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Guest Daily Article Submission

Who is the Best Player to have Never Won the MVP award in MLB History? by Rich Rothwarf

(To give your answer and view the results to this ranking question, go to: Baseball: MLB: All Time: Individuals.)

The MVP award has been in existence in its present form since 1931. It was awarded sporadically in the 1910's and 1920's, so all-time greats, such as Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner and Nap Lajoie, were never honored. This article will focus on players whose careers post-date 1931.

The best players never to have been named MVP fall into three categories. The first consists of players like Al Kaline, Eddie Murray and Dave Winfield, who were the power hitters with high batting averages generally favored by MVP voters. Unfortunately, although they all hit around 400 or 500 career home runs, and all three played on pennant-winning teams, none of them ever hit 40 homers in a season. Kaline's highest total for a season was 29. It takes a lot of luck to be named MVP when you never have an outstanding season, just lots of very good ones.

The second category contains players who had seasons in which they were arguably the best player in baseball. Their combination of high batting average, great on-base percentage, speed, and excellent defense made them outstanding all-around players. Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Craig Biggio, and Roberto Alomar fit into this group. The one thing that all these players lacked was power. Not only did none of them ever hit 30 home runs in a season, they all had numerous years with home run totals in single digits.

The final category consists of great players who had MVP-caliber seasons with good power numbers. Mel Ott, Mike Piazza, Eddie Mathews, Duke Snider, Billy Williams, and Johnny Mize are in this group. Ott's failure to win the award is especially puzzling. He led the league in home runs six times, twice in seasons when his Giants won the pennant. Someone just had a better year than he did each time. In 1997, Piazza hit .362 with 201 hits, 40 homers and 124 RBI, unprecedented numbers for a catcher. The baseball writers preferred Larry Walker, with his 49, 130, .366 in hitter-friendly Coors Field, and Piazza finished second for a second consecutive year. The other players in this group have similar stories. All had two or more MVP-caliber seasons in which they were edged out by someone who had slightly superior statistics, or who played for a better team.

I included no pitchers in this article, because pitchers have been awarded the Cy Young Award since 1956. From 1931 to 1955 there were no superstar pitchers other than Bob Feller who didn't receive the MVP award. Since 1956 the only great pitcher never honored with a Cy Young Award is Juan Marichal, who won 25 or more games 3 times in the 1960's, only to lose out to Sandy Koufax (twice) and Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA. Marichal never received even one vote in any of those three seasons.

My ranking of the greatest players never to be named MVP is as follows:

1. Mel Ott 2. Mike Piazza 3. Eddie Mathews 4. Al Kaline 5. Tony Gwynn 6. Dave Winfield 7. Wade Boggs 8. Craig Biggio 9. Roberto Alomar 10. Eddie Murray


  • Mitch Williams
    Posted by usrfan

Past Featured Ranking Questions Of The Week

Who is the Best Player to have Never Won the MVP award in MLB History? by Rich Rothwarf
Who is the Most Deserving Player not to have Won the MVP award in a Specific Season in NBA history? by Mark D. Hauser
Who is the Least Deserving MVP Winner in NBA History? by Mark D. Hauser
Who are the Best Players to have Never Won the MVP award in NBA History? by Mark D. Hauser
Who is the Best Player to have Never Won the MVP award in NFL History? by Mark D. Hauser
The Top 10 All Time Summer Olympians by Mark D. Hauser
Sports and Maijuana: A Media Circus by Jessica Reuter
The November World Series 2001: A Candle in the Dark by Jessica Reuter

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