NEW YORK -- Both Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira hoisted the ultimate team hardware above their heads this month at Yankee Stadium, holding the 2009 World Series championship trophy high for all to see.
Given their choice of hardware to accept, neither Yankees star would trade places with Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who was officially crowned the American League's Most Valuable Player on Monday afternoon by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Mauer won the award handily, receiving 27 of 28 first-place votes to garner 387 points.
It was a terrific season for both Bombers, who each stated convincing cases to be acknowledged as the most valuable players in helping the Yankees to 103 regular-season victories before going on to achieve the organization's greatest mission.
But when the results were tallied, Teixeira and Jeter ran behind Mauer, who led the Major Leagues with a .365 batting average and belted 28 home runs with 96 RBIs, heading the charge as the Twins rallied for the AL Central title before falling to the Yankees in the AL Division Series.
Neither Jeter nor Teixeira garnered a first-place vote from the members of the BBWAA. One first-place vote was given to the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.
Teixeira finished second with 225 total points, receiving 15 second-place votes, six third-place votes, four fourth-place votes and one vote each for fifth, sixth and eighth.
Jeter came in third with 193 total points. He received nine second-place votes, five third-place votes, three fourth-place votes, five fifth-place votes, three sixth-place votes and one vote each for eighth, ninth and tenth.
While Teixeira and Jeter thrilled crowds in the Bronx with their own contributions, Mauer was making his own rock-solid candidacy by pacing the league with a .444 on-base percentage, a .587 slugging percentage and a 1.031 OPS.
Because of the Yankees' charge, both New York candidates attracted MVP talk during the course of the season and later were issued both AL Gold Glove Awards and AL Silver Slugger Awards.
Teixeira, 29, made a smashing debut in his first season wearing pinstripes. The slugger led the league with 122 RBIs and tied the Rays' Carlos Pena for the AL lead with 39 home runs, catching fire in early May after Alex Rodriguez's return from right hip surgery.
Recovering from another typically slow start, Teixeira turned it on after May 8, batting .310 with 34 home runs and 107 RBIs as the Yankees went 88-43, with Teixeira leading the AL in home runs and RBIs over that span.
"For me, it's just being consistent," Teixeira said earlier this year. "I think that's what I've been the proudest of in my career, that I've been consistent. You look at my career averages, and I'm a little bit above or a little bit below every category every year of my career. Fluctuations happen, but I just feel like I came in here with the same mind-set that I've had every single year, and I've had the same kind of season."
Jeter, 35, hit .334 with 107 runs scored and ranked second in the Majors in hits (212) and fourth in batting average, slotting into his new job description as the Yankees' leadoff hitter.
Playing his sharpest defense in years, Jeter was third in the AL with a .406 on-base percentage and reached the 200-hit plateau for the seventh time in his career while passing Lou Gehrig's franchise record for hits.
During the World Series, Jeter was issued the Hank Aaron Award, voted on by fans and given annually to baseball's top offensive player in each league.
"I think everyone sets goals and tries to accomplish those goals, and our goal here is to win," Jeter said during the postseason. "That's the bottom line. I try to do whatever I can on that particular day to help us win. You just try to be consistent."
CC Sabathia finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting last week, a day before Joe Girardi finished third in Manager of the Year Award voting. No Yankees player has won a major award since Alex Rodriguez took home the AL MVP in 2007.