ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has his own definition of a Most Valuable Player.
"Hopefully, an MVP is somebody who excels at their position and at the plate, but most of all, does things consistently right and does whatever he needs to do to help his team win," Hamilton said. "Hopefully, I did that the majority of the season when I was playing."
The voters certainly felt that way. Hamilton was selected on Tuesday as the American League's 2010 Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Hamilton received 22 of 28 possible first-place votes to beat out Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
He is the fifth Rangers player to win the award.
"It's obviously a great honor," Hamilton said. "There are a lot of deserving players. I give all the glory to God. Without him, it wouldn't be possible."
Jeff Burroughs was the first Ranger to win AL MVP when he was selected in 1974. Juan Gonzalez won in 1996 and 1998, Ivan Rodriguez won in 1999 and Alex Rodriguez was the last Rangers player to win it in 2003.
"It's awesome, but I said during the season that if I could give up the MVP and instead go to the playoffs and win in the playoffs, I would do just that," Hamilton said. "To be able to accomplish both is awesome."
The Rangers won the AL West for the first time since 1999 and went to the World Series for the first time in franchise history before losing to the Giants in five games. Hamilton was a big reason why the Rangers enjoyed the best season in franchise history.
"Obviously, going to the World Series was great but also realizing how we got to that point," Hamilton said. "We got to that point by all having the same common goal and believing we can accomplish that goal. It was the most fun you can have in baseball with a great group of guys and playing with one common goal. That's hard to find at the Major League level. That's very rare. Hopefully, we can maintain that for a few more years."
Despite missing almost all of September with two small fractures in his left rib cage, Hamilton led the AL in batting with a .359 average while finishing with 95 runs scored, 40 doubles, three triples, 32 home runs and 100 RBIs. He also led the league with a .633 slugging percentage and was second with a .411 on-base percentage.
"Josh is one of the, if not the most, gifted guys I have ever played with," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. "He can do things on the field that not many guys can do. The scary thing is that he can get better. It's only his fourth year in the league, and he can still find a way to improve. I'm certain he will find a way."
The MVP is another major accomplishment for a player whose career was almost completely ruined by his personal battle with drugs and alcohol. Hamilton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, missed 3 1/2 years because of his situation before being given one last chance in 2006.
Selected by the Cubs in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft, Hamilton was the dealt to the Reds for cash consideration. After a season in Cincinnati, Hamilton was traded to the Rangers on Dec. 21, 2007.
"It's awesome to think about where I am at this moment and where I was," Hamilton said. "There was a 99 percent chance this would never happen and a lot of people would have agreed. There was a 100 percent chance that it wouldn't have happened on my own, but the important thing is I didn't do it on my own. With God, all things are possible."
Hamilton has already been named the Sporting News Major League Player of the Year and won the Players Choice Award for AL Outstanding Player. He also won a Silver Slugger Award, the New York BBWAA Chapter Sid Mercer-Dick Young Player of the Year Award and the Boston BBWAA Chapter Ted Williams Award as baseball's top hitter.
In addition, Hamilton has been nominated for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year. Voting for the AL MVP was done before the playoffs began, but Hamilton also took home the MVP Award for the AL Championship Series after the Rangers defeated the Yankees in six games.
Hamilton said he is not content with what he has already accomplished.
"My relationship with Christ will keep me from being content," Hamilton said. "I want to be better in all areas of my life. As a competitor and an athlete, the way I'm wired, I want to do better and be the best I can at all times.
"I work hard at practicing and getting ready for games. I've seen it in players in the past who have all the talent in the world but didn't have the work ethic. The Lord has blessed me with the ability to work as hard as I can to show the talent He gave me to play the game."
Hamilton received a total of 358 points in the voting. Cabrera received five first-place votes and had 262. Cano had 229. Toronto's Jose Bautista, who slugged 54 home runs, received the other first-place vote but finished fourth.
Cabrera hit .328 with 111 runs scored, 38 home runs and a league-leading 126 RBIs for the Tigers. He led the league with a .420 on-base percentage while finishing second with a .622 slugging percentage.
Cano batted .319 for the Yankees with 103 runs scored, 29 home runs and 109 RBIs. He had a .381 on-base percentage, a .534 slugging percentage and won a Gold Glove for his defense.