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Posted at 2:12 PM ET, 11/22/2010

Joey Votto named 2010 National League Most Valuable Player

By Adam Kilgore

So many of the feats accomplished this season by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto surpassed any conventional expectation. He led the National League in on-base and slugging percentage. He hit zero - zero! - infield pop-ups in 648 plate appearances. He graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. He carried the Reds to their first playoff appearance in 15 years.

Votto capped his season this afternoon with one more rare deed, the most improbable of all, the one that will place him aside a select group of players: Votto won the National League MVP award, by a blowout, in a field that included Albert Pujols.

Votto, who turned 27 in September, received 31 of 32 first-place votes for a season that cemented him as one of the best players in the game. He slugged .600, got on-base at a .424 clip and finished third in the National League with 37 home runs. His season was so good enough that he earned the award over the best player of his generation, a player who happens to play the same position in the same division as Votto

Pujols finished second in front of Carlos Gonzalez, Adrian Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Roy Halladay, narrowly missing his third straight NL MVP award and fourth overall. Pujols has finished in the top nine every year of his career, and today he finished second for the fourth time. (Pujols's finishes, 10 years into a Hall of Fame career, are remarkable: second, first, first, ninth, second, first, third, second, second, fourth.) The only players to win an MVP during Pujols's 10-year career, other than him, are Barry Bonds, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and, now, Votto.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman finished 16th, the highest for a Nationals player since Alfonso Soriano finished sixth in 2006 and third-highest a Nationals player has ever finished. (Chad Cordero finished 14th in 2005.) First baseman Adam Dunn finished tied for 21st.

Zimmerman received two seventh-place votes, one eighth, two ninth and three 10th, meaning he appeared on eight of 31 ballots. Dunn received one seventh, two ninth and three 10th.

Last year, Zimmerman finished tied for 25th.

By Adam Kilgore  | November 22, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
 
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