It was a bit of a murky year in terms of Rookie of the Year candidates in both leagues, but in a bit of a coincidental twist, both winners — Chris Coghlan of the Marlins and the Andrew Bailey of the A’s — have ties to the Brewers.
Casey McGehee reportedly gained one first place vote, joining Philadelphia’s J.A. Happ (10), Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson (2), and Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutcheon (2) as players who gained first place votes in the National League. The winner, Coghlan, is the third Marlin to ever win the award, following Dontrelle Willis and Hanley Ramirez.
Milwaukee fans may remember Coghlan most for the infamous Home Run Ball Hostage Situation earlier this year. Coghlan hit his first career home run in Milwaukee, and the ball was caught by a fan who in turn submitted a list of demands that reportedly included items such as a signed bat from Hanley Ramirez and tickets to the Marlins/Brewers series in Miami later in the season. The incident drew criticism from around the country, and unfortunately painted Milwaukee fans in a fairly negative light.
Bailey also has past connections with the Brewers, being a former draft pick. The Crew drafted Bailey out of Wagner in the 16th round of the 2005 draft, but he elected to return to college rather than join the Brewers’ farm system. He was drafted by the A’s a year later in the 6th round. After a surprisingly successful season — 26 saves, 1.84 ERA, and a surprise All-Star selection — Bailey goes down in Brewers lore as another “what if he signed?” guy — other such players in the past include Nomar Garciaparra and Hunter Pence.
No one really expected McGehee to finish near the top of the balloting, despite a strong finish to his season. Still, the fact that he got a first place vote — if I had to guess, it was probably from Tom Haudricourt — is incredibly impressive considering where his career was at this time last year. Kudos to Casey for the strong season, and here’s to hoping he can keep it up…especially if the Brewers elect to go with him as the third baseman of the future over Mat Gamel.