The Royals had a Rookie of the Year in their very first year. The Angels were four years old when they celebrated their first Cy Young.
Well, does Comeback Player of the Year count?
|Could an MVP be next for Evan Longoria? (US Presswire)|
That is exactly why the Rays will be celebrating this week, just as they've celebrated so many other weeks this year.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was named the American League Rookie of the Year award on Monday. Wednesday is Manager of the Year day, and if Joe Maddon doesn't win, well, if Maddon doesn't win, there probably shouldn't be a Manager of the Year award anymore.
So it should be two BBWAA awards in three days for the Rays, who in their first 10 seasons won. .. well, Carlos Pena was the Comeback Player of the Year in 2007.
And did you know that Quinton McCracken was once the American League Player of the Week?
The Rays have a page in their media guide dedicated to award winners, but they had a little trouble filling it out. McCracken made it, and so did Damon Hollins, who was the American League's Rookie of the Month in May 2005.
Hollins was in Japan two years later, and he spent this season in Triple-A with the Royals. That's how it goes sometimes for top rookies, although likely not for Longoria, who seems more likely to be a future Most Valuable Player than a future Omaha Royal.
The Rays don't have a strong contender for this year's American League MVP, which will be announced next week. They don't have a top Cy Young candidate, either.
Their lineup was too balanced to provide an MVP candidate, and their rotation too balanced to provide a Cy Young. But that's fine, because there's no shame in waiting a while to get your first MVP.
The Mets still don't have one, and they've won two World Series. Same goes for the Marlins, another two-time October winner.
And it's been 55 years since anyone from the Indians won (Al Rosen, 1953, but at least he was a unanimous pick).
Until now, though, the Rays were the only one of the 30 big-league teams that had never won any of the four BBWAA awards. No MVP, no Cy Young, no Rookie of the Year, no Manager of the Year.
So if this had happened last year, if they'd been in line to win two of the awards in three days, it would have been a very, very big thing. Maybe not so big as selling a couple of extra cowbells, changing the team's nickname or announcing that parking would be free, but still, very big.
"Oh, absolutely," said Vaughn, who has been with the franchise since 1996, two years before the then-Devil Rays played their first game. "Are you kidding?"
Vaughn was the one responsible for those awards pages, the one responsible for trying to convince writers to at least consider voting for Tampa Bay. And yes, Steve Cox once got a third-place Rookie of the Year vote.
Roberto Hernandez got one third-place Cy Young vote. Rocco Baldelli finished third in the 2003 Rookie of the Year voting, and Delmon Young actually finished second in 2007.
None of those guys won. None of those guys came all that close to winning.
This was never a week Vaughn had to pay that much attention to in the past, just as October was never a month for Tampa Bay baseball in the past.
So much has changed in the Rays' world this year. So much is different, and so much is better.
And just think, next year they'll have actual awards to put on the awards page in their media guide.