Kenji Jojima of the Japan Series champion Daiei Hawks and Kei Igawa of the Central League pennant-winning Hanshin Tigers were named the Most Valuable Players of the 2003 baseball season on Wednesday.
Catcher Jojima, who batted .330 with a team-high 182 hits, 34 homers and 119 RBIs, and southpaw Igawa, the first Tigers pitcher in 24 years to post 20 wins, both received the awards for the first time in their careers.
The yearend 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 second and one for third.
Jojima collected 95 first-place votes, 31 second-place and five third-place for a total of 573 points to outscore teammates Kazumi Saito and Nobuhiko Matsunaka, who followed second and third, with 439 and 118 points, respectively.
Igawa received 62 first-place votes, 75 second-place and 36 third-place for 571 points, beating out teammate Akihiro Yano by just four points while Tomoaki Kanemoto, also of the Tigers, was third with 342.
“I’m really surprised. I think maintaining my rotation spot throughout the season and earning 20 wins were the two decisive factors. I owe a big thanks to our offense, which supported me with lots of runs,” Igawa said.
The Rookie of the Year award went to Tsuyoshi Wada of the Daiei Hawks, who finished the season with a 14-5 record, as the lefty became the first PL player in 23 years to receive full ballot marks and to Hiroshi Kisanuki of the Yomiuri Giants, who went 10-7, in the CL.
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