Andrew Bailey, pride of Paul VI, top AL rookie

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The 6-3, 234-pound Bailey had 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA. (Steve Nesius/AP file photo)

At first, Andrew Bailey didn't believe it.

The Oakland Athletics' closer, a product of Paul VI High in Haddon Township, was in his car when he got word he had won the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

"At first I thought it was a prank call. Which one of my friends is playing a prank on me?" he said. "I didn't want to take my eyes off the road."

Once he realized the news was legit, Bailey passed it along to his family.

"My mom was crying and my dad was stoked," he said.

Bailey, a surprise All-Star this season, was selected first on 13 of 28 ballots and finished with 88 points. Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus was the runner-up with 65 points, one more than Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello.

The 6-3, 234-pound Bailey had 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA. He went 6-3 and had 24 more saves than any other AL rookie. He also led the league's rookie pitchers in ERA.

He is the eighth A's player to win the award, tying the New York Yankees for most in the AL.

Bailey was struggling as a starter in Double A last year when the A's moved him to the bullpen. Turned out to be a terrific decision.

In his first big-league camp, Bailey made the Oakland roster and soon got an opportunity to close partly due to injuries. He took advantage of it, earning a trip to the All-Star Game in July as the team's lone representative.

The 25-year-old righthander struck out 91 and walked 24 in 83 1/3 innings. He yielded only 47 hits, holding opponents to a .167 batting average.

Bailey became the third Oakland player in 6 years to win the award, joining closer Huston Street (2005) and shortstop Bobby Crosby (2004).