Rookies of the Year
01-05-2015 / By:
1947 - 2014
In Major League Baseball, the Rookie of the Year Award is given annually to one player from each league as voted upon by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The award was established in 1940 by the Chicago chapter of the BBWAA who alone selected a rookie of the year. Starting in 1947, all members of the national BBWAA organization voted. Jackie Robinson was awarded the first official Rookie of the Year award. When casting their ballots each BBWAA voter used their own discretion as to who qualified as a rookie until 1957 when they defined the term as someone with less than 75 at-bats or 45 innings pitched in any previous season. This guideline was later amended to 90 at-bats, 45 innings pitched or 45 days on a major league roster before September 1 of the previous year. It was amended to the current standards in 1971 to 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched or 45 days on the active roster of a major league club (excluding time on the disabled list) before September 1. Beginning in 1980 each voter names three rookies: a first place choice is given five points, a second place choice three points, and a third place one point. The award goes to the player with the most overall points. Prior to 1980 each voter cast one ballot for each league.
Originally the award was known as the J. Louis Comiskey Memorial Award, after the Chicago White Sox owner of the 1930s. In 1987, in honor of the 40th year since Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line, it became known as the Jackie Robinson Award. Only two players, both in the American League, have been named Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same year, Fred Lynn in 1975 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. The only Rookie of the Year to win the Cy Young Award in the same year was Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. Initially, the award was simply called the "Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award." From 1947 to 1948, only one award was given to a single player. Since 1949, the honor has been given to one player in both the National League and American League.
The award has come under scrutiny in recent years, as several Japanese players (namely Hideo Nomo in 1995, Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000, and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001) with prior experience in Japan have won the award during their first year playing in the United States. While rookies to Major League Baseball, these players were already tested professionals before coming to the United States, leading some baseball writers to question whether they should be considered true rookies. However, the policy remains in place that experience outside the U.S. major leagues does not affect one's status as a rookie. The issue was raised again in 2003, as Hideki Matsui narrowly lost the balloting to Angel Berroa. It should be noted that Jackie Robinson, the first recipient of the award, had already played in the Negro Leagues before playing in the major leagues, as did 1950 NL Rookie of the Year Sam Jethroe, who is currently the oldest player, at 32 years of age, to win the award. He was 33 days older than Seattle's Kazuhiro Saasaki from Japan, who won the award in 2000.
Rookie of the Year Winners
Jackie Robinson Award
* Unanimous selection
American League / National League
- Jose Abreu, Chicago
- Jacob deGrom, NY Mets
One Award for Both Leagues
1948 - Alvin Dark, Boston (NL)
1947 - Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn (NL)