one third-place vote.

2009 AL roy voting
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Andrew Bailey 13 6 5 88
Elvis Andrus 8 6 7 65
Rick Porcello 7 8 5 64
Jeff Niemann x 5 6 21
Gordon Beckham x 2 4 10
Brett Anderson x 1 1 4

"There were so many rookies who had great years, it's an amazing honor," Bailey said while scurrying to the airport for an afternoon flight to Oakland, where he'll be featured at a press conference Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT.

"And I think it's really cool that we had two guys in the mix, with Brett being kind of a darkhorse. He had an incredible year, too."

Bailey is the second Oakland closer to win in the past five elections; Huston Street won it in 2005. Other closers elected were Gregg Olson of the Orioles in 1989 and Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Mariners in '00. Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti was a starter when he won the award in '81.

"I kind of thought Andrus was going to win, too," Bailey said. "He was awesome, and he plays every day."

Including shortstop Bobby Crosby's honor in 2004, this marks the third time in six seasons that an A's player has won the rookie award and the eighth time overall, tying the Yankees for the most winners in the league.

The National League's Dodgers -- Brooklyn and Los Angeles -- hold all-time bragging rights with 16 ROYs.

Moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen at Double-A Midland at midseason in 2008, Bailey didn't just make a successful transition to relief work. He made the transition look like a breeze.

After dominating during the second half of the 2008 season at Midland, he following suit in the prestigious Arizona Fall League and did the same in his first trip to big league Spring Training.

Named to the 25-man roster in part because projected closer Joey Devine was out with an elbow injury that resulted in season-ending surgery, Bailey was handed a low-stress role in the season's first several weeks but steadily climbed the ladder of responsibility.

He picked up his first save in early May and eventually took over as the full-time closer, converting his final 21 save opportunities dating to June 17.

"We didn't give him the job," pitching coach Curt Young said in September. "He took it."

Named the Athletics' lone representative at the All-Star Game in St. Louis this summer, Bailey broke Street's Oakland rookie record for saves and posted a 6-3 record with a 0.88 WHIP and 91 strikeouts against 24 walks in 83 1/3 innings over 68 appearances. Opponents batted .167 against Bailey, who surrendered 47 hits

"Andrew," said A's catcher Kurt Suzuki, "was amazing."

Bailey, who is sharing an apartment with his fiancée, Amanda, in Hamden, Conn., this winter, said he was "shocked" when he got Monday's big news.

"It's kind of hard to believe still," he said. "It's crazy. There's about 100 people trying to get through on my phone right now, so everyone's pretty excited about it. I really tried not to think too much about it after the season because it was out of my hands. All you can do is put up your numbers and hope that's good enough.

"I guess this means it was. It's incredible. I'm still shaking."

National Awards
ASG MVP Roberto Clemente AL Manager of Year
Terry Steinbach 1988 Dave Stewart 1990 Tony LaRussa 1988
Tony LaRussa 1992
ALCS MVP Outstanding DH Hutch Award
Dennis Eckersley 1988 Dave Kingman 1984 Carney Lansford 1992
Rickey Henderson 1989 Dave Parker 1989 Jason Giambi 2000
Dave Stewart 1990
World Series MVP Joe Cronin Award Rolaids Relief
Gene Tenace 1972 Rickey Henderson 1982 Dennis Eckersley 1988
Reggie Jackson 1973 Jose Canseco 1988 Dennis Eckersley 1992
Rollie Fingers 1974 Dave Stewart 1990 Billy Koch 2002
Dave Stewart 1989
AL MVP ROY AL Cy Young
Lefty Grove 1931 Harry Byrd 1952 Vida Blue 1971
Jimmie Foxx 1932 Jose Canseco 1986 "Catfish" Hunter 1974
Jimmie Foxx 1933 Mark McGwire 1987 Bob Welch 1990
Bobby Shantz 1952 Walt Weiss 1988 Dennis Eckersley 1992
Vida Blue 1971 Ben Grieve 1998 Barry Zito 2002
Reggie Jackson 1973 Bobby Crosby 2004
Jose Canseco 1988 Huston Street 2005
Rickey Henderson 1990 Andrew Bailey 2009
Dennis Eckersley 1992
Jason Giambi 2000
Miguel Tejada 2002
Rawlings Gold Glove
Joe Rudi 1974
Joe Rudi 1975
Joe Rudi 1976
Dwayne Murphy 1980
Mike Norris 1980
Rickey Henderson 1981
Dwayne Murphy 1981
Mike Norris 1981
Dwayne Murphy 1982
Dwayne Murphy 1983
Dwayne Murphy 1984
Alfredo Griffin 1985
Dwayne Murphy 1985
Mark McGwire 1990
Eric Chavez 2001
Eric Chavez 2002
Eric Chavez 2003
Eric Chavez 2004
Eric Chavez 2005
Local Awards
Jim "Catfish" Hunter AwardYear    
Tim Hudson2004    
Mark Ellis2005, 2007    
Jason Kendall2006    
Mike Sweeney2008    
Kurt Suzuki2009    

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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