One of the most coveted awards in Major League Baseball is getting the MVP award. Not only are you the most valuable player, but you were voted as such; this means multiple people agree that you are the best there is to offer that season. Every player strives to get that achievement, and many years some of the greats get outvoted because someone was just a little bit better than them that season. There are seasons where the vote is even controversial. Some people argue whether or not the player deserved the award over other players.
Do you know who has won this prestigious award or not? Sometimes some of the greats were passed up because an up and comer just had a better year or the competition was really stiff so the obvious picks may not be so obvious at the end of the day. Not everyone was so deserving of the award too. When you look at their overall careers you wonder how the heck they won the award over everyone else on the field. It’s an award that’s prone to human error, but it’s a big one nonetheless. Take this quiz to figure out if you really know your stuff about the MLB MVP awards.
Rafael Palmeiro is one of only four players to accumulate 3,000 hits and 500 home runs throughout his career. Say what? He should have hands down gotten into the Hall of Fame with flying colors, but he decided to tarnish his legacy by testing positive for steroids in 2005 and blew the possibility of that happening anytime soon. It always seems a little sad when a great player makes a move like that. Come on Palmeiro.
Ivan Rodriguez is an excellent choice to nominate for any award as he is an outstanding catcher. Not to mention that he had a .332 batting average with 35 home runs and 25 steals, scored 116 runs and drove in 113 runs. But it was his performance behind the plate that really got fans out of their seats. He competed against Pedro Martinez for the coveted MVP. Many believe that a pitcher versus a catcher seems like quite a matchup, but the skill sets on both of these players was pretty unreal.
The Big Mac! As far as power goes, not many players can stand up to the guy; he plays in a league of his own. From his record-breaking 49 home run rookie season in 1987 to his all-inspiring 583rd home run seen across the nation in 2001, the guy was a mega star for the game. However, he was also a player that admitted to the use of steroids and thus kept him out of the Hall of Fame sadly, yet it still seems kind of crazy that he wouldn’t be inducted regardless.
Miguel Cabrera has been a force to be reckoned with ever since he became a starter in 2004 at the age of 21. Since then, he’s hit a .321 average with 305 home runs, and 1,051 RBIs. At one point he even got up to an American League-best at .333 and set career highs with 40 home runs and 129 RBIs. There’s no doubt that the guy has the skills—he’s been an all-star player since the beginning of his career.
Wade Boggs is one of the best contact hitters of all time. There, I said it. Boggs had a better batting average than .300 in 15 of his 18 season, which won him five batting titles and collected him 3,010 hits in his career. Of course he was inducted into the Hall of Fame from these numbers. He also played on the incredible 1986 Red Sox team with superstars like Roger Clemens and Jim Rice—talk about talent.
Poor Eric Davis, injuries kept him from reaching his full potential, and man oh man did he have some crazy skills. Many have said when he’s healthy he was the true definition of a true five-tool player, and for the handful of seasons he played without an injury many fans felt no one rivaled him. His 1987 season actually ranks as the third-best power-speed season in baseball history. He was a major asset for the Reds although they only made the postseason once while he played with the team.
Terry Pendleton had two consecutive years in the early 1990s where he lit the world on fire. 1991 and 1992 were the years of Pendleton as he led the National league in hits and batting average while also hitting for power. However, outside of his 1991 and 1992 season, not much really happened with him. He just kind of disappeared from everyone’s radar. He wasn’t a terrible player, but he wasn’t really outstanding either. He ended his career with a .240 batting average and 140 home runs in 15 seasons.
Derek Jeter was the captain of the Yankees—everyone knows him and his career. He never made trouble and he was always there when the Yankees needed him. Few would argue that he truly is one of the greats. He could do it all and he never really bragged about it either. Whether you liked the Yankees or not, you couldn’t help but like Jeter. Although he was a middle of the lineup hitter, he always came through in the clutch and laid the pathway for other players to also be successful.
Yes, Phil Rizzuto was a major part of the Yankees bringing home seven world championships, but was he really the standout player on the field? Although he is a Hall of Famer, there is a wide debate as to whether he deserves it or not. Rizzuto had a 93 OPS+, but he was more known for his defensive skills. Sure, he had a lot to offer the game, but the question is was he the hero that saved the day game after game?
From the second Will Clark stepped on the Giants lineup he was something special. He was everything the team could ask for in a first baseman before a first baseman was expected to bring in 50 home runs a season that is. His 137 OPS+ ranks him in the top 100 of all time, but his numbers still fall a little short for the Hall of Fame. However, many feel his career was very underrated nonetheless. He was consistent and reliable.
Carlos Delgado was one of the league's most productive hitters during his career and was a stud while he was in the midst of the Blue Jay’s order. Not only did he exceed 30 home runs 11 times, but he also topped 100 RBIs nine times as well. What a total beast! During his 2003 season he led the league with a 1.019 OPS, but his 2000 season really blew the minds of the league as he had a 3.44 average, 41 home runs, 137 RBIs, and even 57 doubles. Whew!
David Ortiz had a relatively quiet six seasons in the beginning of his career while he played with the Twins before he was picked up by the Red Sox. It was when he picked up his cleats and made the move to Boston that his career really started to blossom as his average line was .302 batting average, 42 home runs, and 128 RBIs. He really established himself as a top producer from his humble beginnings.
Alex Rodriguez is legendary. Come on, whether you like him or not you have to respect that guy for what he does on the field. He has had monstrous year after monstrous year, yet still ends up on the winning end of things somehow. However, as his gigantic numbers emerged, so did his steroid usage as he tested positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003. Some argue he is the reason why random drug tests were instituted the next year.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Cal Ripken Jr. was ungodly during some of his time spent on the field. At one point he has a .323 batting average with 34 home runs and 114 RBIs. He also took home a Gold Glove Award and an All-Star Game MVP award too. This season was one of the most perfect seasons anyone has ever seen played in the game of baseball and won’t be replicated for many years to come. However, the Orioles only finished with a 67-95 record that year if you can believe it.
There’s no question that Dennis Eckersley helped the A’s to the American League West title, but he only pitched 80 innings the entire season so how much of an impact did he really have? Considering Oakland only won the division by six games, it seems hard to believe that he was the main reason why they were led to the major victory. However, that’s not to say that he didn’t produce on the mound when he was in the game either. When he was in, he was on.
Carlos Beltran was known for his breakout regular season and amazing postseason performance in 2004 when he played for the Astros. This season also earned him a seven-year, $119 million contract from the Mets (wow). Although he had mixed success throughout these seven years, he had his greatest success during his 2006 season with the Mets and was also considered a five-tool player. However, Beltran was another player that suffered from a lot of injuries, which was a major bummer.
Carlton Fisk was a force to be reckoned with behind the plate. He spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the White Socks. He was also the American League Rookie of the Year in 1972 and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting four times during his time in Boston alone. (Bleacher Report)
For roughly two years, Denny McLain was the best pitcher in the American League. In fact, he won back-to-back Cy Young awards in 1968 and 1969. Did I mention he also posted a 1.96 ERA in 1968? Yeah, he did. He was a real stud during those times and no one could really compare to him, but after that he didn’t do a ton. He put up a mediocre 101 ERA+ during his 10 seasons with the MLB beyond that.
Mo Vaughn put up some big home run and RBI numbers during the playoffs when he was playing on the Red Sox. Here’s the thing though, Vaughn is slow and not so wonderful in the defensive arena. In fact at first base he was just seventh in the league in OPS. Many people argue that he never really came through when the chips were down either—he wasn’t as consistent as he should or could have been, but many other disagree with the statement.
Although his career only spanned 12 seasons, Kirby Puckett made a lasting impression. Many considered him to be one of the best outfielders of his time. During his best year in 1992, he was known as the face of the Twins and one of the most well-like players in the league. However, he was also known as a player that did a little bit of everything but didn’t have the huge results like some other players either.
Joe DiMaggio once had a 56-game hitting streak, a batting average of .357, 30 home runs, 125 RBIs, and 122 runs scored. There’s no question that DiMaggio was a fantastic player, the only problem was that DiMaggio played against some real talent during that time and the votes for MVP definitely reflected that. It was hard to choose a winner for the award, but they did it. At the end of the day, the decision came down to value as a player.
Hall of Famer Yogi Berra has quite a career under his belt. He played 2,120 games, got 2,150 and 358 home runs throughout his 19-year playing career. He also won 10 World Series with the Yankees and played in 75 World Series games. Not to mention he also played with teammates like Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle to make quite a team. Berra is one of the most noteworthy player throughout the years, who doesn’t know the guy? He’s a legend.
Babe Ruth is arguably one of the best players to hit the field. Did you know that he actually started out his career as a pitcher? The guy could literally do it all. For his career, Ruth had a .690 slugging percentage, 1.164 OPS and 206 OPS+, which are the best in history. He also won the “League Award” in 1923. The only thing Ruth couldn’t do well was stealing bases; it was his Achilles’ heel if you will. Other than that, the guy was virtually unstoppable.
Although his legacy was slightly tainted by his positive PED test, Manny Ramirez was still was one of the best run-producers of his day. Not to mention that he also helped lead the Red Sox to two World Series titles while he consistently tore up the middle of their batting order. He was always a ballplayer that could be relied on and it seemed like success followed him. He also played along the talented David Ortiz to really make for a powerhouse team.
As one of the best producers as a catcher of all time, Mike Piazza seemed to make the impossible possible behind the plate on the regular. He had some of the most amazing offensive seasons with both the Dodgers and Mets the league has ever seen. Besides his time spent on the 2000 Mets, he never spent time on a team that made it to the World Series and only made five postseason appearances throughout his 16-year career.