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The Sox reportedly awarded Manny a two-thirds share - probably because that’s how far down the first base line he usually got when he grounded out.

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Surprising fact about Ramirez: Not only has he never won a league MVP Award - despite 527 homers, 1,725 RBI and a .314 career average - he has gotten only six first-place votes for MVP (four in ‘99, one in ‘03 and one in ‘04).

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This will surprise you, too: Mark McGwire got just three first-place votes for MVP (one in ‘92 and two in ‘98).

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Trivia question: One member of the 500-homer club has never received a first-place vote in the MVP balloting. Who is he? (Answer below.)

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For weeks now I’ve been trying to decide who Rays manager Joe Maddon - he of the white hair and black-rimmed glasses - looks like. An older Elvis Costello? Drew Carey’s father? Then it hit me: He’s a dead ringer for Spencer Tracy in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Talk about twins separated at birth.

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One reason hockey is better than baseball: The record for shutouts by a goaltender - 103 by Terry Sawchuk - could well be broken this season by the Devils’ Martin Brodeur, who just racked up his 97th.

The record for shutouts by a pitcher, on the other hand - 110 by Senators icon Walter Johnson - will never be broken, not unless they start putting sawdust in the balls. Nobody in the last half-century has had more than 63 (Warren Spahn), and no active pitcher has more than 37 (Randy Johnson).

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Answer to trivia question: Jim Thome. (The White Sox slugger has gotten MVP votes in eight different seasons and finished as high as fourth in ‘03 with the Phillies, but he has never received a first-place vote.)

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Story Continues →