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On a close vote, Cincinnati's Barry Larkin beat out Colorado slugger Dante Bichette and Atlanta's Greg Maddux to become the first shortstop in 33 years to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Although Bichette led the league in home runs, and Maddux was the leader in wins and earned run average, voters chose to reward the all-around contributions Larkin made both off the field as a clubhouse leader and on, where he hit .319 and played excellent defense.