One of the game's most feared sluggers, the 27-year old first baseman powered the Cardinals to their first World Series championship since 1982 after hitting .331 and topping 40 home runs for the fourth consecutive season. He holds a .332 career batting average after six seasons.
2 of 20Bob Rosato/SI
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Georgia Tech wideout had more yards receiving (1,202) in 2006 than the rest of his team combined. In the Gator Bowl, he hauled in nine passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns, likely projecting himself into the top five picks of the 2007 NFL Draft.
3 of 20John Biever/SI
The lefthander with the devastating change-up went 19-6 with 2.77 ERA in 2006, winning the A.L. Cy Young Award for the second time in three seasons. Perhaps most amazing is that he was plucked from Houston by Florida in the 1999 Rule V Draft and promptly traded to Minnesota for a song.
4 of 20AP
After unseating the heretofore unbeatable Michael Schumacher to become Formula One's youngest champion (24), Alonso successfully defended his crown in 2006 by winning six of his first nine races and holding off his rival in the second half of the season.
5 of 20John W. McDonough/SI
The sparkplug of the run-and-gun Suns, who tore off a 15-game winning streak earlier this season, has been the NBA MVP in each of the past two seasons. Nash and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson are the only point guards to win the award more than once.
6 of 20Damian Strohmeyer/SI
The consummate clutch leader is the first quarterback to win three Super Bowls before age 28. During a' transition season, Brady led the revamped Patriots to the 2007 AFC Championship Game -- the fourth appearance of his seven-year career.
7 of 20John Biever/SI
Expected to become the NBA's next Jordan-esque superstar since his days in high school, King James is earning his hype in his fourth season, averaging 27.5 points per game and making the once-woeful Cavaliers a legit contender in the Eastern Conference.
8 of 20David E. Klutho/SI
The swift, graceful 17-year old is the reigning world and U.S. women's champion. She continued her year-long roll by winning the gold at the Four Continents Championship in Colorado Springs on Feb. 10.
9 of 20Lou Capozzola/SI
The NHL's biggest star is only 19 years old, the youngest ever to have two 100-point seasons, his electrifying scoring and uncanny sense of the game justifying the comparisons to Wayne Gretzky with each passing night.
10 of 20Chuck Solomon/SI
Sharapova, 19 -- a top earner from endorsements and modeling -- has a game to match her glamorous looks, ascending to the rank of the world's No. 1 female player since winning the 2004 WTA Player of the Year Award. She's currently No. 2 behind Justine Henin.
11 of 20John Biever/SI
The Texas Longhorn forward has made a dramatic impact during his freshman season -- the only player ranked in the country's top five in both scoring and rebounding -- and establishing himself as the favorite to win the National Player of the Year award.
12 of 20Peter Read Miller/SI
The breakaway winner of the 2006 NFL MVP Award led the league in rushing (1,815 yards) and set a new single-season touchdown record (31). Hardly one-dimensional, LT also caught 56 passes and threw for two TDs.
13 of 20Darren Carroll/SI
The LPGA's answer to Tiger Woods, the world's No. 1 female golfer began 2007 with 10 major titles among her 69 career wins, six Player of Year awards and more than $20 million in tour earnings.
14 of 20Robert Beck/SI
The defending Nextel Cup champ is coming off a season in which he took the Daytona 500 and went on to win his first title. Johnson has 25 wins and 113 top-10 finishes during his five-year career in NASCAR's top circuit.
15 of 20David Bergman/SI
The dazzling forward is a ball-control wizard who has invited comparisons to the legendary Pele. A two-time FIFA World Player of the Year (2004, 2005) and member of Brazil's 2002 World Cup champions, Ronaldinho has led Barcelona to the last two Spanish League titles and the 2006 Champions League title.
16 of 20John W. McDonough/SI
Much more than just Shaq's sidekick in Miami, Wade was the MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals, averaging 34.7 points as the Heat knocked off Dallas in six games. The 24-year old guard nicknamed Flash currently ranks among the NBA's top three scorers.
17 of 20Al Tielemans/SI
Baseball's new home run king followed his 22-dinger National League Rookie of the Year campaign by swatting 58 while batting .313 with 149 RBI and winning N.L. MVP honors in 2006.
18 of 20Bill Frakes/SI
The affable Manning took his place among the all-time great quarterbacks by leading the Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI and earning the game's MVP award, capping a season in which he threw for 4,000 yards for the seventh time in his nine seasons.
19 of 20David Callow/SI
The Swiss marvel rolled off a 41-match winning streak that included the 2007 Australian Open. The Aussie victory left him four Grand Slam titles away from Pete Sampras' career mark of 14.
20 of 20Robert Beck/SI
The world's dominant golfer has won one of every four PGA events he has entered during his incredible pro career. He began 2007 by extending his winning streak to seven consecutive tournaments, four shy of Byron Nelson's all-time record.
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