It’s National League Rookie of the Year announcement day.
Or, as it’s known in Pittsburgh, Monday.
When this annual award has center-stage, I’m always fascinated by the fact the Pirates, in their long and distinguished history, have had only one NL Rookie of the Year — Jason Bay, in 2004. The Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards have been around since 1947, when the man himself earned the outstanding rookie honor that would soon bear his name.
Of the eight original franchises in existence at the time, none of the others have won it fewer than four times. But even the expansion-era teams have shown up the Pirates in this regard.
It would be awesome for Jung Ho Kang to upset Kris Bryant and bag this trophy for at least two reasons. Bryant’s teammate, Chris Coghlan, is the guy who knocked Kang into the offseason with a takeaway slide on Sept. 17. And it would be kinda cool to point out the Bucs have had rookies of the year only from Canada and Korea.
At least Kang has been identified as one of the three finalists for the award, its own distinction. The only Pacific Rim player named NL Rookie of the Year was pitcher Hideo Nomo, of Japan and of the Dodgers, in 1995.
Interesting footnote to Nomo’s win: It came in the midst of the Dodgers’ second historical streak of four consecutive Rookies of the Year (1979-1982 and 1993-1996) — but they have not had a winner since outfielder Todd Hollandsworth brought up the rear of the second streak in 1996.
Here is your NL Rookie of the Year standings, leading up to tonight’s announcement (CAPS indicate the Original Eight):
- DODGERS 15
- BRAVES 7
- *REDS 6 1/2
- CARDINALS 6
- GIANTS 6
- CUBS 5
- Mets 5
- PHILLIES 4
- Marlins 4
- Expos/Nats 3
- *Padres 1 1/2
- Astros 1
- Brewers 1
- Rockies 1
- PIRATES 1
* In 1976, the Reds’ Pat Zachary and the Padres’ Butch Metzger split the award.