10 Worst MVP Snubs In Baseball History
The Baseball Page
Ted Williams 1939
10 Worst MVP Snubs In Baseball History
Baseball's MVP award is determined by the writers. Writers are human.
As long as humans determine the MVP award — and humans (fans) in turn judge those selections — there will always be disagreement over whether or not the selection was correct. Of course, a player's value is assessed differently by different people. Statistics, intangibles and winning each factor into the equation, and some years, one is more valued than the others — in 2003, for example, Alex Rodriguez won his first MVP with the last-placed Rangers, as he led the AL in homeruns (47), runs scored (124) and SLG (.600). The following MVP snubs occurred because there was clearly a better choice according to one of the three aforementioned criteria (admittedly, we value statistics a little more than the others). As we listed who should've won, we completely understood that we fall into that "human" category, meaning our replacement selections could be off-base as well.
1. Mickey Cochrane over Lou Gehrig (1934)
Intangibles and winning won Cochrane the 1934 MVP award. Newly acquired by the Tigers from the disassembled Athletics, his immense leadership skills were utilized as player-manager. The move paid off — the Tigers, who weren't expected to be better than average, won the pennant for the first time in quarter century, and the turnaround was attributed to the veteran backstop. Cochrane performed well behind the plate, throwing out 50 percent of base stealers, while hitting .320 with an .428 OBP. Gehrig, a great leader in his own right, not only won the Triple Crown, but led the league in OBP, SLG and OPS. He finished with a WAR that was more than six points higher than Cochrane's, and his Yankees finished in second place with 94 wins. Not exactly an A-Rod-in-2003-like situation.
2. Joe Gordon over Ted Williams (1942)
Williams' adversarial relationship with the media is a major reason why his trophy case wasn't nearly as stacked as it should've been. He attributes his first MVP snub to fighting with the draft board during World War II over his 1-A classification (available for unrestricted military service). He eventually won 3-A classification (registrant deferred because of hardship to dependents), but it cost him a sponsorship from Quaker Oats and many fans. Despite winning the Triple Crown, along with leading the league in runs, walks, OBP, SLG and OPS, he lost the award to Joe Gordon, who, although he had a phenomenal season, only led the league in strikeouts and GDP. The Yankees won the pennant, and the Red Sox finished in second place.
3. Marty Marion over Stan Musial (1944)
How many MVPs have Ozzie Smith or Omar Vizquel won? Marion was in that category defensively as a shortstop, and he actually had an MVP to show for it. The Cardinals were undoubtedly the best team in baseball in 1944, winning 105 games and the World Series over their cross-town foe, the Browns. But Stan Musial was the team's best player — the franchise's best player of all time — and his offensive production during the season reflected that, as he led the NL in hits, doubles, OBP, SLG and OPS. He also boasted a WAR of 9.1, more than five points higher than Marion's WAR. And Musial wasn't chopped liver defensively –he finished fourth in the NL in fielding WAR, so it's not as though he was giving up a lot of runs in the field.
4. Joe DiMaggio over Ted Williams (1947)
It was the second time Williams won the Triple Crown, but again he lost the MVP to a Yankee — this time by a single vote. DiMaggio took home the award after driving in 97 runs and hitting .315 with a .913 OPS. Nice numbers, but they didn't compare to Williams' numbers or even DiMaggio's numbers the following year, in which he finished second to Lou Boudreau in the MVP race. In addition to leading the AL in homeruns, RBIs and average, Williams finished first in runs, walks, OBP, SLG and OPS. His WAR was almost five points higher than DiMaggio's WAR, but Joe's team won the pennant and eventually the World Series while Ted's team finished in third place.
Stacked as always, the 1955 Yankees boasted the MVP winner and the player who arguably got hosed. Mantle finished fifth in MVP voting despite leading the AL in triples, homeruns, walks, OBP, SLG and OPS. Berra, the winner, didn't lead the league in a single offensive category. Defensively, he wasn't exactly stellar, committing 13 errors and accumulating one of the worst fielding percentages for a regular catcher. Mantle's WAR of 9.5 far surpassed Berra's WAR of 3.8, but, according to the writers, Berra's intangibles were immeasurably better that season.
Finishing with the best record in the NL, the Pirates had the MVP winner, but the writers just needed to determine who. Roberto Clemente had a solid season, but it wasn't his best, and some thought his ethnicity deterred some voters from placing him high on their ballots. Groat, a shortstop who led the league in average and played great defense, ultimately won the award, beating out Willie Mays, who tallied 190 hits, 29 homeruns, 103 RBIs with a .319 average, .381 OBP, .555 SLG and .936 OPS. And Mays, of course, wasn't too shabby in the field either. His Giants, though, finished fifth in the NL, which probably wasn't his fault.
7. Willie Hernandez over Don Mattingly (1984)
There's debate as to whether pitchers, let alone relief pitchers, should ever win an MVP — after all, they have their own award. Hernandez had a season to remember for the World Series-winning Tigers, tallying nine wins, 32 saves, 112 strikeouts and a 1.92 ERA in 140 innings pitched. During the entire season, he allowed just six homeruns and blew one save. But was he even the most valuable player on a team with Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris? Mattingly was the MVP of the Yankees — though they won 17 fewer games than the Tigers, which wasn't his fault — and he had an even more impressive resume, leading the league in hits, doubles and average. His WAR was 1.5 points higher than Hernandez's WAR. As it turned out, Mattingly would respond by having an even better 1985 season, securing his only MVP award.
8. Kirk Gibson over Darryl Strawberry (1988)
Gibson's incredible leaderships skills (intangibles) were best demonstrated during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, when he blasted the game-winning homerun despite suffering from two injured legs and a stomach virus. He managed to remain healthy enough to win the MVP during the regular season, as he hit .290 with 25 homeruns, 76 RBIs, 106 runs and 31 stolen bases, helping the Dodgers rebound from a poor 1987 season. Darryl Strawberry of the 100-win Mets, who lost in seven games to the Dodgers in the NLCS, posted a superior stat line, leading the league in homeruns, SLG and OPS, while stealing 29 bases and driving in 101 runs. He came a close second in the voting.
9. Mo Vaughn over Albert Belle (1995)
An open hatred for the media cost Belle an MVP he easily should've won. He finished the season first in runs, doubles, homeruns, RBIs (tied with Vaughn), and SLG, most notably becoming the first player ever to post 50 homeruns and 50 doubles in a season — a strike-shortened, 143-game season, no less. Mo Vaughn's statistics were also impressive, as he shared the league lead in RBIs, but, as a whole, they weren't nearly as gaudy as Belle's numbers. The Indians, who won 14-more games than Red Sox, reached the World Series.
10. Juan Gonzalez over Alex Rodriguez (1996)
At a meager 20 years of age, Rodriguez entered the 1996 season as a full-time starter. By the end of it, baseball fans knew he would someday be enshrined at Cooperstown. Incredibly, he led the league in runs, doubles, average and total bases, boasting a line of 141 runs, 215 hits, 36 homeruns, 123 RBIs, 15 stolen bases with a .358 BA (the highest for a right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio in 1939), .414 OBP, .631 SLG and 1.045 OPS. The Mariners were in the AL West race until September, when the Juan Gonzalez-led Rangers pulled away. Rodriguez just missed becoming the youngest MVP winner in history because of Juan Gone, who didn't lead the league in a single category. Thus far in his career, Rodriguez has won three MVPs, four fewer than Barry Bonds.
Submitted by: Community Member - Tim Handorf 10 Worst MVP Snubs In Baseball HistoryBy The Baseball Page
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- 1934, 1942, 1944, 1947, 1955, 1960, 1984, 1988, 1995, 1996, AL MVP, Albert Belle, Alex Rodriguez, Darryl Strawberry, Dick Groat, Don Mattingly, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, Juan Gonzalez, Kirk Gibson, Lou Gehrig, Marty Marion, Mickey Cochrane, Mickey Mantle, Mo Vaughn, Omar Vizquel, Ozzie Smith, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Willie Hernandez, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra