Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

'Beckham-Mania' honored by his peers

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47750427.jpgFrom Day 1 of spring training, it was obvious to White Sox veterans like A.J. Pierzynski that Gordon Beckham wasn't your typical wide-eyed rook trying to survive his first major-league camp.
So all Tuesday was for Beckham was a stamp on the 2009 season.
A panel of 338 major-league players voted the third baseman The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year, making the 23-year-old Beckham the ninth rookie in franchise history to be honored by the magazine with manager Ozzie Guillen last receiving that honor in 1985.
Philadelphia pitcher J.A. Happ won the award for the National League.
"All these awards that come out now, they're awards for the players the last year,'' Beckham said. "That's great, but for everybody, the next year is the biggest year. There's no way I'm going to get caught up with awards from the previous seasons. Nothing is ever given to you in baseball, so now you have to prepare for the next season.''
It's that exact attitude which the Sox love about Beckham.
Not that it didn't hurt that he also batted .270 with 28 doubles, 14 home runs and 63 RBIs along the way, despite not being promoted to the Sox until June 4. But the Sox feel they have something special with Beckham because of his make-up.
He stated on several occasions this season that he wanted to be the leader of the team when the time comes, and manager Ozzie Guillen said on Tuesday that the time might come sooner than later.
"I wish that kid was a two or three-year veteran in the big leagues because he has that attitude,'' Guillen said. "He has that right frame of mind. He was a leader his whole life from when he was in high school, college. I think he wants to be the face of the franchise and we need something like that. When a player thinks like that, doesn't hide in the weeds, you don't see many players come up from the minor leagues and think that way. It's a big challenge. But I don't have a doubt in my mind that he has the right tools to be one. Obviously, it has to come from help from myself, Ken Williams and the staff to make him a great leader.''
Adding to Beckham's first-year resume was the fact that he made the switch to third base, after spending his entire life playing shortstop, including at the University of Georgia where he was picked 8th overall in the 2008 draft.
"It's a very important step for him in his career,'' Guillen said. "You look at the players mentioned in the past, it's a great group. You look how you start your career and [this award] is a very important one to have. You can only win this once.''
Beckham is also a candidate for the American League Rookie of the Year as voted on by the sports writers, but to be given that honor by his peers was admittedly a bit more special.
"It's very special either way,'' Beckham added. "Everyone has their opinion. The media has theirs and the players have theirs. When it comes down to it I would rather have the players' vote rather than the media.
"When I first heard I won, I didn't even know who voted on it. I was happy to hear that it was the players. It made it special, but it's all special.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on October 20, 2009 4:16 PM.

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