These days, nobody is standing taller.
The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"I was surprised that I won it," Altuve said. "I wasn't expecting this."
Altuve batted a major-league-best .346. He had 204 hits, 24 home runs and 81 RBIs for the World Series champion Astros.
It's been over a decade since Altuve signed with Houston from Venezuela -- only after he was sent home from one tryout and told he was too short.
"They told me not to come back," Altuve said. "It was something me and my dad, he went with me that day, we were like, 'We have to go again. We have to try again.'"
"It's not a rule that you have to be 6-foot or you have to be really strong to play baseball and become a good player," he added.
Altuve beat out a player who couldn't be more different. The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.
Altuve said on ESPN's SportsCenter that winning the MVP has fueled him for years to come.
"Winning the MVP has made me want to keep getting better and keep helping my team for the next whatever years."
Altuve is one of two second basemen in MLB history to hit .330 in a season with 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases, along with Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (once). Altuve has done it in each of the past two seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Altuve is the second Astros player to win an MVP, joining Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell in 1994.
He is the third player during the wild-card era to be named his league's MVP in the same year that his team won the World Series. The other players to do that since 1995 are Buster Posey (2012 Giants) and Kris Bryant (2016 Cubs), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
In the race for the NL award, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. The Marlins were 77-85.
"I'm so thankful it happened and I'm going to enjoy this and work to get better," Stanton said on ESPN's SportsCenter.
Stanton finished the season batting .281 with 168 hits, 59 HRs and 132 RBIs. His homer total was the most in the majors since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit a record 73 and Sammy Sosa had 64.
Stanton got 10 first-place votes and 302 points in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Votto also got 10 firsts and had 300 points.
"Just so close," Votto said, according to MLB.com, after learning the outcome. "[I'm] really, really grateful for the support. I cannot believe how close it was. I just can't believe coming up two points short. It's so cool in a way coming up that short. Most of the time it's a landslide or it's clear. This wasn't that. That was one of the entertaining aspects of it. Because Giancarlo and I did things so differently and because we're both on losing clubs, it was for me a very interesting vote."
"I don't feel terribly disappointed, not really because I think that it was just two very, very good seasons that went head-to-head," Votto said.
Stanton is the first player in Marlins history to win an MVP award.
He led the majors in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits and slugging percentage, each of which set a Marlins single-season record, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Votto topped the majors with a .454 on-base percentage. Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was third in the voting.
The last player from a losing team to win an MVP was Alex Rodriguez, who took the AL award in 2003 with Texas. The last NL MVP from a losing team was Andre Dawson with the 1987 Chicago Cubs.
Stanton joins Dan Marino and LeBron James as the only Miami pro athletes in a major sport to win MVP.
"That's definitely good company," Stanton said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.