Handing Out the MLB All-Decade Awards

Joel KochSenior Analyst INovember 16, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 10:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against Los Angeles in the eighth inning of Game Three of the NLDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Busch Stadium on October 10, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Seeing how it is award season now, with the Rookie of the Year awards coming within the next hour, I thought it'd be good to look at this past decade as a whole and name my awards.

While it will be difficult to name the Rookie of the Year as a decade (you'll see what I'll do there), I'm throwing in a new category and replacing an old.

No more Most Valuable Player. We're talking Player of the Decade for each league, and let us not forget the franchise of the decade for both leagues.

Forward, march!


American League Honors

Player of the Decade

Let us first start with the player of the decade. The choices are somewhat slim for this category. You have Alex Rodriguez, who takes the cake I baked, leading the majors in home runs and runs batted in for the decade.

Other players who can factor into the equation is Ichiro Suzuki, who led the American League in hitting throughout this decade, and, of course, Derek Jeter.

Winner: Alex Rodriguez


Cy Young of the Decade

The Cy Young winner of the decade is a lot tougher to judge. I have determined that for this category, to qualify, the pitcher must have spent more than three consecutive years in the league, while also spending the majority of the decade in the same league.

That means that pitchers like Livan Hernandez are out of the equation (for the American League), but Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett are in. It also means that John Santana is also considered for the award, despite playing in the National League for the past two seasons.

This award is difficult to determine. There are starters, like CC Sabathia and Santana, that could win the award hands down. There are also closers, such as Mariano Rivera, who could win.

For me though, I have to go with consistency from a starter. Closers are not Cy Young winners in my book. To me, anyone can be a closer and be good. It takes something special to go out on the field every five days, dominate, and do it all in six innings and 100-plus pitches.

Winner: Johan Santana

Apologies to: Pedro Martinez (five years in both leagues cancels him from both discussions), Sabathia (a very close vote), Rivera (closers man)


Rookie of the Decade

OK, Rookie of the Year will be very quick. You can only be a rookie for one season (usually), so I'm taking the best rookie season out of the decade and naming them the winner.

Winner: Ichiro (2001)


Manager of the Decade

This one is not hard. Who led his team to a postseason berth each season he managed the team? Which manager is among the best in the majors?

Winner: Joe Torre


Franchise of the Decade

This will be the toughest. There are three really good franchises to choose from. You have the Yankees, who opened and closed the decade with World Series wins. The most successful franchise of all time also led all Major League teams in wins for the decade.

The Boston Red Sox own two World Series berths and victories in the decade, along with seven postseason appearances. They own the second most victories in the decade, and are another top franchise of all-time.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or the Anaheim Angels as they were called at the start of this decade, won the fourth most games in the Majors. They have a World Series title to go with it.

Winner: Red Sox

Apologies to: Yankees (sorry, buying titles is not the same as actually winning), Angels (only one World Series appearance and three ALCS appearances)


National League

Player of the Decade

This section will go very quickly; trust me. There isn't a lot of competition in many categories. Like the Player of the Decade discussion.

Albert Pujols won the National League Decade Triple Crown. Yes, he led the National League in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average for the ENTIRE decade, while not starting his career until 2001.

Let us not forget he placed second only to Rodriguez in home runs and runs batted in for the majors throughout the decade, while winning the decade batting title.

Winner: Albert Pujols


Cy Young of the Decade

The Cy Young will be one of discussion. Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux all fit into the discussion. Randy Johnson and Roy Oswalt also come into play.

For my awards, though, I choose a person who helped lead his team to a World Series title, posted four 15-plus-win seasons and started 30 or more games in six of his eight seasons in the National League.

Winner: Randy Johnson


Rookie of the Decade

This isn't difficult as well. In fact, you probably think I'm going to go with Pujols here because he posted an unbelievable 2001 season. No, though, I'm going with someone else.

This man put up incredible numbers while playing only four and a half months. Sure, his defense was suspect and he changed positions, but he is a key cog in a young and upcoming team.

Winner: Ryan Braun (2007)


Manager of the Decade

Manager of the Decade? This is somewhat tough, but between my bias and the fact that Bobby Cox is behind this man in every category for this decade, the winner is clear.

Winner: Tony La Russa


Franchise of the Decade

Not difficult. Which franchise has won more games than any other National League team in this decade? How about the team that appeared in eight of the 10 postseasons held this decade, and won two pennants with a World Series title.

I hate to brag, but how about the franchise that had only one losing season throughout the decade, owns the Player of the Decade and Manager of the Decade, while also boasting a Cy Young winner (possibly a second).

Winner: St. Louis Cardinals

Apologies to: No one


Feel free to disagree, but those are my winners.