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Monday, November 15, 2004
Beltre finishes second in NL voting news services

NEW YORK -- Barry Bonds won his record seventh NL MVP award in a walk.

NL MVP Award Voting
Player, team 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Bonds, S.F. 24 7 1 407
Beltre, L.A. 6 21 3 311
Pujols, St.L. 1 1 20 247
Rolen, St.L. 1 3 7 226
For complete voting, click here.

Capping a season of suspicion and success, the San Francisco Giants left fielder became the oldest player to win the award. The 40-year-old received 24 first-place votes and 407 points Monday in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America to earn the award for the fourth straight season.

"I don't know if one is better than the other. They're all overwhelming," Bonds said.

Los Angeles third baseman Adrian Beltre was second, getting six first-place votes and 311 points, and St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols was third with one first and 247 points. St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen got the other first-place vote and finished fourth, followed by teammate Jim Edmonds.

Bonds is the only player with more than three MVP awards and the only one to win more than two in a row. Willie Stargell was previously the oldest to win it, sharing the 1979 NL award with Keith Hernandez at 39.

Among the four major North American professional sports, he trails only the NHL's Wayne Gretzky, who won nine MVPs. In the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads with six.

Barry Bonds in MVP Seasons
2004 .362 45/101
2003 .341 45/90
2002 .370 46/110
2001 .328 73/137
1993 .336 46/123
1992 .311 34/103
1990 .301 33/114

Bonds said the lack of a World Series title motivates him, and he intends to play two more seasons.

"I want that championship," he said. "I think that's the one thing that's eluding me from enjoying these other accomplishments."

Bonds became only the third player to hit 700 career homers, and with 703 trails only Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). But following his grand jury testimony in a federal investigation, he repeatedly was questioned whether he used steroids.

His personal trainer has been indicted for illegal distribution of steroids, but Bonds has denied using illegal steroids. He wouldn't address an Oct. 16 report by the San Francisco Chronicle, which said it obtained from an anonymous source a recording of the trainer, Greg Anderson, on which Anderson says Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.

"I don't have an answer, I really don't. I don't really care about all this stuff. I really don't," he said. "I don't owe anyone a response to anything."

Bonds' season was unparalleled statistically. He hit .362 to win his second NL batting title in three seasons and shattered the major league record with a .609 on-base percentage, topping the previous mark of .582 he set two years ago.

He walked 232 times, 34 more than the previous record he set in 2002 and more than 100 better than anyone else in baseball this season, and his 120 intentional walks obliterated the old mark of 68, also set by Bonds in 2002.

Bonds hit 45 homers in 373 at-bats, while Beltre hit a major league-leading 48 in 598 at-bats and Pujols had 46 in 592.

"I never think I have a chance to win any awards being walked," he said. "Your chances are minuscule compared to their chances."

Bonds' .812 slugging percentage led the major leagues for the fourth straight season but fell short of the record he set at .863 in 2001. He hit 45 homers and matched Aaron's NL record of eight 40-homer seasons, trailing only Ruth's major league mark of 11. He also became the first player in major league history with 13 consecutive 30-homer seasons.

Bonds earned a $500,000 bonus for winning the award, and Beltre, Edmonds, Pujols and Rolen earned bonuses of $50,000 each.

The AL MVP award will be announced Tuesday.