Finest AL Ballplayer
New York (AP)
Slugger Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox , the first
American Leaguer in 41 years to accumulate more than 400 total bases
in a single season , was named the AL's
' Most Valuable Player for 1978
by the Baseball Writers Association of America yesterday .
Rice beat Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry of the New York
Yankees comfortably . The Boston slugger received 20 first-place
from the 28-man
BBWAA committee and a total of 352 points , while
Guidry , a unanimous choice for the AL Cy Young Award last week , had
291 points in the MVP election and the other eight first-place
Rice won the MVP designation following an awesome season at the
plate . He led the majors with 46 home runs and 139 runs batted in , and
had 406 total bases
the first AL hitter to reach that plateau since Joe
DiMaggio had 418 total bases in 1937 .
Rice also led the majors in hits with 213 and in triples with 15 . He
had a slugging percentage of
American League behind 1977 MVP Rod Carew of Minnesota , who hit
, and Al Oliver of Texas , who had a .324
It took that kind of statistical dominance
to beat Guidry , who led
the majors with a 25-353
record that included nine shut-outs
and a 1.74
earned run average . Guidry'ss
89winning percentage was the highest
for any 20-game
winner in baseball history .
Rice and Guidry were the only players named on all 28 ballots .
Rice was only the sixth player in the history of the American League
to break the 400 total base barrier .
for the MVP probably were damaged by the
existence of the Cy Young Award . Since 1956 , when
writers added the Cy Young to honor the best pitcher in each league to
, only five hurlers have won both that award
and the MVP . They were Don Newcombe in 1956 , Sandy Koufax
1963 , Denny McLain and Bob Gibson and 1968 and Vida Blue in 19