11/13/2006 2:00 PM ET
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- To fully appreciate Hanley Ramirez's rookie season, some historical perspective is needed.
The gifted 22-year-old Marlins shortstop posted some first-year numbers that rival some of the game's all-time greats.
Consider, Ramirez is the first National League rookie ever to post 110-plus runs and 50-plus stolen bases. And he is the second Major League rookie since 1900 with 115-plus runs scored and 50-plus stolen bases. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki accomplished the feat in 2001.
Ramirez joined the legendary Ernie Banks (19 in 1954) as the second rookie in NL history to log 17-plus homers while playing 100-plus games at shortstop. And he is the fifth MLB player since 1900 to collect 45-plus doubles and have 50-plus stolen bases. That exclusive club is occupied by Hall of Famers: Ty Cobb (47/83 in 1911), Tris Speaker (53/52 in 1912) and Lou Brock (46/62 in 1968). Rounding out the list is multiple All-Star Craig Biggio (51/50 in 1998).
Such lofty standards haven't gone unnoticed as Ramirez on Monday was tabbed the Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year winner by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
In the closest NL vote since 1980, Ramirez was named the winner over Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. In all, three of the top four choices were Marlins. Florida All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla was third, and right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson was fourth.
Going a step further, six of the 12 rookies who received votes were Marlins, marking the first time in league history one team has had that many contenders. Pitchers Scott Olsen and Anibal Sanchez and outfielder Josh Willingham each picked up one third-place vote.
Ramirez is the second Marlins player ever to claim the award. In the franchise's 2003 World Series championship season, pitcher Dontrelle Willis was presented the award.
Among a strong rookie field, Ramirez placed first on 14 of 32 ballots cast by two writers in each league city. He was listed second on 11 and third on two for a total of 105 points. Zimmerman, who batted .287 with 47 doubles, 20 home runs and 110 RBIs, received 10 first-place, 16-second and three third-place votes, for 101 points.
The four-point difference made 2006 the closest National League rookie vote since this system was adopted in 1980. The previous narrow margin was in 1982 when Steve Sax of the Dodgers beat out Johnny Ray of the Pirates. That year, Sax received 63 votes to Ray's 57.
Before 1980, writers voted for one player. In 1976, the National League featured its only rookie tie, as the award went to Butch Metzger of the Padres and Pat Zachry of the Reds.
Uggla received six first-place votes and finished third with 55 points. Johnson, who had a 12-7 record and 3.10 ERA, compiled 11 votes.
Leading off for the surprising Marlins, Ramirez batted .292 with 46 doubles, 11 triples, 17 home runs, 119 runs scored, 51 stolen bases and 59 RBIs.
Ramirez set team rookie records for batting average -- tying Jeff Conine's .292 in 1993 -- doubles, triples, hits (185) and runs scored.
His 46 doubles are second most by a Marlin, topped only by the 50 Miguel Cabrera posted this past season. His 119 runs scored are second in team history, and tied for fifth most in the National League.
Additionally, Ramirez had seven leadoff homers, tying Nomar Garciaparra (1997) for a Major League season rookie standard. His leadoff homer total is a Florida season and all-time record.
Setting the tempo at the top of the order, Ramirez was a major factor in the Marlins being arguably the most surprising team in the league in 2006.
Financially strapped because no new stadium plan is in place, the Marlins dramatically reduced payroll. Ramirez was brought in as part of the salary purge, coming to the Marlins along with Sanchez in the blockbuster deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox.
Regarded as one of the league's top prospects during his Minor League career with Boston, Ramirez certainly lived up to expectations. As strong as his numbers were, his future appears even brighter.
Thrust into a leadership capacity, Ramirez was asked to assume a table-setter role at the top of the order along with playing shortstop. While he committed 26 errors, a number of those miscues were a result of inexperience.
Still, he also made a number of web-gem plays, including ranging up the middle and making a strong throw to rob Stephen Drew of a single in the seventh inning of Sanchez's no-hitter on Sept. 6 against the Diamondbacks.
Despite seeing so much action in his rookie year, Ramirez got stronger late in the season. In September and October, he batted .352 (43-for-122), and his average after the All-Star break was .319 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs.
With so much upside, Ramirez projects to be a force for years to come.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.