Originally created 11/05/02

Hinske, Jennings voted Rookies of the Year



NEW YORK -- Toronto third baseman Eric Hinske won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday, and Colorado pitcher Jason Jennings was voted the NL's top rookie.

Hinske got 19 of 28 first-place votes and nine seconds to finish with 122 points in voting by a panel of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He hit .279 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs.

Baltimore right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who went 15-9 with a 3.57 ERA, was second with nine firsts, 17 seconds and one third for 97 points. Orioles reliever Jorge Julio was third with 14 points after going 5-6 with a 1.99 ERA and 25 saves.

The 25-year-old Hinske is Toronto's first player to win the award outright. Alfredo Griffin tied Minnesota's John Castino in the 1979 rookie voting.

"I just wanted to be staying in the big leagues the whole year," said Hinske, acquired from Oakland in the deal that sent closer Billy Koch to the Athletics. "The success I had was pretty surprising for me."

J.P. Ricciardi made the trade last November after leaving the A's, where he was director of player personnel, to become GM of the Blue Jays.

"I was stuck behind a pretty good player in Eric Chavez in Oakland," Hinske said. "J.P. Ricciardi, in bringing me over, said, 'It's your job to lose.' I can't thank him enough for giving me a chance to play every day."

The 24-year-old Jennings went 16-8 with a 4.52 ERA and became the first Colorado player to win the award. He got 27 firsts and five seconds for 150 points.

"The first months or even two months of the season, I wasn't even sure I'd be there the whole year. I had all my options left," Jennings said.

Montreal outfielder Brad Wilkerson, who batted .266 with 20 homers and 59 RBIs, was second with two firsts and 57 points. Cincinnati outfielder Austin Kearns also got two firsts and had 40 points after hitting .315 with 13 homers and 56 RBIs.

Los Angeles left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii got the other first-place vote and had 14 points. He went 14-10 with a 4.27 ERA in his first season since leaving the Japanese leagues.

Hinske, a member of the major league all-star team that will tour Japan this month, had the most homers by an AL rookie since Boston's Nomar Garciaparra hit 30 in 1997. Hinske's first career hit and RBIs came on a two-run single off Red Sox star Pedro Martinez on opening day.

After making 16 errors during the first half of the season, Hinske had just four in the second half.

He'll get a $50,000 bonus for winning the award. His salary last season was $200,000, the major league minimum.

Jennings went from Double-A in 2001 to the Rockies in the final weeks of the season. He began 2002 as Colorado's fifth starter but was more consistent than more heralded pitchers on the staff, including Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle. Despite a 5.65 ERA in 17 starts at hitter-friendly Coors Field, he went 9-4 there.

"Everybody knows it's an offensive park," Jennings said. "I just kind of expect the worst and hope for the best."

He said he's as happy with a 7-5 win at Coors as pitching a shutout.

"You can't worry about your ERA, your stats, your hits or anything like that because it's going to be high," he said.

Jennings, who made $206,000, did not have a bonus clause.