NEW YORK — Aaron Judge‘s record-setting season with the New York Yankees turned that AL MVP debate into a decisive verdict.
Paul Goldschmidt‘s steady production for the St. Louis Cardinals made him the clear choice in the National League.
And after coming in second before, both prodigious sluggers powered their way to their first MVP awards Thursday night.
“It’s tough to put in words,” Judge said on MLB Network, surrounded by his beaming wife, parents and agents. “It’s an incredible, incredible moment. A lot of hard work throughout the years to get to this point.”
After hitting 62 home runs to break the American League record, Judge easily beat out Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani in an MVP race some thought might be close.
The 6-foot-7 outfielder received 28 of 30 first-place votes and two seconds for 410 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel. Ohtani, last year’s winner, was picked first on two ballots and second on the other 28 for 280 points.
Yordan Alvarez of the World Series champion Houston Astros finished third.
Judge acknowledged feeling “extremely nervous” about the announcement, calling Ohtani “by far one of the best players on this planet.”
“You never want to assume anything,” Judge said. “Both those guys had incredible years.”
Goldschmidt won the NL honor for the first time after a couple of close calls earlier in his career. The first baseman garnered 22 of 30 first-place votes and eight seconds for 380 points from a separate BBWAA panel.
“It’s a great honor. But it isn’t just about me,” Goldschmidt said. “I mean, there’s been so many people that have helped me.”
San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado finished second with 291 points after getting seven first-place votes and 13 seconds.
Nolan Arenado, teammates with Goldschmidt on the NL Central champion Cardinals, came in third with 232 points. Arenado was picked first on one ballot, second on two and third on 15.
Goldschmidt gave the Cardinals their 18th MVP, second among big league teams to the Yankees (21).
Now a free agent, Judge broke the AL record of 61 homers set by Yankees slugger Roger Maris in 1961.
The tallest MVP in major league history, Judge also led the majors in runs (133), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), OPS (1.111), extra-base hits (90) and total bases (391) to help the Yankees win the AL East. He tied for the big league lead with 131 RBIs and was…