The Anaheim Angels right fielder received 21 of 28 first-place votes and 354 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (search).
New York Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield finished second with five first-place votes and 254 points. Boston players split the remaining two first-place votes, with left fielder Manny Ramirez finishing third with 238 points and designated hitter David Ortiz winding up fourth with 174 points.
Guerrero, 28, signed with the Angels last winter after eight seasons with the Montreal Expos. He hit .337 with 39 homers and 126 RBIs as Anaheim won the AL West, and led the league with 124 runs and 366 total bases. He batted .371 in September with 10 homers and 23 RBIs.
The only other non-rookies who became MVPs in their first AL seasons were Baltimore's Frank Robinson (1966), Chicago's Dick Allen (1972) and Detroit's Willie Hernandez (1984). In the NL, Kirk Gibson accomplished the feat with Los Angeles in 1988.
Houston's Roger Clemens won the NL Cy Young Award last week following his first season in the league. Clemens won six Cy Youngs in the AL.
Guerrero became the second Angels player to win, joining Don Baylor (1979). He is the fourth Dominican to be MVP, following Toronto's George Bell (1987), the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa (1998) and Oakland's Miguel Tejada (2002).
Guerrero gets a $500,000 bonus for winning the award and Ramirez $100,000 for finishing third. Ortiz didn't get anything for finishing fourth — but would get $400,000 for finishing second through fifth in his contract that starts next season.
Tejada, now with Baltimore, gets a $300,000 bonus for finishing fifth, and Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez gets $100,000 for winding up 10th.