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It’s Unanimous: Griffey Wins MVP

From Associated Press

Ken Griffey Jr. is tired of the great expectations. Now that he has won his first most-valuable-player award, he thinks he deserves a break.

“All my life in professional baseball, people said ‘He could be better,’ ” Griffey said Wednesday after becoming only the ninth unanimous American League MVP.

“There’s always a but after everything I’ve done,” he said. “You get tired of somebody saying, ‘He hit 49 but he didn’t do something else.’ It’s not fair.”

Griffey had finished close in previous MVP voting: second in 1994, fourth last year and fifth in 1993. He thinks no matter what he does, people won’t be satisfied.

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“I go out there every day, take early batting practice, fly balls. Every day I get asked questions: ‘What’s next for you?’ ” he said during a conference call after the voting was announced.

It’s hard to imagine he can improve much on this year. Griffey hit .304 for Seattle, led the AL with 56 home runs and finished first in the majors with 147 RBIs.

He led the AL in runs (125), total bases (393) and slugging percentage (.646) and won his eighth consecutive Gold Glove in center field.

No wonder he received all 28 first-place votes and 392 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Assn. of America. New York Yankee first baseman Tino Martinez was second with 24 second-place votes and 248 points.

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“This award means a lot,” said Griffey, who received a $150,000 bonus for winning it. “Kids always think about being the MVP.”

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After interviewing with the Toronto Blue Jays, former Baltimore Oriole manager Davey Johnson says he wants to work with a calmer owner.

“I don’t want to get into any more controversy,” Johnson said Wednesday after meeting with Toronto General Manager Gord Ash in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I’ve had enough of that already.”

Johnson, 54, resigned as manager of the Orioles last week after repeated clashes with owner Peter Angelos. Johnson stepped down the same day he was voted American League manager of the year.

Toronto, which fired Cito Gaston in September, also is considering minor league manager Tim Johnson, broadcaster Buck Martinez and Angel coach and former Padre manager Larry Bowa.

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Infielder Luis Sojo agreed to return to the New York Yankees for a $1.6-million, two-year contract. . . . Reliever Paul Assenmacher, who became a free agent after the World Series, returned to the Cleveland Indians by agreeing to a two-year contract. No terms were announced. . . . Infielder Dave Magadan returned to the Oakland Athletics, agreeing to a $500,000, one-year contract. . . . Free-agent catcher Carlos Hernandez agreed to remain with the San Diego Padres, signing a one-year, $650,000 contract.

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AL MVP Voting

Voting for the 1997 American League most-valuable-player award with player’s name, team, place on each ballot and total points. Ballots are based on a 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis:

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Player 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Griffey, Seattle 28 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 392 T. Martinez, NY -- 24 2 4 3 -- -- -- -- -- 248 Thomas, Chicago -- 3 10 2 4 1 3 1 3 1 172 Myers, Batimore -- -- 8 3 3 3 1 1 1 1 128 Justice, Cleveland -- -- 2 3 3 4 2 1 1 2 90 Thome, Cleveland -- -- 1 5 2 3 4 -- 1 1 89 Salmon, Angels -- 1 1 2 3 2 3 2 2 3 84 Garciaparra, Boston -- -- -- 2 2 5 2 7 1 1 83 J. Gonzalez, Texas -- -- -- 3 2 4 1 1 1 4 66 Clemens, Toronto -- -- 1 1 2 2 1 3 3 -- 56

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(Southland Edition) AL MVP Voting

Top five vote-getters for the 1997 American League most valuable player award, with first-, second- and third-place votes and total points on a 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis:

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Player 1 2 3 Total Griffey, Seattle 28 -- -- 392 T.Martinez, NY -- 24 4 248 Thomas, Chicago -- 3 10 172 Myers, Baltimore -- -- 8 128 Justice, Cleveland -- -- 2 90

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