Joe Mauer winning the American League Most Valuable Player award wasn't much of a surprise, as he was the prevailing favorite through most of the season.
It probably also isn't much of a surprise that Mauer didn't receive a unanimous vote. There were other worthy candidates, such as the Yankees' Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter, or the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.
But would you have guessed that it was a lone vote for Cabrera that prevented Mauer from being a unanimous winner? Or that it wasn't one of the Detroit beat writers who cast that vote?
Mauer received 27 of 28 first-place votes, winning the MVP by a wide margin over second-place finisher Teixeira. But that one vote for Cabrera kind of sticks out. Especially when writers such as SI.com's Jon Heyman and FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal considered leaving Cabrera off their ballots entirely because of The Events of October 3.
So who voted for Cabrera? Not Tom Gage or Jim Hawkins, who infamously voted for Magglio Ordonez in 2007, instead of Alex Rodriguez. Not Steve Kornacki, who gave his first-place AL Cy Young Award vote to Justin Verlander last week, instead of Zack Greinke.
No, this came from out west. (Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it came from the Far East.) The vote for Cabrera came from Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News, a member of the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Is it an "indefensible" vote, as Rob Neyer called Kornacki's vote for Verlander? I guess it is, as I can't mount much of a defense for Cabrera over Mauer. (Though I didn't agree with Kornacki not voting for Greinke, I understood his reasoning.)
For what it's worth, in voting for the SBN Baseball Awards, I had Cabrera eighth on my ballot. Though I shudder to think where the Tigers would've finished without Cabrera in their lineup, there were too many big series and important games in which he didn't make an impact. (And, of course, there's the one game where he rendered himself incapable of a positive contribution.)
Mauer, meanwhile, had an all-time great season for a catcher (the most punishing position in baseball) and, as Tigers fans know painfully well, ended up playing for a first-place team. (When the Twins looked as if they'd fallen out of the playoff race, that seemed to be the lone justification for not giving Mauer a MVP vote.)
Will Konishi be spoken of in infamy years from now, as Gage and Hawkins still are? It's not like Mauer's award counts any less for not coming with a unanimous vote. There's no asterisk here. Some voters and fans might feel he was deprived of a singular honor. But trophies stand forever.