Seattle's Suzuki, Cardinal's Pujols voted rookies of the year by baseball writers group

Monday, November 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals took baseball's top honors for newcomers Monday, as the two were named rookies of the year.

Suzuki became the second straight Japanese player to win the American League Rookie of the Year award, taking 27 of 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Pujols got all 32 first-place votes for the National League honor.

Suzuki, 28, came to the major leagues after nine seasons in the Japanese Pacific League. He batted .350 this season and had 56 stolen bases, making him the first rookie to lead the major leagues in both categories since Jackie Robinson in 1949.

Suzuki, who swatted a rookie record 242 hits, was the first Japanese non-pitcher in the major leagues, and was the second straight Seattle player to win the award. Mariners reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki won it last year.

Pujols, 21, set a National League rookie record with 130 RBIs, and led the Cardinals with a .329 average and 37 home runs. Pujols played a variety of positions throughout the season _ outfielder, third base and first base.

In the American League, Suzuki easily beat out Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia and New York Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano for the honor. Sabathia was the only other American League rookie to receive a first-place vote.

Pujols topped Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt and Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the award.