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Braves’ Freddie Freeman beats out Mookie Betts, Manny Machado for NL MVP award

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman easily won the National League MVP award Thursday, topping off a trying year that saw him become so ill with COVID-19 he prayed, “Please don’t take me.”

Freeman got 28 of the 30 first-place ballots in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts got the other two firsts to finish second, and San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado was third.

In a season affected from spring training to the World Series by the pandemic, perhaps it was fitting the final major award of the year went to someone who had been infected by the virus.

Three weeks before the delayed Opening Day in late July, Freeman’s body temperature spiked at 104.5 degrees and he lost his sense of taste and smell. At one point, he recalled, he said a little prayer because “I wasn’t ready.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale8

“I got off to such a slow start,” Freeman said on MLB Network after Dale Murphy, a two-time NL MVP with the Braves, announced the winner. “I just didn’t know when I would get my legs back.”

The 31-year-old star bounced back in a big way, batting .341 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs while playing all 60 games. A powerful lefty batter with the ability to spray the ball all over the field, he led the majors in hitting 23 doubles and scoring 51 runs.

Boosted by the four-time All-Star, the Braves won the NL East and came within one win of reaching the World Series for the first time since 1999.

Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu earned the American League MVP, a recognition for leading his team back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.nfl cheap jerseys nike

This was the first time since Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau in 2006 that a pair of first basemen won the MVPs.

Betts, 28, was bidding to join Frank Robinson as the only players to win the MVP in both leagues. The outfielder earned the AL honor in 2018 while leading Boston to the World Series title.

Traded by the Red Sox to Los Angeles early this year, Betts hit .292 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs and was the catalyst in the Dodgers’ run to their first championship since 1988.

Machado hit .304 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs as San Diego made its first playoff appearance since 2006.