Beltre finishes second in NL voting

NEW YORK -- Barry Bonds won his record seventh NL MVP award in a walk.

Capping a season of suspicion and success, the San Francisco
Giants left fielder became the oldest player to win the award. The
40-year-old received 24 first-place votes and 407 points Monday in
balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America to earn
the award for the fourth straight season.

"I don't know if one is better than the other. They're all
overwhelming," Bonds said.

Los Angeles third baseman Adrian Beltre was second, getting six first-place votes and 311 points, and St. Louis first baseman
Albert Pujols was third with one first and 247 points. St. Louis
third baseman Scott Rolen got the other first-place vote and
finished fourth, followed by teammate Jim Edmonds.

Bonds is the only player with more than three MVP awards and the only one to win more than two in a row. Willie Stargell was
previously the oldest to win it, sharing the 1979 NL award with
Keith Hernandez at 39½.

Among the four major North American professional sports, he trails only the NHL's Wayne Gretzky, who won nine MVPs. In the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads with six.

Bonds said the lack of a World Series title motivates him, and
he intends to play two more seasons.

"I want that championship," he said. "I think that's the one
thing that's eluding me from enjoying these other

Bonds became only the third player to hit 700 career homers, and with 703 trails only Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). But
following his grand jury testimony in a federal investigation, he
repeatedly was questioned whether he used steroids.

His personal trainer has been indicted for illegal distribution
of steroids, but Bonds has denied using illegal steroids. He
wouldn't address an Oct. 16 report by the San Francisco Chronicle,
which said it obtained from an anonymous source a recording of the
trainer, Greg Anderson, on which Anderson says Bonds used
performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.

"I don't have an answer, I really don't. I don't really care about
all this stuff. I really don't," he said. "I don't owe anyone a
response to anything."

Bonds' season was unparalleled statistically. He hit .362 to win his second NL batting title in three seasons and shattered the
major league record with a .609 on-base percentage, topping the
previous mark of .582 he set two years ago.

He walked 232 times, 34 more than the previous record he set in 2002 and more than 100 better than anyone else in baseball this
season, and his 120 intentional walks obliterated the old mark of
68, also set by Bonds in 2002.

Bonds hit 45 homers in 373 at-bats, while Beltre hit a major
league-leading 48 in 598 at-bats and Pujols had 46 in 592.

"I never think I have a chance to win any awards being
walked," he said. "Your chances are minuscule compared to their

Bonds' .812 slugging percentage led the major leagues for the
fourth straight season but fell short of the record he set at .863
in 2001. He hit 45 homers and matched Aaron's NL record of eight
40-homer seasons, trailing only Ruth's major league mark of 11. He
also became the first player in major league history with 13
consecutive 30-homer seasons.

Bonds earned a $500,000 bonus for winning the award, and Beltre, Edmonds, Pujols and Rolen earned bonuses of $50,000 each.

The AL MVP award will be announced Tuesday.