Barry Bonds became only the eighth player to win the most-valuable-player award three times when it was announced Tuesday that he had run away with the National League honor for 1993.
The San Francisco Giants' left fielder received 24 of the 28 first-place votes by a committee of the Baseball Writers Assn. of America.
His 372 points easily outdistanced Philadelphia center fielder Lenny Dykstra, who had 267 points and the four other first-place votes. David Justice edged Atlanta teammate Fred McGriff for third. Dodger catcher Mike Piazza was ninth.
In joining Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella and Mike Schmidt as the only three-time winners, Bonds said his goal is to become the first to win four and that he has already begun physical preparations for next year.
"I don't have to do it next year because I have a lot more years left, but I'm going for it," he told reporters at the Calabasas home of his agent, Dennis Gilbert.
"Some people may not want me to do it, so I expect '94 to be my hardest season. The media may force me to do inhuman things to win it again, but I have the ability, and I don't want to throw away the gift I've been given.
"I'm not done yet."
Responding to his $43.75-million contract, Bonds led the Giants to 103 victories while batting .336 and leading the league in home runs, 46, and runs batted in, 123.
Those figures would have won the triple crown in five of the last seven years, but Andres Galarraga, Tony Gwynn and Gregg Jefferies had higher batting averages last season. Bonds set a Giant record with his .677 slugging percentage and became the first National League player since Musial in 1948 to lead the league in both slugging and on-base percentage. "It was the best year of my life, and I credit that to the best supporting cast I've ever played with," he said. "My main hope now is that the owners will keep the team together."
Will Clark and Robby Thompson have filed for free agency, however. "The playoffs and World Series, that whole thing eats me up 24 hours a day," said Bonds, whose Giants went down to the final day before losing to the Braves and whose Pirates never got beyond three consecutive playoff trips.
"The media can call me the greatest player in the game, but I need to win a World Series to be recognized with the elite like Willie (Mays) and my cousin Reggie (Jackson)," Bonds said. "That's the mountain I have to get over now. . . . That and the Hall of Fame are it."
Bonds dedicated his third MVP to his wife. Bonds and Frank Robinson are the only players to have won the award with two teams.
Bonds would have four in a row if the Braves' Terry Pendleton hadn't won a close vote in 1991.
Bonds, 29, credited Dykstra with an MVP-type season and said he knew he had to do something special in that final series with the Dodgers to keep Dykstra from winning it. Bonds had seven RBIs in the second game of that series.
"That's what did it, that was my World Series," Bonds said, referring to the impact of his performance against the Dodgers on the MVP vote. His finish in the top three earned him a $100,000 bonus.