Ryan Ludwick, Albert Pujols win Silver Slugger bats
TOWER GROVE — St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick, fresh from the official announcement that he had won a Silver Slugger to punctuate his breakout season, was headed to the gym. The spoils of this season are swell, but he has no interest in being a one-hit wonder.
He even used this past week of rumors, reports and headlines to explain why.
“I think it’s an honor just to be named in the same place as Matt Holliday,” Ludwick said Thursday. “He’s certainly had a more consistent career than me. And that’s one of my goals now — to make sure that this isn’t just the one season, that I can be that consistent player.”
In a fitting conclusion to a week that started with Ludwick being linked to a deal for Colorado Rockies outfielder Holliday and included Holliday’s ultimate movement to Oakland, Ludwick and Holliday both received the sleek silver bats that go with being voted the most offensively productive players at their positions. Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, continuing his pillaging of the postseason awards, also won a Silver Slugger at his position.
It is the fourth time in his career that Pujols has won the Silver Slugger.
It is the fourth time since 2002 that two Cardinals have won a Silver Slugger in the same season, but these two are the first Cardinals to win a Silver Slugger since 2005.
The Cardinals were the only National League team with two winners.
The awards in both the American and National leagues were announced Thursday afternoon. The Silver Slugger is the cousin of the Rawlings Gold Glove, as it is given to the best offensive player at each position. The award is determined by a vote of managers and coaches, and it is sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Here are the winners in the National League:
P — Carlos Zambrano, Chicago
C — Brian McCann, Atlanta
1B — Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2B — Chase Utley, Philadelphia
3B — David Wright, Mets
SS — Hanley Ramirez, Florida
OF — Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
OF — Matt Holliday, Colorado
OF — Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals
Only one outfielder in the majors hit more home runs than Ludwick’s 37, and no outfielder in the NL had more RBIs than his 113 or a better slugging percentage than his .591. Ludwick also came a single shy of hitting .300 for the season. Ludwick had to hit his way into the everyday lineup, and was rewarded for it with an invitation to the All-Star Game. He was voted onto the team by his peers. The St. Louis Cardinals media relations department offers this morsel: Ludwick is the third player in major history to hit 30 homers, drive in 100 runs, all at the age of 30 with fewer than 750 career big-league at-bats. The others to do so were Hideki Matsui in 2004 and Lefty O’Doul in 1929.
“Any time you get an award of any type, it’s a great thing,” Ludwick said. “It’s an honor. But it’s time to move on, I think. Last year is done, and really, really, right now, it’s all about next year. This year is over, on to the next one. I keep telling people I want to get better. That’s my goal. I want to get better, and I want to win.
“That was one of the things that was difficult about (the reports of a trade earlier this week),” Ludwick continued. “I really think we have a chance to win here and that’s something that I want to be a part of.”
Pujols’ near sweep of the postseason awards takes him to the eve of the National League MVP Award announcement. That is the next award set to be unveiled by the BBWAA, and it will be announced at 1 p.m. St. Louis time on Monday. Pujols is the favorite to win the award, with his main challenger being St. Louis native Ryan Howard.
Here is a list of the Cardinals’ Silver Slugger winners since 1980, when the Cardinals had five Silver Slugger winners, as provided by Jim Anderson of the team’s media relations staff:
1980 Keith Hernandez, 1b; Garry Templeton, ss; George Hendrick, of; Ted Simmons, c; Bob Forsch, p.
1983 George Hendrick, 1b
1985 Jack Clark, 1b; Willie McGee, of
1987 Jack Clark, 1b; Ozzie Smith, ss; Bob Forsch, p
1998 Mark McGwire, 1b
2000 Edgar Renteria, ss
2001 Albert Pujols, 3b
2002 Edgar Renteria, ss; Scott Rolen, 3b
2003 Albert Pujols, of; Edgar Renteria, ss
2004 Albert Pujols, 1b; Jim Edmonds, of
2005 Jason Marquis, p