Albert Pujols was the unanimous choice for National League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The Phillies' Ryan Howard was third, narrowly finishing behind Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who had 15 second-place votes. Milwaukee's Prince Fielder was fourth.

Only Pujols, Ramirez and Fielder appeared on all 32 ballots. Howard was on 31 of the 32 ballots. Ramirez finished with 233 points to Howard's 217.

Pujols won the NL MVP for the second consecutive year and the third time in his career. He also is the sixth NL player to win the award by unanimous vote, joining Orlando Cepeda (1967), Mike Schmidt (1980), Jeff Bagwell (1994), Ken Caminiti (1996) and Barry Bonds (2002). There have been nine unanimous winners in the American League.

Pujols, 29, led the league in home runs (47),  was third in batting (.327) and runs batted in (135). He also topped the NL in runs (124), total bases (374), grand slams (5), extra base hits (93), on-base percentage (.443) and slugging percentage (.658).

Rounding out the Top 10: Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Los Angeles Dodgers rightfielder Andre Ethier, San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee and Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp.

This was the ninth consecutive top-10 finish in MVP voting for Pujols, who in addition to winning in 2005 and 2008 also finished second in 2002, 2003 and 2006, third in 2004, fourth in 2001 (his rookie year) and ninth in 2007.

Pujols became the 10th player to win the award three or more times and the first former Rookie of the Year Award winner to be a three-time MVP. Bonds is the record holder with seven MVP Awards (1990, '92-93, 2001-04). The other eight three-time winners were Stan Musial (1943, '46, '48), Roy Campanella (1951, '53, '55) and Mike Schmidt (1980-81, 1980-81, '86) in the NL and Mantle (1956-57, '62), Jimmie Foxx (1932-33, '38), Joe DiMaggio (1939, '41, '47), Yogi Berra (1951, '54-55) and Alex Rodriguez (2003, '05, '07) in the AL.

The back-to-back victory by Pujols places him among six NL players and six in the AL to have won in successive seasons, led by Bonds, who won four years in a row from 2001-04 and also in 1992-93. Other NL repeaters were Schmidt (1980-81), Ernie Banks (1958-59), Joe Morgan (1975-76) and Dale Murphy (1982-83). Repeat winners in the AL were Foxx (1932-33), Berra (1954-55), Mantle (1956-57), Thomas (1993-94), Hal Newhouser (1944-45) and Roger Maris (1960-61).

It marked the 17th time a Cardinals player has been honored. St. Louis' total of MVP winners is the most in the NL and second only to the New York Yankees' 20 in the AL. Musial won as an outfielder in 1943 and 1948 and as a first baseman in 1946. Other Cardinals winners were Cepeda in 1967, second baseman Frankie Frisch in 1931, pitcher Dizzy Dean in 1934, left fielder Joe Medwick in 1937, pitcher Mort Cooper in 1942, shortstop Marty Marion in 1944, third baseman Ken Boyer in 1964, pitcher Bob Gibson in 1968, third baseman Joe Torre in 1971, first baseman Keith Hernandez (co-winner with the Pittsburgh Pirates' Willie Stargell) in 1979 and center fielder Willie McGee in 1985.

Pujols' victory was the 14th for a first baseman in the NL, a list that includes Musial, Cepeda, Stargell, Hernandez, Bagwell and Howard as well as Frank McCormick, Dolph Camilli, Phil Cavarretta, Willie McCovey and Steve Garvey. The AL MVP Award has been won by a first baseman 15 times. No other position has had as many MVP winners. Right fielders are next with 22, 11 in each league.

The voting: