MLB's All-Time MVPs: The Most Valuable Player in the History of Each Team

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IIOctober 26, 2011

MLB's All-Time MVPs: The Most Valuable Player in the History of Each Team

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    Cal Ripken or Brooks Robinson?

    Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell?

    Sandy Koufax or Jackie Robinson?

    Lou Gehrig or Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio? 

    Who is the all-time MVP in the history of each franchise? Some picks are obvious, others are not. There are no co-MVPs.

    Stats provided by MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com

Arizona Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson

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    If you've followed baseball since the Arizona Diamondbacks' inception—an opportunity afforded to many of you by the young franchise—you probably associate three players with the team.

    Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Luis Gonzalez carried Arizona to the 2001 playoffs and the franchise's only World Series championship.

    Johnson and Schilling shared the World Series MVP award, and Luis Gonzalez, who blasted 57 homers and hit .325 in the regular season, hit the walk-off blooper against Mariano Rivera in Game 7.

    While Schilling and Gonzalez are both notable Diamondbacks, Johnson is definitely the franchise's MVP. 

    Schilling only spent three-and-a-half years in Arizona, and even though Gonzalez was one of the most feared hitters for a time, he's not nearly as irreplaceable as Johnson.

    The Big Unit played eight seasons with the Diamondbacks—1999-2004 and 2007-2008—and won four Cy Young awards. In those four seasons, Johnson went 81-27 with a 2.48 ERA and 1,417 strikeouts. His 118 wins, 2.83 ERA and 2,077 strikeouts rank No. 1 in the franchise.

Atlanta Braves: Hank Aaron

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    Many still consider Hank Aaron the all-time home run leader because of Barry Bonds' alleged steroid use.

    Aaron spent 21 of his 23 major league seasons with the Braves, hitting 733 of his 755 career home runs in Milwaukee and Atlanta. He collected one MVP award and had a career postseason average of .362.

    You could certainly make cases for Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones and Eddie Mathews, but Aaron is the best home run hitter in the game's history and hit .393 with three homers in his only World Series victory.

Baltimore Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr.

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    Choosing Cal Ripken Jr. over Brooks Robinson wasn't a mindless decision. 

    Both spent their entire careers in Baltimore; Ripken has two MVP awards to Robinson's one; Robinson has two championships to Ripken's one; Ripken was a 19-time All-Star while Robinson was a 15-timer.

    Robinson was a better fielder, evidenced by his 16 gold gloves and nickname (The Human Vacuum Cleaner), but Ripken was a better hitter—he won eight silver slugger awards and had over 3,000 career hits.

    Ripken is known for breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak, setting his own record of 2,632 games. However, Robinson was also durable. Between 1960 and 1975, Robinson only played fewer than 152 games twice—144 on both occasions. 

    You can really go either way with this pick.

Boston Red Sox: Ted Williams

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    Ted Williams won two AL MVP awards—the only member of the Boston Red Sox to accomplish the feat—and finished second in the voting four other times.

    He won six batting titles—he's the last player to hit over .400 in a season—and four home run titles. He led the league in on-base percentage 12 times, and he holds the all-time career OBP mark of .482.

    Also, don't forget: he missed three seasons to fight in World War II while he was in his prime and another season-and-a-half for the Korean War.

    The Splendid Splinter is indisputably the best player in Red Sox history, and even though he never won a World Series, he's also the most valuable.

Chicago Cubs: Ernie Banks

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    Ernie Banks is called Mr. Cub for a reason.

    He played for the Chicago Cubs in each of his 19 Major League seasons, winning two MVPs and joining the 500 Home Run Club along the way. 

    Only Sammy Sosa has hit more home runs as a Cub.

Chicago White Sox: Frank Thomas

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    Frank Thomas never made it past the ALCS with the Chicago White Sox, but there is still no White Sox with more value to the franchise. 

    Thomas hit .307 with 448 of his 521 home runs during his 16 year career with Chicago and became the first White Sox to win two AL MVP awards.

    The Big Hurt leads the franchise in runs (1,327), doubles (447), home runs, RBI (1,465) and OBP (.427).

Cincinnati Reds: Pete Rose

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    No one has played in more games or amassed as many hits and runs in their career as Pete Rose, who spent 19 of his 24 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.

    Rose, who earned the nickname Charlie Hustle, won one MVP award and three championships. He was a career .321 hitter in the postseason.

Cleveland Indians: Bob Feller

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    Bob Feller pitched for the Cleveland Indians for his entire career. He went 266-162 with a 3.25 ERA over 18 seasons, and although he didn't pitch well in the 1948 World Series, he was still a member of that winner.

Colorado Rockies: Todd Helton

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    When the Colorado Rockies won 14 of their final 15 games in 2007 to make the playoffs, Todd Helton hit .377 with four home runs.

    Helton has played his entire career with the Rockies and is a lifetime .323 hitter. 

    He has never won an MVP award like Larry Walker and is only a five-time All-Star, but Walker only played in Colorado for 10 seasons and had just one playoff appearance—Helton has had two.

Detroit Tigers: Ty Cobb

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    Ty Cobb never won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers, but he did win 11 batting titles, resulting in an all-time best .366 career batting average.

    Cobb leads the franchise in runs (2,087), hits (3,902), doubles (664), triples (286), RBI (1,805), stolen bases (865) and batting average (.369).

Florida Marlins: Miguel Cabrera

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    The Florida Marlins have only existed for 18 years, and the franchise has developed a tendency to filter out its players every few seasons, making it impossible to find a career Marlin who could be the organization's MVP.

    Miguel Cabrera, who spent the first five seasons of his career in Florida, seems like a logical choice.

    Cabrera helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series and hit .313 with 138 home runs during his stay in Florida.

Houston Astros: Craig Biggio

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    Jeff Bagwell has more accolades, a higher batting average and more home runs, but Craig Biggio played five more seasons in Houston, collected over 3,000 hits and played a more instrumental role in Houston's trip to the 2005 Fall Classic.

    At the end of his career, Bagwell was used solely as a pinch hitter in the NLDS and NLCS in 2005. Biggio hit .316 and .333 in those series, respectively.

Kansas City Royals: George Brett

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    George Brett, a lifelong Kansas City Royal, took his team to the playoffs seven times and posted a career .337 postseason batting average. With Brett, the Royals won one World Series, in which the corner infielder hit .370.

    Brett, a 13-time All-Star and a one-time MVP, leads the franchise in runs (1,583), hits (3,154), doubles (665), triples (137), homers (317) and RBI (1,595). His career .305 batting average ranks second behind Jose Offerman's.

Los Angeles Angels: Vladimir Guerrero

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    Vladimir Guerrero only played in Los Angeles for six seasons, but he won one MVP award and hit .319 with 173 home runs for the Angels.

    Some might argue that Tim Salmon, a lifelong Angel, deserves this slide. While Salmon, a career .282 hitter, went 9-for-26 with two home runs in the 2002 World Series, he just wasn't as valuable as Vlad.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Sandy Koufax

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    Jackie Robinson played 10 seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Only one season was sub-par—Robinson hit .256 in 1955, the year he won his only World Series.

    Sandy Koufax played 12 seasons with the Dodgers but only had four stellar seasons and one very good one.

    How do you choose between the two?

    Koufax won three Cy Young awards and one MVP; Robinson won one MVP and the 1947 Rookie of the Year.

    Koufax won three World Series, posting a 4-2 record and 0.87 ERA in the Fall Classic. Robinson won just one World Series, hitting just .182 in it.

Milwaukee Brewers: Robin Yount

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    Robin Yount won two MVP awards in his 20 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. Although he never won a World Series, he was a career .344 hitter in the postseason.

    Yount is the franchise leader in hits (3,142), runs (1,632), doubles (583), triples (126), home runs (251) and RBI (1,406).

Minnesota Twins: Harmon Killebrew

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    Harmon Killebrew never led the Minnesota Twins to a World Series victory, but he is the franchise's leader in home runs (559) and RBI (1,540).

    The one-time MVP won the home run title on six occasions.

New York Mets: Tom Seaver

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    Tom Seaver won three Cy Young awards in his 12 seasons with the New York Mets, leading them to the 1969 World Series.

    Seaver leads all Mets pitchers with a 2.57 ERA, 3,045.1 innings and 1.08 WHIP.

New York Yankees: Lou Gehrig

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    The New York Yankees have had so many stars, but Lou Gehrig was the most valuable of them all. 

    The Iron Horse ranks behind Babe Ruth in batting average and home runs but leads the franchise with 1,955 RBI, 534 doubles and 163 triples.

    Gehrig won two MVP awards and six World Series, hitting .361 in the Fall Classic.

    In comparison with Ruth, Gehrig was a better fielder and a more all-around hitter, evidenced by his doubles and triples. Ruth won four World Series and hit .326 in the postseason.

Oakland Athletics: Jimmie Foxx

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    Back when the Athletics played in Philadelphia, Jimmie Foxx led the franchise to two championships. The three-time MVP ranks second in home runs (302) and batting average (.339), behind Mark McGwire and Al Simmons, respectively.

Philadelphia Phillies: Mike Schmidt

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    Mike Schmidt led the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1980 World Series, in which he hit .381 and clobbered two home runs.

    The three-time MVP and career Phillie leads the franchise in hits (2,234), home runs (548) and RBI (1,595).

Pittsburgh Pirates: Honus Wagner

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    Honus Wagner bests Roberto Clemente in every traditional offensive category with the exceptions of hits, home runs and slugging percentage.

    Wagner only won one World Series to Clemente's two, but he is regarded by many as one of the game's top 10 players.

San Diego Padres: Tony Gwynn

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    Tony Gwynn won eight batting titles and is the San Diego Padres' all-time leader in hits (3,141) by over 2,000, doubles (543), triples (85), RBI (1,138) and batting average (.338).

    The 15-time All-Star led the Padres to their only two World Series appearances. 

San Francisco Giants: Willie Mays

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    The Giants franchise has had several Hall of Famers, but Willie Mays is easily the MVP.

    The Say Hey Kid might be the best all-around player of all-time and leads the franchise in runs (2,011), hits (3,187), doubles (504) and home runs (646)—Mel Ott edges him by one in the RBI slot.

    Mays won two MVP awards and the 1954 World Series, in which he made the most famous catch in baseball history.

Seattle Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Although Edgar Martinez spent five more seasons in Seattle and accrued more stats, Ken Griffey Jr. is the franchise's MVP.

    He combined defensive prowess with the nicest swing in baseball, making him—when healthy—the most consummate player of his generation. Griffey won one MVP, four home run titles and 10 gold gloves while playing in Seattle.

St. Louis Cardinals: Stan Musial

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    Without knowing Albert Pujols' future as a free agent, it would be unfair to list Pujols here instead of Stan Musial, who played 22 seasons in St. Louis.

    Musial won three MVPs and three World Series with the Cardinals, and he currently ranks No. 1 among fellow Cardinals in runs (1,949), hits (3,630), doubles (725), triples (177), home runs (475) and RBI (1,951).

    If the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series and Pujols signs a long-term deal to stay in St. Louis, he could eventually dethrone Musial.

Tampa Bay Rays: Carl Crawford

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    Evan Longoria will eventually supplant Carl Crawford here, but Crawford is still the Tampa Bay Rays' all-time MVP. The outfielder's .296 average, 765 runs, 1,480 hits, 215 doubles and 592 RBI rank No. 1 in the franchise.

    Crawford never had a clutch performance like Longoria's stretch run in 2011, but he consistently provided during his time in Tampa.

Texas Rangers: Ivan Rodriguez

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    Ivan Rodriguez spent 13 seasons with the Texas Rangers, leading them to the playoffs three times and winning one MVP award.

    He was the best catcher in baseball for a number of those seasons and has the gold gloves and silver slugger awards to prove it.

    Michael Young tops Pudge in almost every traditional offensive category, but the backstop's ability at the plate and in the field make him more valuable than Young.

Toronto Blue Jays: Roy Halladay

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    Roy Halladay never appeared in the postseason with the Toronto Blue Jays, but he posted an ERA below 3.20 in seven of his 14 seasons in Toronto. Keep in mind: he had to face the potent lineups of New York and Boston four or five times per year.

    Doc collected one Cy Young award and won 148 games for the Blue Jays, who could always rely on their ace for longevity—he led the AL in complete games five times.

Washington Nationals: Vladimir Guerrero

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    Vladimir Guerrero didn't move with the franchise to Washington, signing with the Anaheim Angels after 2003. However, he is still the franchise's MVP.

    Guerrero spent eight seasons in Montreal, accumulating a franchise-best 234 home runs. Vlad also leads the organization with a .323 batting average.