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Phillies’ Bryce Harper wins 2nd National League MVP award

NEW YORK — Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper won his second National League MVP on Thursday, beating young stars Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr.

Harper received 17 of 30 first-place votes and 348 points in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Soto was second with six firsts and 274 points, and Tatis third with two firsts and 244 points.

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“To be able to win this award again means so much to me personally,” said Harper. “I take pride in giving my all every time I’m on the field and playing the game the right way. I have great teammates and an incredible fan base who pushed me all season and helped bring this award back home to the great city of Philadelphia.”

Harper, 29, slashed .309/.429/.615 in 599 plate appearances over 141 games for the Phillies this season. With 101 runs, 100 walks, 42 doubles and 35 home runs, he became just the fourth outfielder in the history of Major League Baseball with 100 runs, 100 walks, 40 doubles and 35 home runs in a season, joining Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Stan Musial.

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“What Bryce did this season was extraordinary,” said Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton. “With this award he joins a fraternity of some of the greatest players to ever wear a Phillies uniform. I am so happy for Bryce that his historic 2021 season is being recognized with numerous honors and the pinnacle of them all, the Most Valuable Player Award.”

Harper led the majors in slugging percentage, OPS (1.044) and OPS+ (179) and he led the National League in doubles, extra-base hits (78) and Win Probability Added (4.74). Harper and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. were the only two players in MLB this season to post a .300/.400/.600 slash line as Harper became just the fourth Phillies player since 1900 to do so, joining Ryan Howard, Chuck Klein and Lefty O’Doul.

In the second half of the season, Harper slashed .338/.476/.713 in 311 plate appearances as he started each of the Phillies’ final 72 games. In those 72 games, Harper played in 607.2 of the club’s final 635.0 innings (95.7%). His .713 slugging percentage and 49 extra-base hits after the All-Star break led MLB and his 1.188 OPS was the third-highest in club history in the second half. His 49 extra-base hits after the break were the most by a player in Phillies franchise history and the most of his career. He became the first player in MLB with a .300/.400/.700 slash line after the break since Howard in 2006 and the first NL outfielder since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa in 2001.

Having completed his second league MVP season before turning 29 years old, Harper becomes just the 15th player in history to do so, per the Elias Sports Bureau. He joins Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Barry Bonds, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Juan Gonzalez, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Dale Murphy, Stan Musial, Hal Newhouser, Albert Pujols, Frank Thomas and Mike Trout as the only players in the history of Major League Baseball with multiple league MVP awards before the age of 29.

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For the Phillies, Harper is the sixth player to win the MVP Award in franchise history as he joins Jimmy Rollins (2007), Howard (2006), Mike Schmidt (1980, 1981, 1986), Jim Konstanty (1950) and Klein (1931, 1932).

In addition to being named National League MVP, Harper was the NL recipient of the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league, as voted on by a panel of Hall of Fame players and fans. Further, Harper was selected by the Major League Baseball Players Association as NL Outstanding Player of the Year, as voted on by his fellow players. He was also named a 2021 Stan Musial Award winner by the St. Louis Sports Commission in celebration of the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and those in sports who embody class and character. Finally, Harper won his second career Silver Slugger Award in 2021.

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