(BBWAA) – Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the offensive and defensive catalyst for a club that reached post-season play for the first time in 14 years by winning the 2007 National League East title, was elected the NL Most Valuable Player in a tight race against Colorado Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).

Of the 32 ballots submitted by two writers in each league city, Rollins was listed first on 16, second on seven, third on four, fourth on four and fifth on one for a total of 353 points, based on the tabulation system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th. Holliday’s breakdown was 11 first-place votes, 18 seconds, one third, one fourth and one sixth for 336 points.

Rollins, 28, who batted .296 and scored 139 runs, was the first player in history with 200 hits (212) and 20 doubles (38), triples (20), home runs (30) and stolen bases (41) in one season. He set a league record for shortstops with 380 total bases, breaking by one the previous mark of the Cubs’ Ernie Banks in 1958.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (.268, 47 HR, 136 RBI), the 2006 winner, placed fifth this time behind New York Mets third baseman David Wright (.325, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 113 R). Rounding out the top 10 were Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (.337, 29 HR, 102 RBI, 108 R), San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy (19-6, 2.54 ERA, 240 K in 223⅓ IP), Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (.332, 22 HR, 103 RBI, 104 R), Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (.327, 32 HR, 103 RBI) and Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.332, 29 HR, 81 RBI, 212 H, 125 R). In all, 26 players received votes.

Rollins and Howard are the 11th set of teammates to win the NL award in consecutive seasons and the first since the Giants’ Jeff Kent (2000) and Bonds (2001). Cincinnati had three teammates win successively in 1938 (Ernie Lombardi), 1939 (Bucky Walters) and 1940 (Frank McCormick), as did the Cardinals in 1942 (Mort Cooper), 1943 (Stan Musial) and 1944 (Marty Marion). Other back-to-back, MVP-winning teammates were the Dodgers’ Campanella (1955) and Don Newcombe (1956), Wills (1962) and Koufax (1953), the Cardinals’ Orlando Cepeda (1967) and Bob Gibson (1968), the Reds’ Joe Morgan (1976) and George Foster (1977) and the Pirates’ Dave Parker (1978) and Stargell (1979).

It marked the seventh time a Phillies player won the award with Rollins joining Howard, three-time winner Mike Schmidt (1980-81, ’86), Chuck Klein (1932) and Jim Konstanty (1950). It was the seventh MVP for an NL shortstop, a list that includes Banks, a two-time winner (1958-59), Marion, Wills, Dick Groat (1960) and Barry Larkin (1995). Shortstops have won in the American League eight times.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)

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