Definitions

Most Valuable Player

Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award

The Most Valuable Player Award (commonly known as the MVP award) is an annual award given to one outstanding player in each league of Major League Baseball. Since 1931, it has been awarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Chalmers Award (1911-1914)

Prior to the 1910 season, Hugh Chalmers of the Chalmers Automobile Company announced a new promotion to capitalize on baseball's burgeoning popularity: he promised a Chalmers Model 30 automobile to the batting champion in each league. This led to a controversy in the American League; Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie entered the final day of the 1910 season, neck-and-neck. The St. Louis Browns, playing Lajoie's Cleveland team, played their infield back, allowing Lajoie to beat out six bunt singles in a doubleheader and win the title. Debate raged over the outcome, including whether this action was sportsmanlike (St. Louis's manager Jack O'Connor was fired for his role in the affair). Chalmers, attempting to stay above the debacle, awarded automobiles to both players.

For 1911, Chalmers decided that batting average was too narrow a focus for an award. He announced the Chalmers Award, which was to be given to the player in each league who "should prove himself as the most important and useful player to his club and to the league at large in point of deportment and value of services rendered." This was the first attempt to recognize a player for overall contributions to his team's success—hence the designation Most Valuable rather than "player of the year", a distinction which remains today.

Year National League American League
1911 Wildfire Schulte, Chicago Cubs, OF Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, OF
1912 Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 2B Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, OF
1913 Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1B Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, P
1914 Johnny Evers, Boston Braves, 2B Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 2B

After 1914, interest in the award had diminished, and it was quietly retired.

League Awards (1922-1929)

In 1922 the American League Trophy Committee was formed to "honor the baseball player who is of greatest all-round service to his club and credit to the sport during each season; to recognize and reward uncommon skill and ability when exercised by a player for the best interests of his team, and to perpetuate his memory." One writer from each AL city was chosen, and asked to select and rank exactly one player from each of the eight AL teams to be considered for the award. Player-managers and previous winners were considered ineligible. This system had some notable differences with that of today. Since a voter could only select one player per team, two good candidates from the same team could find their votes split and both of their chances of winning hurt. In addition, the clause prohibiting repeat winners led to unusual results like Babe Ruth's 1927 (one of the greatest offensive seasons of all time) not being eligible for the award. As the New York Times wrote in 1925, "[T]he purpose, of course, is to pass the honor around, but the effect is to pass an empty honor around."

Conscious of these issues, the National League instituted its own award in 1924, with a $1000 prize accompanying the honor. In its version, writers were allowed to vote for ten players, with no team restrictions imposed. Player-managers were eligible for consideration, and before long previous winners were as well.

The league-chosen awards proved to be short-lived, however. Bill Deane in Total Baseball attributes the demise of the AL award to three factors:

  • The award's loss of credibility due to the restrictions on voters.
  • The failure of commissioner Ban Johnson to secure passage of a bill creating a monument in Washington, D.C. which was to have been engraved with the names of award winners.
  • Management's concern with award winners using the honor as leverage to secure pay raises.

On May 6, 1929, the American League clubs voted to discontinue their award immediately, and the National League followed suit but agreed to give an award for 1929.

Year National League American League
1922 No winner George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 1B
1923 No winner Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, OF
1924 Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, P Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, P
1925 Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 2B Roger Peckinpaugh, Washington Senators, SS
1926 Bob O'Farrell, St. Louis Cardinals, C George Burns, Cleveland Indians, 1B
1927 Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 1B
1928 Jim Bottomley, St. Louis Cardinals, 1B Mickey Cochrane, Philadelphia Athletics, C
1929 Rogers Hornsby, Chicago Cubs, 2B No winner

Baseball Writers Association of America's Most Valuable Player

In the void left by the demise of the league's own awards, the Baseball Writers Association of America took a poll in October 1929 to choose an unofficial AL Most Valuable Player. Their selection was Lew Fonseca of Cleveland. The Sporting News went one step further, conducting a poll in January 1930 of the writers who had previously voted on the official awards; their choice was Al Simmons of the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1930, with neither league officially selecting an MVP, TSN made unofficial selections for both leagues, choosing Joe Cronin for the AL and Bill Terry for the NL, while the BBWAA gave a National League award (Hack Wilson) and the Associated Press an AL award (Cronin).

YearAmerican LeagueNational League
1929(BBWAA) Lew Fonseca, Cleveland Indians
Al Simmons (TSN), Philadelphia Athletics
n/a
1930(TSN/AP) Joe Cronin(TSN) Bill Terry
(BBWAA) Hack Wilson

For the 1931 season, the BBWAA revisited its selection process and committed itself to electing most valuable players for both leagues; this is considered by most sources (including Total Baseball, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract , and baseball-reference.com ) to be the beginning of the modern MVP award, though it was not officially recognized by the leagues. The Sporting News continued to give its own awards until 1938, when it temporarily agreed to unify its selections with the BBWAA's (it continued to give its own trophy, however). TSN went back to its own selections for 1944 and 1945, until requested by Commissioner Happy Chandler to withdraw in order to lend legitimacy to the BBWAA awards. By 1948, however, TSN was back to making its own selections, which it has done ever since.

In 1956 the Cy Young Award was first given to the best pitcher in Major League Baseball (the current practice of honoring the best pitcher in each league did not begin until 1967). After that, the belief arose that the Most Valuable Player ought to be a position player, based on two factors, one being that pitchers had their own award, and the other being that pitchers could not be considered as valuable as position players since they do not play every day. On occasion, though, pitchers still win the award, and the current rules for the MVP specifically state that pitchers are to be considered. Since 1967, when the Cy Young has been awarded in both leagues, pitchers have won the MVP award 7 times, the last being Dennis Eckersley in 1992.

Since 1944, the MVP Award has been called the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Award in honor of baseball's first commissioner; winners receive a trophy, and their names are engraved on a plaque in the National Baseball Library, an ongoing research project of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Since 1938, votes have been cast using the ranked choice method. Each elector votes for 10 players, ranking each player from 1-10. The player ranked first on a ballot is assigned 14 points, the player ranked second is assigned 9 points, on down to the player ranked 10th, who receives one point.

*Denotes unanimous decision.

Year National League American League
1931 Frankie Frisch, St. Louis Cardinals, 2B Lefty Grove, Philadelphia Athletics, P
1932 Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies, OF Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 1B
1933 Carl Hubbell, New York Giants, P Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 1B
1934 Dizzy Dean, St. Louis Cardinals, P Mickey Cochrane, Detroit Tigers, C
1935 Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs, C Hank Greenberg*, Detroit Tigers, 1B
1936 Carl Hubbell*, New York Giants, P Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 1B
1937 Joe Medwick, St. Louis Cardinals, OF Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers, 2B
1938 Ernie Lombardi, Cincinnati Reds, C Jimmie Foxx, Boston Red Sox, 1B
1939 Bucky Walters, Cincinnati Reds, P Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, OF
1940 Frank McCormick, Cincinnati Reds, 1B Hank Greenberg, Detroit Tigers, OF
1941 Dolph Camilli, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1B Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, OF
1942 Mort Cooper, St. Louis Cardinals, P Joe Gordon, New York Yankees, 2B
1943 Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinals, OF Spud Chandler, New York Yankees, P
1944 Marty Marion, St. Louis Cardinals, SS Hal Newhouser, Detroit Tigers, P
1945 Phil Cavarretta, Chicago Cubs, 1B Hal Newhouser, Detroit Tigers, P
1946 Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinals, 1B Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox, OF
1947 Bob Elliott, Boston Braves, 3B Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, OF
1948 Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinals, OF Lou Boudreau, Cleveland Indians, SS
1949 Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers, 2B Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox, OF
1950 Jim Konstanty, Philadelphia Phillies, P Phil Rizzuto, New York Yankees, SS
1951 Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers, C Yogi Berra, New York Yankees, C
1952 Hank Sauer, Chicago Cubs, OF Bobby Shantz, Philadelphia Athletics, P
1953 Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers, C Al Rosen*, Cleveland Indians, 3B
1954 Willie Mays, New York Giants, OF Yogi Berra, New York Yankees, C
1955 Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers, C Yogi Berra, New York Yankees, C
1956 Don Newcombe, Brooklyn Dodgers, P Mickey Mantle*, New York Yankees, OF
1957 Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Braves, OF Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, OF
1958 Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs, SS Jackie Jensen, Boston Red Sox, OF
1959 Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs, SS Nellie Fox, Chicago White Sox, 2B
1960 Dick Groat, Pittsburgh Pirates, SS Roger Maris, New York Yankees, OF
1961 Frank Robinson, Cincinnati Reds, OF Roger Maris, New York Yankees, OF
1962 Maury Wills, Los Angeles Dodgers, SS Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, OF
1963 Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers, P Elston Howard, New York Yankees, C
1964 Ken Boyer, St. Louis Cardinals, 3B Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, 3B
1965 Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants, OF Zoilo Versalles, Minnesota Twins, SS
1966 Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF Frank Robinson*, Baltimore Orioles, OF
1967 Orlando Cepeda*, St. Louis Cardinals, 1B Carl Yastrzemski, Boston Red Sox, OF
1968 Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals, P Denny McLain*, Detroit Tigers, P
1969 Willie McCovey, San Francisco Giants, 1B Harmon Killebrew, Minnesota Twins, 3B
1970 Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds, C Boog Powell, Baltimore Orioles, 1B
1971 Joe Torre, St. Louis Cardinals, 3B Vida Blue, Oakland Athletics, P
1972 Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds, C Dick Allen, Chicago White Sox, 1B
1973 Pete Rose, Cincinnati Reds, OF Reggie Jackson*, Oakland Athletics, OF
1974 Steve Garvey, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1B Jeff Burroughs, Texas Rangers, OF
1975 Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds, 2B Fred Lynn, Boston Red Sox, OF
1976 Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds, 2B Thurman Munson, New York Yankees, C
1977 George Foster, Cincinnati Reds, OF Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins, 1B
1978 Dave Parker, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF Jim Rice, Boston Red Sox, OF
1979 Keith Hernandez, St. Louis Cardinals, 1B
Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1B
Don Baylor, California Angels, DH
1980 Mike Schmidt*, Philadelphia Phillies, 3B George Brett, Kansas City Royals, 3B
1981 Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies, 3B Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers, P
1982 Dale Murphy, Atlanta Braves, OF Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers, SS
1983 Dale Murphy, Atlanta Braves, OF Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles, SS
1984 Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs, 2B Willie Hernandez, Detroit Tigers, P
1985 Willie McGee, St. Louis Cardinals, OF Don Mattingly, New York Yankees, 1B
1986 Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies, 3B Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox, P
1987 Andre Dawson, Chicago Cubs, OF George Bell, Toronto Blue Jays, OF
1988 Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles Dodgers, OF José Canseco*, Oakland Athletics, OF
1989 Kevin Mitchell, San Francisco Giants, OF Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers, OF
1990 Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF Rickey Henderson, Oakland Athletics, OF
1991 Terry Pendleton, Atlanta Braves, 3B Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles, SS
1992 Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF Dennis Eckersley, Oakland Athletics, P
1993 Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants, OF Frank Thomas*, Chicago White Sox, 1B
1994 Jeff Bagwell*, Houston Astros, 1B Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox, 1B
1995 Barry Larkin, Cincinnati Reds, SS Mo Vaughn, Boston Red Sox, 1B
1996 Ken Caminiti*, San Diego Padres, 3B Juan González, Texas Rangers, OF
1997 Larry Walker, Colorado Rockies, OF Ken Griffey, Jr.*, Seattle Mariners, OF
1998 Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs, OF Juan González, Texas Rangers, OF
1999 Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves, 3B Iván Rodríguez, Texas Rangers, C
2000 Jeff Kent, San Francisco Giants, 2B Jason Giambi, Oakland Athletics, 1B
2001 Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants, OF Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, OF
2002 Barry Bonds*, San Francisco Giants, OF Miguel Tejada, Oakland Athletics, SS
2003 Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants, OF Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers, SS
2004 Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants, OF Vladimir Guerrero, Anaheim Angels, OF
2005 Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals, 1B Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, 3B
2006 Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies, 1B Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins, 1B
2007 Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies, SS Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, 3B

Multiple Winners

Player Awards Years
Barry Bonds 7 1990, 1992-93, 2001-04
Yogi Berra 3 1951, 1954-55
Roy Campanella 3 1951, 1953, 1955
Joe DiMaggio 3 1939, 1941, 1947
Jimmie Foxx 3 1932-33, 1938
Mickey Mantle 3 1956-57, 1962
Stan Musial 3 1943, 1946, 1948
Alex Rodriguez 3 2003, 2005, 2007
Mike Schmidt 3 1980-81, 1986
Ernie Banks 2 1958-59
Johnny Bench 2 1970, 1972
Lou Gehrig 2 1927, 1936
Juan Gonzalez 2 1996, 1998
Hank Greenberg 2 1935, 1940
Carl Hubbell 2 1933, 1936
Roger Maris 2 1960-61
Willie Mays 2 1954, 1965
Joe Morgan 2 1975-76
Dale Murphy 2 1982-83
Hal Newhouser 2 1944-45
Cal Ripken, Jr. 2 1983, 1991
Frank Robinson 2 1961, 1966
Frank Thomas 2 1993-94
Ted Williams 2 1946, 1949
Robin Yount 2 1982, 1989

  • Note: the current version of the MVP award has been given since 1931. Prior to that year, the League Awards were only given to a player once (from 1922-1929) and sometimes not at all (from 1876-1909, and again from 1915-1921).

Awards by Team

Team Awards
New York Yankees 22
St. Louis Cardinals 18
New York/San Francisco Giants 13
Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics 13
Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers 12
Cincinnati Reds 11
Boston Red Sox 10
Chicago Cubs 10
Detroit Tigers 9
Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves 7
Philadelphia Phillies 7
Pittsburgh Pirates 7
Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 7
St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles 6
Washington Senators/Texas Rangers 5
Chicago White Sox 4
Cleveland Indians 3
Milwaukee Brewers 3
California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels 2
Seattle Mariners 2
Colorado Rockies 1
Houston Astros 1
Kansas City Royals 1
San Diego Padres 1
Toronto Blue Jays 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 0
Florida Marlins 0
Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 0
New York Mets 0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays 0

See also

References

External links

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