NEW YORK — Mookie Betts closed the book on the best season of his career on Saturday night when he accepted his Most Valuable Player award at the 96th annual New York Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner.
“Definitely. It’s all over now,” Betts said. “A couple more weeks until spring training starts. I’m in work mode now. Last season is over.”
Betts said he has been ramping up his workouts and plans to arrive in Fort Myers, Fla., for spring training Feb. 12.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski presented Betts with the award before a sellout crowd at the New York Hilton.
Betts joined Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt as the only players in history to win the MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and World Series in the same season. Schmidt did it in 1980 for the Philadelphia Phillies.
“He’s truly one of the faces of our game and all by the age of 26 years old,” Dombrowski said.
“It’s gratifying to be here giving my MVP speech as a member of the Boston Red Sox World Series champions, but doing that in New York City,” Betts said, drawing playful boos from the crowd.
Betts then thanked the Red Sox front office, coaching staff, his teammates, agents, and family. His girlfriend, Brianna, was in attendance with their 3-month-old daughter, Kynlee.
“Kynlee, I do want to say thank you for the two hours of sleep I get every night,” Betts said.
For Dombrowski, the night was another reminder of how well Betts conducts himself off the field.
“It’s how he is in the clubhouse, how people respect him, how he provides leadership,” Dombrowski said. “He plays the game hard. He represents the organization in the right way, and that’s the type of guy you want. He was tremendous.”
At what was a formal dinner, Betts dressed as distinctively as he plays. He wore a dark green tuxedo jacket with a peacock-feather pattern, a fedora adorned with a feather, and custom-made gray Air Jordan sneakers with “MVP” stitched on the back.
National League MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers joined Betts at the head table, along with the other BBWAA award winners. New Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera and former Mets third baseman David Wright also were in attendance.
One of the honorees, former Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, announced he has been cancer-free for four months. Alderson left the Mets in July after being diagnosed.
Red Sox lefthander David Price, who was voted to receive the Babe Ruth Postseason MVP award, did not attend.