Jose Abreu becomes first White Sox since Frank Thomas to win American League MVP

Keeping Jose Abreu around the South Side proved to be a wildly beneficial decision for the slugging first baseman and the Chicago White Sox.

The Cuban-born slugger, who endured six consecutive losing seasons to start his career, made his decision to re-up with the White Sox a wise one by putting together a monster season that culminated in him winning the American League Most Valuable Player award. 

Abreu, 33, was a free agent after the 2019 season and opted to re-sign with Chicago, agreeing to a three-year, $50 million contract. Let's just say it's working out for both sides. 

Abreu turned the 60-game pandemic-shortened season into one of his greatest, leading the AL in hits (76), RBI (60), slugging (.617) and total bases (148) and his 19 home runs ranked second. 

Jose Abreu drove in an AL-best 60 runs in 60 games. (Photo: David Banks, USA TODAY Sports)

Meanwhile, a long-awaited White Sox rebuild finally gained traction, as the club went 35-25, a group of young stars like Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez coalescing around Abreu.

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Abreu outpointed Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez for the award.

Ramirez, a 5-9, 190-pound bowling ball of offensive destruction, tied for the major league lead in Wins Above Replacement (3.4) in this shortened season. Yet his September surge measured up against any year – 10 home runs, a .366 average and a 1.294 OPS that lifted the Indians out of the doldrums and into nine wins in their final 11 games to claim the AL Central title. 

That wasn't enough to overcome Abreu, however, who claimed 21 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America. Ramirez claimed eight first place votes and Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who claimed the last first-place vote and finished third.

2020 AL MVP: José Abreu, White Sox

Full voting details: https://t.co/xNqRHmqYa7pic.twitter.com/v3txx8ZSaw

“This award is for my family, for Jerry (Reinsdorf) and the Chicago White Sox organization who gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues and made my mom’s dream come true," Abreu said in a statement. "To the fans and to all my coaches, teammates and everyone who has helped me and supported me, this is for you too. Thank you also to all the writers who voted for me.”

Abreu is the first White Sox MVP since Frank Thomas claimed the award in 1993 and '94. Dick Allen (1972) and Nellie Fox (1959) are the other White Sox MVPs. 

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