Jose Altuve is an American (League) hero…
The 27-year-old Venezuelan baseball star, a second baseman for the Houston Astros, has won the American League MVP award, beating out New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin and capping the Astros’ championship season with another top prize.
Altuve , whos stands at 5-foot-6, received 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America
“I was surprised that I won it,” Altuve said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”
Altuve batted a Major League Baseball-best .346. He had 204 hits, 24 home runs and 81 RBIs for the World Series champion Astros.
It’s been over a decade since Altuve signed with Houston from Venezuela — only after he was sent home from one tryout and told he was too short.
“They told me not to come back,” Altuve said. “It was something me and my dad, he went with me that day, we were like, ‘We have to go again. We have to try again.'”
“It’s not a rule that you have to be 6-foot or you have to be really strong to play baseball and become a good player,” he added.
Altuve beat out a player who couldn’t be more different. The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.
Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third.
Altuve said on ESPN’s SportsCenter that winning the MVP has fueled him for years to come.
“Winning the MVP has made me want to keep getting better and keep helping my team for the next whatever years.”
Altuve is one of two second basemen in MLB history to hit .330 in a season with 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases, along with Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (once). Altuve has done it in each of the past two seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Altuve is the second Astros player to win an MVP, joining Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell in 1994.
He is the third player during the wild-card era to be named his league’s MVP in the same year that his team won the World Series. The other players to do that since 1995 are Buster Posey (2012 San Francisco Giants) and Kris Bryant (2016 Chicago Cubs), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.