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Published November 16, 2003

Rocco is a rookie, so he should have won

It's time a little qualitative criteria be applied to the annual baseball rookie of the year selection process. The numbers don't tell a complete or fair story. Sure, Angel Berroa and Hideki Matsui may have had the better numbers, but for crying out loud, Berroa, 26, had 128 at-bats in the majors before the 2003 season. According to the Times, if he had three more pre-2003 at-bats he wouldn't have qualified for the award. Matsui, 29, was a seasoned Japanese big-leaguer for years.

Rocco Baldelli, only 21, jumped to the big show in 2003 from the provinces. Doesn't his young age and the rare leap he made from A ball to the big leagues mean anything? Don't tell me Berroa is the rookie of the year. Baldelli is.

-- Robert H. MacPherson, St. Petersburg

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