Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, who helped the franchise reach a championship series for the first time in 29 years, was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player on Tuesday.
Braun, who hit the home run that clinched the NL Central title for Milwaukee, had a .332 batting average with 33 home runs, 111 RBI and 33 steals.
“It’s hard to put into words what this means to me,” Braun said on a conference call. “It’s very emotional and something I’m really proud of.”
The 28-year-old outfielder was listed first on 20 ballots and second on the rest of the 32 submitted by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who led the National League in homers, RBI, runs and total bases, was second with 10 first-place votes.
Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder finished third with one first place vote, while Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton, who finished fourth, received the other first place vote.
Braun said playing on a winning team probably helped him win the award over Kemp, whose Dodgers were 82-79.
Braun said one of the first people he called after learning he had won the award was fellow Wisconsin sports star Aaron Rodgers, of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, whose team currently has a 10-0 record.
“We have so much in common. We’re only a couple of weeks apart in age. We both play in the state of Wisconsin and understand how special it is to have the opportunity to play in front of those fans and that group of people,” Braun said.