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Darvish, Ogasawara earn MVP honors

Kyodo News

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander Yu Darvish became the second youngest MVP in Japanese baseball history and Yomiuri Giants third baseman Michihiro Ogasawara won his second consecutive MVP award on Tuesday.

News photoYu Darvish of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters earned the 2007 Pacific League MVP award after posting a
15-5 record, NPB announced on Tuesday. He is the second-youngest MVP in Japanese baseball history.
KYODO PHOTO

The 21-year-old Darvish was named the Pacific League MVP for the 2007 season after going 15-5 with a 1.820 ERA in 26 starts. Legendary Giants right-hander Eiji Sawamura and Nishitetsu Lions right-hander Kazuhisa Inao received the awards in 1937 and 1957, respectively, at the age of 20.

Darvish led the PL with 210 strikeouts and 12 complete games while his 1.820 ERA was the second best, trailing only Lotte Marines lefty Yoshihisa Naruse’s 1.817.

“I feel a different type of joy in winning this award, which also covers position players,” Darvish said. “I want to work hard to be a MVP candidate every year.”

Ogasawara, who won his first MVP last year with Nippon Ham, was named the Central League MVP this time after hitting .313 with 31 homers and 88 RBIs in 142 games.

Ogasawara became the only second player to win MVP awards in both leagues after left-hander Yutaka Enatsu became the CL MVP in 1979 with the Hiroshima Carp and the PL MVP in 1981 with Nippon Ham.

“I wouldn’t be able to win this award alone. I got support from many people in a new environment after my move to the new club,” Ogasawara said.

Both Darvish and Ogasawara helped their teams to the league titles.

The year-end honors are determined through balloting by baseball reporters with five or more years of experience. Five points are given for a first-place vote, three for a second and one for a third.

Darvish was a comfortable winner over teammate and PL batting champion Atsunori Inaba, collecting 763 points against 439. Ogasawara beat teammate and closer Koji Uehara 423 to 291.

The Rookie of the Year awards went to Hanshin Tigers right-hander Keiji Uezono and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka at the annual baseball convention.

Uezono went 8-5 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 games. Tanaka was 11-7 with a 3.82 ERA and 196 strikeouts, the second most in the PL, in 28 starts.

“I received this great award, which I can only win once in a lifetime. I tried to work on my style of pitching every game,” Tanaka said.

Ogasawara and left-hander Hisanori Takahashi were among four Yomiuri players named to the CL “Best Nine” season-ending all-star team. The Japan Series champion Chunichi Dragons had two Best Nine players, Tyrone Woods (first base) and Hirokazu Ibata (shortstop).

There were no players selected for the Best Nine from Hanshin for the first time in six years.

Darvish and Inaba (outfield) were among four Nippon Ham players named to the PL Best Nine. Rakuten Eagles veteran slugger Takeshi Yamasaki, who led the league with 43 homers and 108 RBIs, was selected as the best designated hitter.