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Joe Cowley: The most hated man in Yankeeland [after A-Rod]

From the NY Post:

November 22, 2006 -- Joe Cowley placing Derek Jeter sixth on his American League MVP ballot didn't cost the Yankee captain the award. Even if the Chicago Sun-Times writer had put the shortstop atop his list, Jeter still would have finished second to Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.

Still, Cowley, who covers the White Sox, took a beating yesterday across the country for voting Jeter sixth on a 10-man ballot.

"I look at two things unless the numbers are just so freaky," said Cowley. "One, the player has to play on a contending team, and two, is this the guy who single-handedly carried his team?

"I look at all the numbers and what I see first hand. Morneau is the heart of that team and had a lot of clutch hits. Take him out of the lineup and that team is in the middle of the pack.

"Derek Jeter had nice numbers, but you could plug another guy in that lineup and that guy would have close to his numbers."

Since Morneau garnered 15 first-place votes to Jeter's 12, Cowley wasn't alone in voting for Morneau, who carried the Twins to a late-season tear that resulted in them winning the AL Central.

Yet, sixth?

"To me, too many people go by too many numbers," said Cowley, who had White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye second, Twins pitcher Johan Santana third, Oakland DH Frank Thomas fourth and Boston DH David Ortiz fifth.

"Jeter plays in a great offensive lineup."

Danny Knobler, who covers the Tigers for the Booth Group, had Jeter fourth behind Morneau, Thomas and Joe Mauer. Even if Knobler, who is out of the country and unavailable for comment, and Cowley voted Jeter first he still wouldn't have won.

Evan Grant from the Dallas Morning News gave Santana his lone first-place vote. Santana, the AL Cy Young winner, finished seventh. Grant, who covers the Rangers, voted Jeter second and Morneau third.

"Maybe because of the team I cover I over-value starting pitcher, but the Twins were 27-7 when Santana pitched, 14-0 at home and 24-3 after Aug. 15," Grant said.

This isn't the first time Cowley has been in the eye of an MVP controversy.

In 2003, when he worked for the Daily Southtown, Cowley left Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells off his ballot. Chicago chapter chairman Paul Sullivan suspended Cowley from voting the following year because he didn't think Cowley took the voting seriously and "embarrassed" the Chicago chapter.

You can also download Cowley's entire interview from Mike and the Mad Dog explaining his now infamous vote.