(Reuters) - Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals became the youngest unanimous winner of Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Player Award, joining Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays in claiming 2015 MVP honors on Thursday.
Harper, who was 22 at the end of the National League regular season when the vote was taken, received all 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers’ Association of America members after batting .330, slugging 42 home runs and driving in 99.
The left-handed hitting outfielder, MLB’s Rookie of the Year in 2012, also became the first MVP to win representing a Washington franchise, including two incarnations of the American League Washington Senators.
Donaldson, traded to Toronto by the Oakland Athletics before the season, thrived with the Blue Jays, helping them end a 22-year absence in the postseason by claiming the American League East crown.
The third baseman clouted 41 home runs, drove in 123 runs for the high-powered Toronto attack, and batted .297.
”It’s amazing,“ Donaldson, 29, told MLB TV. ”I have to thank my teammates.
“Honestly, our team was so great, I was very blessed to be in the situation I was put in and I‘m very thankful and I felt like I was able to take advantage of a lot of the opportunities that were put in front of me.”
Harper, sidelined in previous seasons due to injuries suffered through his aggressive play in the outfield, enjoyed an injury-free season in 2015.
“To be on the field, that’s the main goal,” Harper said.
“I want to be able to do the things I can for my city, my town and that’s DC. Do the things every single day that I can to give back to them.”
Finishing second in the AL was Mike Trout, who was 23 when he won the 2014 MVP Award. The Angels’ Trout has finished runner-up in his three other major league seasons.
Lorenzo Cain of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals was third.
Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks was second to Harper, with Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto third.
Harper, whose fiery on-field persona has made him a target for opposing fans, said that fuels his performance.
”I enjoy getting booed when I go to places,“ Harper said. ”And it makes me thrive, it makes me play well.
“I‘m excited about what’s in the future for DC. Very excited to get going again next year.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Greg Stutchbury