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Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander captured the AL rookie of the year award Monday. ((Frank Franklin II/Associated Press))

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez were named major-league baseball's rookies of the year on Monday.

Ramirezwon the National League award, beating out Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman by only four points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America — the closest vote since the current format was introduced 26 years ago.

"I'm so happy," Ramirez said. "I want to thank each one of my teammates, because every day they gave me the energy to play in the big leagues."

Ramirez received 14 of 30 first-place votes and finished with 105 points. Zimmerman got 10 first-place votes and 101 points.

"To tell you the truth, you can't be disappointed, because you had a great year," Zimmerman said. "I knew it was going to be a really close vote, and that made it kind of easier. It was a tough year to be a rookie, because there were so many good ones."

Three of the top four NL finishers were Marlins. Second baseman Dan Uggla (six first-place votes) finished third and starting pitcher Josh Johnson (two first-place votes)was fourth.

The 22-year-old Ramirez, acquired from Boston last November, batted .292 with 17 home runs, 59 RBIs and 51 stolen bases.He also hit 46 doubles and 11 triples.

Easy victory for Verlander

Verlander was a near-unanimous choice for the American League honour after his closest competitors, both pitchers, went down with injuries late in the season.

Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, felled by a sore shoulder, finished second. Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano, who last week underwent ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction — also known as Tommy John surgery — on his pitching elbow, was third.

Verlander received 26 of a possible 28 first-place votes, withLiriano and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis getting the others.

"I was pretty excited. I was actually outside washing the car. I totally forgot that today was the day it was announced," Verlander said. "It was pretty fun just to be a part of this rookie class."

Verlander, 23, went 17-9 with a 3.63 ERAen route tohelping the Tigers reach the World Series. Hebecame the first starting pitcher to win AL rookie of the year since Dave Righetti of the New York Yankees did it in 1981.

With files from the Associated Press