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Bonds in 7th heaven

His latest NL MVP is won in a walk

NEW YORK -- Barry Bonds won his record seventh National League Most Valuable Player Award in a walk.

Capping a season of suspicion and success, the San Francisco Giants left fielder became the oldest player to win the award. The 40-year-old received 24 of 32 first-place votes and 407 points yesterday in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America to earn the award for the fourth straight season.

"I don't know if one is better than the other. They're all overwhelming," Bonds said.

Los Angeles third baseman Adrian Beltre was second, getting six first-place votes and 311 points, and St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols was third with one first and 247 points. St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen got the other first-place vote and finished fourth, followed by teammate Jim Edmonds.

Bonds is the only player with more than three MVP awards and the only one to win more than two in a row. Willie Stargell was previously the oldest to win it, sharing the 1979 NL award with Keith Hernandez at 39 1/2.

Among the four major North American professional sports, he trails only the NHL's Wayne Gretzky, who won nine MVPs. In the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads with six.

Bonds said the lack of a World Series title motivates him, and he intends to play two more seasons.

"I want that championship," he said. "That's the one thing that's eluding me from enjoying these other accomplishments."

Bonds became only the third player to hit 700 career homers, and with 703 trails only Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). But following his grand jury testimony in a federal investigation, he repeatedly was questioned whether he used steroids.

His personal trainer has been indicted for illegal distribution of steroids, but Bonds has denied using illegal steroids. He wouldn't address an Oct. 16 report by the San Francisco Chronicle, which said it obtained a recording of the trainer, Greg Anderson, on which Anderson says Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.

"I don't have answer, I really don't. I don't really care about all this stuff. I really don't," he said. "I don't owe anyone a response to anything."

Bonds's season was unparalleled statistically. He hit .362 to win his second NL batting title in three seasons and shattered the major league record with a .609 on-base percentage, topping the mark of .582 he set two years ago.

He walked 232 times, 34 more than the record he set in 2002 and more than 100 better than anyone else in baseball this season, and his 120 intentional walks obliterated the mark of 68, also set by Bonds in 2002.

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