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MVP For Being the Best Player

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  • MVP For Being the Best Player

    I'm going to start with another basketball analogy, but don't worry, this shouldn't inspire any basketball discussion. This was just the jumping off point that a friend and I used to get to the baseball discussion. Kobe Bryant won the MVP award this year, but we both agreed he didn't necessarily have the best season. The reason he won, we said, was that he had been the best player in the league for some time, and he had had a great year, his team finished with the best record in the toughest conference, and it was time to give him an MVP award.

    With that said, I wondered if the same could be said of any baseball players. Ignoring how a player's team did, what examples can you think of where a player is given an MVP award because he had been the best player in the AL or NL for some time, and yet had never seemed to win one. The example my friend thought of was Alex Rodriguez in 2003. He had been the best player in the NL for several years leading up to that won, but had yet to win an MVP. He was better in 2001 and 2002 than in his MVP year in 2003. His team finished last that year. Alex may well have been the best player in the AL that year, but I think he may have gotten the award more for being the best player in the AL than for having the best year in 2003.

    Am I being clear here? I don't want there to be any uncertainty as to what I'm asking for. If you need clarification, just ask. I want examples of players who have won MVP awards because they've been acknowledged as the best or one of the few best in baseball for a number of years, yet continually get snubbed in MVP voting. Eventually, voters say, "this is ridiculous" and give the player an MVP award. The player may have had the best year, but his award was more for his past performance than the current season's performance. What MVP awards might you say fit those criteria?
    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

  • #2
    Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
    Ignoring how a player's team did, what examples can you think of where a player is given an MVP award because he had been the best player in the AL or NL for some time, and yet had never seemed to win one.
    Like a sympathy vote?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
      I want examples of players who have won MVP awards because they've been acknowledged as the best or one of the few best in baseball for a number of years, yet continually get snubbed in MVP voting. Eventually, voters say, "this is ridiculous" and give the player an MVP award. The player may have had the best year, but his award was more for his past performance than the current season's performance. What MVP awards might you say fit those criteria?
      I say none.
      No, I change my mind. The only time it might have happen was from 1911-1930 when a player could only win MVP once. With many players being ineligible, I can imagine voting logic changing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
        I'm going to start with another basketball analogy, but don't worry, this shouldn't inspire any basketball discussion. This was just the jumping off point that a friend and I used to get to the baseball discussion. Kobe Bryant won the MVP award this year, but we both agreed he didn't necessarily have the best season. The reason he won, we said, was that he had been the best player in the league for some time, and he had had a great year, his team finished with the best record in the toughest conference, and it was time to give him an MVP award.

        With that said, I wondered if the same could be said of any baseball players. Ignoring how a player's team did, what examples can you think of where a player is given an MVP award because he had been the best player in the AL or NL for some time, and yet had never seemed to win one. The example my friend thought of was Alex Rodriguez in 2003. He had been the best player in the NL for several years leading up to that won, but had yet to win an MVP. He was better in 2001 and 2002 than in his MVP year in 2003. His team finished last that year. Alex may well have been the best player in the AL that year, but I think he may have gotten the award more for being the best player in the AL than for having the best year in 2003.

        Am I being clear here? I don't want there to be any uncertainty as to what I'm asking for. If you need clarification, just ask. I want examples of players who have won MVP awards because they've been acknowledged as the best or one of the few best in baseball for a number of years, yet continually get snubbed in MVP voting. Eventually, voters say, "this is ridiculous" and give the player an MVP award. The player may have had the best year, but his award was more for his past performance than the current season's performance. What MVP awards might you say fit those criteria?
        In baseball it often works the other way. Often an MVP will not receive it the next year because the voters tend to want to pick somebody new. Bonds in '91 is an example. Schmidt may have deserved in in '82, '83 and possibly '84.

        With NBA MVP's for example, Magic Johnson won his first which he clearly deserved, the Jordan won his first the next year, but the voters went with Magic the following 2 years I think because he had been around longer, and they didn't want Michael to overtake him at such a young age. Then by the way, Barkley really won on "lifetime achievement" in his year with the Suns even though nobody would have taken him over Jordan.

        But the MVP voting in baseball is pretty screwed up. Juan Gone winning twice, and finishing very high a third year for example.

        Mantle in '62 may be a case of a guy getting payback for being the greatest of a generation. He finished second to Maris in '60 and '61. Though he was probably the best in '62 despite missing a lot of time. Also Dimaggio's third award in '47.

        Vlad Guerrero in '04 may have gotten a "lifetime achievement" edge.

        Comment


        • #5
          Maybe
          1925 Hornsby
          1927 Gehrig
          1931 Grove
          1946 Ted Williams
          1975 Morgan
          1980 Schmidt
          Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
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          • #6
            Sadly, this kind of mentality is perhaps even worse in the Music, TV and Motion Picture industries. In any case, it does point out how dubious MVP votes can be...especially when considering a Hall Of Fame case for a player. It's further evidence why I personally try not to put too much stock into MVP/Gold Glove votes in such arguments.
            Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"

            Comment


            • #7
              I definitely agree with A-rod in 2003...I was thinking all year long that it was Delgado's year...especially after his 4 home run game late in the season, and how he was probably ripped off in 2000..I figured he was a no brainer as MVP. The same with Pujols in 2005...I think he won because people felt bad he was ripped off by Bonds all those seasons. That clearly was Derek Lee's year. This also happened to a lesser extent with Vlad in 2004.
              I might note, that sometimes the opposite happens...a player is so consistent for a few years that he is taken for granted, and no matter how good he does, he does not get the support he deserves, or that someone would who was not as good and yet had a career year with the same numbers. This applies to Piazza and Ramirez, and Bonds in the mid 90s...seemes no matter how good they did, they couldnt win MVP, yet guys who had career years with similiar(or sometimes inferior) stats were winning....Caminiti, Larkin, Walker, Jones, kent, Pudge, Tejada. Im not saying those guys didnt 'deserve' the MVP, but that the 'sympathy for being a great hitter for a long time' theory doesnt seem to apply to Piazza and Manny as it did for A-rod, Pujols, and Vlad.
              Last edited by willshad; 05-10-2008, 12:08 PM.

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              • #8
                Pujols won in 2005. Ryan Howard won in 2006.
                "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                - Alvin Dark

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RuthMayBond View Post
                  Maybe
                  1925 Hornsby
                  1927 Gehrig
                  1931 Grove
                  1946 Ted Williams
                  1975 Morgan
                  1980 Schmidt
                  Have you compared Schmidt's 1980 stats with the rest of the National League? He was so ridiculously ahead of everyone else that year it isn't even funny (he was also a unanimous decision).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RuthMayBond View Post
                    Maybe
                    1925 Hornsby
                    1927 Gehrig
                    1931 Grove
                    1946 Ted Williams
                    1975 Morgan
                    1980 Schmidt

                    I don't know about the other players here, as I have not looked closely at them, but why are Williams and Schmidt on this list?

                    Williams was the best player in the AL by a country mile that year. Williams should have been on at least his second, possibly his third MVP, but being the most dominant and indisputably the best player in the league on a team that won 104 games is exactly what the MVP is for. I do not see how it could be construed as a "let's give it to him" sympathy vote.

                    Same with Schmidt in 1980.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would say A-Rod' '03, Pujols in '05...historically, not sure. Seems to be happening more lately, and MVP votes seem more dodgy lately, for lack of a better word.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RuthMayBond View Post
                        Maybe
                        1925 Hornsby
                        1927 Gehrig
                        1931 Grove
                        1946 Ted Williams
                        1975 Morgan
                        1980 Schmidt
                        I dont think you grasp the concept of what the poster was saying. He was talking about MVPs who maybe didnt really deserve it, but won possibly because they had been great for a long time, and the writers felt they were 'due', or maybe some sympathy vote. These seasons you listed are among the greatest of all time. All of these guys deserved the MVP.

                        Id like to add that Wille Stargell in 1979 probably was a prime example of getting sympathy, or 'intangible' votes..he really didnt have a good season. .and maybe to 'make up' for a few great seasons(1971-1973 most notably) where he probably should have won it but didnt. Winfield was ripped off.
                        Last edited by willshad; 05-11-2008, 08:47 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by brett View Post
                          In baseball it often works the other way. Often an MVP will not receive it the next year because the voters tend to want to pick somebody new. Bonds in '91 is an example. Schmidt may have deserved in in '82, '83 and possibly '84.

                          With NBA MVP's for example, Magic Johnson won his first which he clearly deserved, the Jordan won his first the next year, but the voters went with Magic the following 2 years I think because he had been around longer, and they didn't want Michael to overtake him at such a young age. Then by the way, Barkley really won on "lifetime achievement" in his year with the Suns even though nobody would have taken him over Jordan.

                          But the MVP voting in baseball is pretty screwed up. Juan Gone winning twice, and finishing very high a third year for example.

                          Mantle in '62 may be a case of a guy getting payback for being the greatest of a generation. He finished second to Maris in '60 and '61. Though he was probably the best in '62 despite missing a lot of time. Also Dimaggio's third award in '47.

                          Vlad Guerrero in '04 may have gotten a "lifetime achievement" edge.

                          I know its not about baseball, but I think you overrate Jordan, and underrate the other guys. Jordan was consistently among the best players in the game, but seldom unamously considered the 'best', hands down. Bird, then Magic were better than him early on, then guys like Drexler, Barkley, Olajawon, and Malone (maybe Ewing too) probably all surpassed him at various stages. Barkley's vote wasnt a 'lifetime achievement' vote. He could do everything Jordan coud do, except was MUCH better rebounder. And the Suns also made the finals. It was far from a clear-cut Jordan for MVP case.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by brett View Post
                            In baseball it often works the other way. Often an MVP will not receive it the next year because the voters tend to want to pick somebody new. Bonds in '91 is an example. Schmidt may have deserved in in '82, '83 and possibly '84.

                            With NBA MVP's for example, Magic Johnson won his first which he clearly deserved, the Jordan won his first the next year, but the voters went with Magic the following 2 years I think because he had been around longer, and they didn't want Michael to overtake him at such a young age. Then by the way, Barkley really won on "lifetime achievement" in his year with the Suns even though nobody would have taken him over Jordan.

                            But the MVP voting in baseball is pretty screwed up. Juan Gone winning twice, and finishing very high a third year for example.

                            Mantle in '62 may be a case of a guy getting payback for being the greatest of a generation. He finished second to Maris in '60 and '61. Though he was probably the best in '62 despite missing a lot of time. Also Dimaggio's third award in '47.

                            Vlad Guerrero in '04 may have gotten a "lifetime achievement" edge.

                            Looking at the stats. it appears Mantle won pretty much by default in 1962. he could have missed half the season and still been the most valuable hitter in the league. Bobby Richardson was second in the voting with a 102 OPS+, Killerbrew was third with a 138. Then some guy named Leon Wagner. Mantle had the fortune of being a dominant hitter when there were very few dominant hitters playing, thus he was able to stand out much more. Plus, he had already won 2 MVPs by that point, so i doubt it was a 'lifetime achievement ' award.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              On the pitchers side, Fergie Jenkins winning the Cy Young in 1971 for his 5th consecutive 20+ win season.

                              Seaver's ERA was a full run lower. Seaver had a better Whip, his ERA+ was over 190 (Jenkins 142). Seaver had more K's in many fewer innings.

                              And Seaver won 20.

                              Comment

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