Since the inception of the MVP award in 1931, people have sat at bars and discussed who was the best player in a particular year. There have been debates, arguments, fistfights, and maybe even shootings concerning MVP choices.
One good example is 2007. I was certain Matt Holliday should and would win the National League MVP award. So I was ready to fight when Jimmy Rollins won it by a landslide.
Not that Rollins had a bad year; it was obviously great. I just felt Holliday's was better, and he led the Rockies to the World Series.
Believe me when I tell you that pennants are a big determining factor in whether a player wins it or not.
As a side note, I had a preconceived notion that Maury Wills would be high on my list. However, after research, I determined that, indeed, he was worthy.
So much for the preamble, now let's get on with the show. I give you the 10 worst MVP picks in baseball history.
10. Rollie Fingers—1981—Milwaukee Brewers—RP
Here we go with a reliever winning the MVP award. Rollie was 6-3 with an ERA of 1.04. He did have a league-leading 28 saves.
This is great for “Fireman of the Year,” but not MVP.
I realize this season was shortened because of a players’s strike, but there were still better numbers than that.
Steve McCatty of the Oakland A’s won a league-high 14 games and posted a very good ERA of 2.33. He threw a league best four shutouts in only 22 starts.
He came in a dismal 13th place in MVP voting, but he gets mine.
My Pick: Steve McCatty.
9. Willie Hernandez—1984—Detroit Tigers—RP
Willie Hernandez was only 9-3 with a 1.92 ERA and won the American League MVP award in 1984. He did have 32 saves, although the only categories he lead the league in were games and games finished.
I have always been clear on this. Not only do I not think relief pitchers should not be eligible for MVP consideration, but I don’t think they should qualify for the Cy Young award either. They have the “Rolaids” Fireman of the Year, or whatever it is called now.
At any rate, other than the ERA, these stats do not cast a long enough shadow.
Don Mattingly was the obvious choice that year. He hit 23 HR, had 110 RBI, and batted a league best .343. He also had a league high 207 hits and scored 91 runs. “Donnie Baseball” also led the league in doubles with 44.
If the Yankees had won the pennant, do you think Mattingly might have won it?
My Pick: Don Mattingly.
8. Kirk Gibson—1988—Los Angeles Dodgers—OF
Kirk Gibson won the National League MVP award in 1988 with 25 HR, 76 RBI, and batted only .290. He had 157 hits and scored 106 runs.
The Dodgers won the pennant that year. The voting supposedly takes place prior to the World Series, but that would have seemed to be his only redeeming quality that year.
“I can’t believe he won the MVP,” is what Jack Buck should have said.
If I see another video of Kirk doing the “chainsaw,” I think I’ll puke.
Will Clark of the Giants should have won the award. He hit 29 home runs, led the league with 109 RBI, and batted .282. Will also had 162 hits and scored 102 runs. He led the league in walks and intentional walks.
My Pick: Will Clark
7. Nellie Fox—1959—Chicago White Sox—2B
In 1959, second baseman Nellie Fox won the American League MVP award with a .306 average. He also hit 2 HR with 70 RBI, 191 hits, and scored 84 runs.
The only categories Nellie led that season were games and at bats.
Rocky Colavito of the Indians hit a league best 42 HR, knocked in 111, and scored 90 runs.
Harvey Kuenn of the Tigers led the league with a .353 average. He also led the league in hits with 198 and in doubles with 42 while scoring 99 runs. Kuenn came in eighth in the AL voting that year.
My Pick: Harvey Kuenn.
6. Zoilo Versalles—1965—Minnesota Twins—SS
Zoilo hit 19 HR, 77 RBI, and batted a shining .273. He also had 182 hits.
He led the league in runs, doubles, and triples. He also led the league in a dubious category—strikeouts.
The Twins did win the pennant that year, but he didn’t even have the best season on his own team.
Teammate Tony Oliva should have won the award that year. He led the league with a .321 average, hit 16 HR, and drove in 98 runs. He led the league in hits with 185 and also scored 107 runs.
My Pick: Tony Oliva.
5. Dick Groat—1960—Pittsburgh Pirates—SS
Dick Groat led the National League in batting in 1960 with a .325 average.
I guess he won the MVP award because he had the best year of the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
He also hit two home runs and had 50 RBI. Dick had 186 hits and scored 85 runs. Surely those weren’t the best stats anyone else put up that year.
Ernie Banks hit 41 homers, Hank Aaron knocked in 126, and Bill Bruton scored 112.
Willie Mays was the true MVP that year. He hit 29 HR, 103 RBI, and batted .319. He also led the league with 190 hits and scored 107 runs.
My Pick: Willie Mays.
4. Jim Konstanty—1950—Philadelphia Phillies—P
Jim Konstanty was the MVP in the National League in 1950 with a 16-7 record and an ERA of 2.66. He also had a league leading 22 saves.
The only other categories in which Jim led the league were games and games finished.
Maybe it was just a bad year all across the board.
Nope. Warren Spahn won a league high 21 games for the Braves, while winning the second leg of the Triple Crown with 191 strikeouts.
Jim Hearn won the ERA title that year with an ERA of 2.49. Stan Musial hit 29 HR with 108 RBI while batting a league best .346. Stan also scored 105 runs.
Ralph Kiner led the league that year with 47 homers.
My Pick: Stan Musial.
3. Frankie Frisch—1931—St. Louis Cardinals—2B
This was the inaugural year for the MVP award, so maybe they didn’t know what they were supposed to do.
Frankie did lead the league in stolen bases with 28, but that was it.
He batted .311 with four homers and 82 RBI. He had 161 hits and scored 91 runs—not MVP-type numbers.
Of course, the Cardinals won the pennant that year, and you know, boys and girls, that speaks volumes.
Chuck Klein of the Phillies had an MVP year if there ever was one. He led the league in HR with 31, in RBI with 121, runs with 121, slugging with .584, and total bases with 347. He also batted .337 and had 200 hits.
My Pick—hands down: Chuck Klein.
2. Marty "Slats" Marion—1944—St. Louis Cardinals—SS
In 1944, Marty Marion won the MVP award in the National League with arguably the worst statistics ever.
He hit six HR, knocked in 63, and had a batting average of .267. He had only 135 hits and only scored 50 runs.
Do you think the Cardinals won the pennant that year? Good going, Spanky.
Bill Nicholson won two legs of the Triple Crown with 33 HR and 122 RBI. He also led the league in runs with 116 and total bases with 317.
Dixie Walker led the league in batting with an average of .357.
Marion did not lead the league in any categories whatsoever.
The writers must have been smoking the Chinese pipe during that vote.
The writers made a very bad choice in my opinion, but wait: The worst is yet to come.
My Pick: Bill Nicholson
1. Mickey Cochrane—1934—Detroit Tigers—C
Mickey Cochrane of the Detroit Tigers won the MVP award in the American League in 1934 with a .320 batting average.
He also powered two homers and knocked in 76. He had 140 hits and scored 70 runs.
He didn’t lead the league in anything.
Because the Yankees came in second that year, one of the biggest robberies in MLB history took place.
Lou Gehrig won the Triple Crown with an average of .363, while hitting 44 HR and driving in 165. Lou also led the league in OBP, slugging percentage, and total bases.
What a ripoff. That is your winner, folks.
My Pick: Lou Gehrig.
The National and American Leagues took an equal beating in this article. Five bad choices each. It wasn't planned that way, it just happened.
How about you? What do you think was the most infamous ripoff in history?