Once again, Magglio Ordonez finished second to Alex Rodriguez in a balloting contest. The surprise, however, was the other finalist.
As part of its Players Choice Awards, the Major League Baseball Players Association released its winners for Outstanding Player in each league on Wednesday, and while Rodriguez topped Ordonez, he also had to beat out Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, who was selected as the other of the three finalists. It didn't earn him a win, nor was it expected to, but it was a recognition of the kind of year Granderson enjoyed in his second full Major League season.
After a 2006 season in which Granderson led the Majors in strikeouts and slumped down the stretch, he became the first Major League player since Willie Mays and the third since 1900 to post at least 20 doubles, triples home runs and stolen bases in the same season, a feat that Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins duplicated later in the year. Granderson's 23 triples marked the highest total in a single season since Dale Mitchell in 1949. Granderson topped it off with a .302 batting average, which he pulled out with a three-hit performance in the season finale.
All that offense established Granderson as one of the more dangerous leadoff hitters in baseball. His .361 on-base percentage ranked fifth among Major League leadoff men, while his .926 OPS trailed only Florida's Hanley Ramirez.
The Players Choice Awards are decided by balloting among all Major League players conducted in September under supervision of accounting firm KPMG. Each year, they recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player. Ordonez and Granderson were the only Tigers nominated for awards.
Ordonez is also a finalist for the Player of the Year award, which will be announced on Thursday and includes players from both leagues. Again, however, he'll be up against Rodriguez. Colorado's Matt Holliday is the other finalist.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.