Before Thursday, the list of Giants players to be named both Rookie of the Year and MVP in their careers read: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey. Equally as long was the list of catchers to win those awards and a World Series title: Johnny Bench, Thurman Munson.
Both lists added a third name Thursday when Giants catcher Buster Posey was named the National League MVP, following a season in which Posey returned from injury to win a batting crown and help the Giants win their second World Series title in three seasons.
"Just to hear my name mentioned with those guys doesn't even seem real," Posey said on a conference call. "I've always been such a fan of the game and have such a huge amount of respect for what all those guys accomplished, and just to be able to be mentioned alongside them means a great deal to me."
Posey won in a landslide vote by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, receiving 27 of 32 first-place votes and 422 total points. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, last year's winner, received three first-place votes in finishing second, and Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was third.
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera was named the American League MVP after he became the first player in 45 years to win the triple crown, beating out the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, the unanimous Rookie of the Year. Cabrera received 22 of 28 first-place votes and Trout the remaining six.
Posey batted .336 to become the first N.L. catcher to win a batting title since Ernie Lombardi in 1942, led the league in on-base percentage (.408) and hit 24 home runs with 103 RBIs.
General manager Brian Sabean said in a statement released by the Giants that he "couldn't be happier" for Posey.
"He is establishing himself as one of the premier athletes in baseball today," Sabean said. "His leadership and ability to produce offensively and play solid defense behind the plate makes him one of the most exciting and valuable players in either league."
Posey is the first Giant to win the MVP award since Barry Bonds in 2004, and the first N.L. catcher since Bench in 1972. At 25, Posey's résumé now includes the MVP and rookie awards, the Hank Aaron Award for the league's top offensive player, two World Series titles and the Comeback Player of the Year award.
"I'm not sure it has (sunk in)," Posey said. "I think I've been fortunate since I've been here to play with some really good players and play on some good teams."
When the season began, Posey was less than a year removed from the May 2011 home-plate collision that left him with a fractured fibula and torn ankle ligaments. He recovered in time for spring training, then answered questions about his durability by playing in 148 games during the regular season, including 111 starts at catcher.
Offensively, Posey caught fire after the All-Star break, hitting .385 with 14 homers and 60 RBIs to help the Giants weather Melky Cabrera's drug suspension in August and run away with the N.L. West. He handled a pitching staff that ranked seventh in the majors with a 3.68 ERA, though he rarely caught starters Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.
"To go through what he's gone through over the past year and then do what he did in 2012, not many people can do that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in a statement. "He's so valuable with the way he catches, handles the staff and hits cleanup while handling all that's thrown at him."
Posey was in his hometown of Leesburg, Ga., when the award was announced, attending a charity event at a school where his mother teaches. A camera for the MLB Network showed him breaking into a grin while holding one of his 15-month-old twins and flanked by family and friends.
Later, Posey said he wasn't sure if the award meant more in the wake of his injury and the work he put into his recovery.
"I do know I definitely have a deeper appreciation for being able to play baseball," Posey said. "I've seen it can be taken away quick.
"Just hopefully I can continue to embrace the game and enjoy it because I really do feel like that was my mind-set coming back was to enjoy being out there, regardless of outcome, of how you do. Just try to appreciate each minute that you're out there."
TOP FIVE MVP VOTING
With first-, second- and third-place votes and total points based on a 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis:
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Buster Posey, Giants 27 4 1 422
Ryan Braun, Brewers 3 15 10 285
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates - 6 13 245
Yadier Molina, Cardinals 2 6 8 241
Chase Headley, Padres - - - 127
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 22 6 - 362
Mike Trout, Angels 6 21 1 281
Adrian Beltre, Rangers - 1 16 210
Robinson Cano, Yankees - - 6 149
Josh Hamilton, Rangers - - - 127