A-Rod wins the MVP. A couple of writers didn’t put him in the first slot, instead writing in a Detroit Tiger.
Let the accusations of graft begin.
Can’t believe Lowell placed over Posada. Granted Posada was on the team with the MVP, but he had more impressive numbers than Lowell all-around, especially considering his position.
But, 5th and 6th places don’t really matter that much. Just a little disconcerting that Lowell would have been MVP over Posada if it came down to it.
Without ARod, the Yankees don’t make the playoffs. He carried them the entire year, especially when most of the rest of the team was not producing.
The MVP award was made for seasons like ARod’s. I’m STUNNED that it was not unanimous.
Yeah anonymous, but Lowell produced at a time when Ortiz and Manny did not. He’s a huge part of why the Red Sox were successful this year.
Posada had an amazing year, but on his specific team he was far from the most valuable player.
Interestingly (only to me) Magglio’s VORP was closer this season to A-Rod’s than Big Papi’s was to A-Rod’s in 2005.
Based on quick research of the most likely candidates, Lou gehrig holds the record with seven consecutive top-five finishes. Ortiz now has five. Williams kinda had six, if you ignore the years he missed to the war in 1943-45. Mantle and DiMaggio never had five straight top-five finishes.
Just something interesting.
If A-Rod wasn’t the MVP, and the Yankees still made the playoffs, Posada would have been, anon.
Without A-Rod’s accomplishments, Posada’s would have been magnified exponentially. It’s not really correct to say that Lowell would have beat A-Rod because removing A-Rod changes the whole dynamic.
Now that A-Rod has joined Ted Williams as a three-time winner of the AL MVP, it seems appropriate to note how badly Williams got jobbed out of at least two of those awards, never mind missing the war years. It’s amazing how good he was, and how many “what ifs” continue to swirl around his career…
I never knew that, Paul. Looking at a few years though, you’re right:
Joe DiMaggio: 30 HR, .357 BA, 1.083 OPS
Ted Williams: 37 HR, .406 BA, 1.288 OPS
Joe Gordon: 18 HR, .322 BA, .900 OPS
Ted Williams: 36 HR, .356 BA, 1.147 OPS
Horrible voting in both cases. Wonder if the voters were under the take back then.
Without looking at strangely acronymized statistics and just going on gut, A-Rod was the MVP by a massive, California-falls-into-the-ocean landslide. How any writer could put someone like Magglio Ordonez ahead of him, gaudy stats and all, is beyond me. That award was A-Rod’s and it should have been in unanimity.
First reply Anon was me. Having trouble today, apparently.
And in the wake of the Williams MVP-ness, it made me look at Mantle’s second-best year (’57), and Williams’ 2nd-place finish, and Williams still had better numbers.
Then I looked at the 1956 Yankees, and wondered how that World Series even got to 7 games.
Joe DiMaggio: 20 HR, .315 BA, .913 OPS
Ted Williams: 32 HR, .343 BA, 1.133 OPS
Yogi Berra: 27 HR, .272 BA, .819 OPS
Al Kaline: 27 HR, .340 BA, .967 OPS
Al Smith: 22 HR, .306 BA, .880 OPS
Ted Williams: 28 HR, .356 BA, 1.199 OPS
Mickey Mantle: 34 HR, .365 BA, 1.177 OPS
Ted Williams: 38 HR, .388 BA, 1.257 OPS
the two “journalists” who didnt vote for him first were beat writers for the tigers. Thats strange.
By the same token, ARod was robbed in 2002, and could make a good argument for 96 and 03, and…..
Sam, one of them is from Oakland Press. According to PeteAbe, however, they’re both from Michigan. So your point stands.
Just one was, Sam. The other was in Oakland.
Williams had a bad relationship with the press, Atheose. In at least one of those MVP races, writers from Boston left him off the ballot entirely (if I remember right. It’s been a while).
it was oakland press from Oakland, MI. home cooking
Arod WAS robbed in 2002. Miguel Tejada’s average was .05 points higher, but ARod was well ahead of him in every other category.
In 96, however, ARod only had 36 HR’s compared to Juan Gonzalez’ 47. That’s not outrageous. Also, ARod did win in 2003.
Ted Williams, however, led in EVERY major category, and still lost in a landslide.
Sorry the oakland press is the fine paper from Pontiac,MI
Um, hey guys:
The writers are Tom Gage of the Detroit News and Jim Hawkins of The Oakland Press in Pontiac, MICHIGAN. Pontiac is in Oakland County, Michigan. Not California, as it might seem.
Those two should really not be allowed to vote next year.
Ahhh, that makes sense Paul. Otherwise there really is no explanation for Williams not winning 6+ MVP’s. His numbers are far and away better than the winners in each example above.
oh look, great minds think alike. And so do we.
Some of that, too, is whether you think a player from a pretty bad team — like Williams in the late 50s — deserved the MVP. I don’t mind the 1957 vote, for example, becasue Mantle was on a first-place team, and the numbers were not so out of whack. But the Sox had pretty good teams in 1941 and 1942 (never mind how much better than Gordon he was), and Williams’ stats were clearly better in 1947.
Huh? Aren’t only the cities with MLB franchises allowed to vote in these things? (AL franchises for AL awards, etc) Am I missing something?
Wow, Oakland Press, Michigan. Hehe, who woulda thought?
That is some seriously bad homerism.
in fairness Magglio did help his team to the playoffs and without him they never would have made it.
Oh wait, thats right, they didnt make the playoffs!
It should read without magglio the tigers never would have finished 6 games back in the wild card and 8 games out of first place in the AL central.
What a joke.
Beat writers for AL teams vote, regardless of where the paper itself is based, YM.
Agreed, Sam. I’m still amazed by the two votes for Ordonez.
They ultimately don’t matter, since ARod still won by a landslide, but a unanimous decision speaks volumes. This goes to show you how biased the voting is.
Why are we always in a hurray to rescind voting privileges here? There’s not even a clearly defined criteria for this award. Ordonez was simply amazing: .363/.434/.595. Was Alex the MVP? Yeah, and he won a landslide. But I’m hardly gonna hold it against the Detroit media for tossing a couple of first place votes to their man.
M&MD are going on and on…and on and on…about Steelers fans infiltrating Giants Stadium yesterday. What, nothing more interesting to talk about? Including the fact that the Jets (and Giants) actually *won*?
When is the MVP press conference supposed to take place? I wonder if they’re timing the ARod contract announcement for that also?
Alex Rodriguez, NYY 26 2 0 328
Maglio Ordonez, DET 2 22 4 258
Vladimir Guerrero, LAA 0 3 10 203
David Ortiz, BOS 0 1 11 177
Mike Lowell, BOS 0 0 1 126
Jorge Posada, NYY 0 0 0 112
Victor Martinez, CLE 0 0 0 103
Ichiro Suzuki, SEA 0 0 0 89
Carlos Pena, TB 0 0 2 64
Curtis Granderson, DET 0 0 0 51 (10 10th place votes!)
Derek Jeter, NYY 0 0 0 17
Grady Sizemore, CLE 0 0 0 15
J.J. Putz, SEA 0 0 0 12
C.C. Sabathia, CLE 0 0 0 11
Torii Hunter, MIN 0 0 0 5
Weird that J.J. Putz got more MVP votes than Sabathia despite being well out of the running for Cy Young, especially considering Sabathia was actually incredibly valuable for the Indians, who actually made the playoffs.
curtis granderson is more valuable than grady sizemore in what parallel universe?
Paul: When you get that far down on the list, the questions becomes how did the local media from each city integrate their own players into the larger vote; There were 3 Cleveland players in the vote; 2 Seattle players. So It’s not surprising to me that the 2nd Seattle player is going to be ahead of the third Cleveland player, nevermind “real value” however that’s determined.
Ichiro probably deserved higher, but ah well. Also nice to see Derek Jeter somehow got a few votes.. haha..
I sometimes forgot how much Ted Williams was hated by the writers. Its a bit fair to say that they didn’t like him in a Bondsian way. It might have been worse. Bonds implies that the writers are out to get him and that they “need” him to sell their papers. Williams didn’t imply, he stated it baldly in every gesture of his perfect body.
No bigger writer than John Updike wrote the following about Ted Williams when he published an essay about Williams’ last game:
“The dowagers of local journalism attempted to give elementary deportment lessons to this child who spake as a god, and to their horror were themselves rebuked. Thus began the long exchange of backbiting, bat-flipping, booing, and spitting that has distinguished Williams’ public relations. The spitting incidents of 1957 and 1958 and the similar dockside courtesies that Williams has now and then extended to the grandstand should be judged against this background: the left-field stands at Fenway for twenty years have held a large number of customers who have bought their way in primarily for the privilege of showering abuse on Williams. Greatness necessarily attracts debunkers, but in Williams’ case the hostility has been systematic and unappeasable. His basic offense against the fans has been to wish that they weren’t there. Seeking a perfectionist’s vacuum, he has quixotically desired to sever the game from the ground of paid spectatorship and publicity that supports it. Hence his refusal to tip his cap to the crowd or turn the other cheek to newsmen. It has been a costly theory—it has probably cost him, among other evidences of good will, two Most Valuable Player awards, which are voted by reporters—but he has held to it from his rookie year on.”
And of course, my favorite quote in all the annals of writing about sports, from the same essay where Williams hit a home run in his last professional at-bat. After he hit it, he:
“Like a feather caught in a vortex, Williams ran around the square of bases at the center of our beseeching screaming. He ran as he always ran out home runs—hurriedly, unsmiling, head down, as if our praise were a storm of rain to get out of. He didn’t tip his cap. Though we thumped, wept, and chanted “We want Ted” for minutes after he hid in the dugout, he did not come back. Our noise for some seconds passed beyond excitement into a kind of immense open anguish, a wailing, a cry to be saved. But immortality is nontransferable. The papers said that the other players, and even the umpires on the field, begged him to come out and acknowledge us in some way, but he never had and did not now. Gods do not answer letters.”
I may hate the Red Sox, but you guys do have the best writers.
If you want to read the whole essay, and you really should as it might make you cry:
sam: i think there’s a pretty compelling argument for curtis granderson in this universe.
granderson: .302 .361 .552 136ops+
sizemore: .277 .390 .462 122ops+
sizemore’s advantage is obp and that’s it. on the bases he was 33/10, granderson a much better 26/1.
According to Dave Pinto’s PMOR defensive metric, Granderson, in the enormous Detroit CF, is far superior to Sizemore.
So in what parallel universe is Sizemore better than Granderson?
haha YF fair enough. I had forgotten how good of a year granderson had.
Love that essay, Carlos. Great to see it on the Web.
What’s most agonizing is that Williams seemed to have this relationship with the fans and media despite not really being a bad person or doing all that much to cause it. Eventually it became a self-propelling downward spiral, and I think the regret of Boston fans and media over how that transpired — especially when you look at how other-worldy a player he was — has tempered what would otherwise be more caustic reactions toward the hijinks of players like Manny Ramirez.
Carlos: Thanks for reminding that essay to us. Considering this is a thread about A-Rod, the quote within that piece from the Boston American seems apropos:
“Williams’ career, in contrast [to Babe Ruth’s], has been a series of failures except for his averages. He flopped in the only World Series he ever played in (1946) when he batted only .200. He flopped in the playoff game with Cleveland in 1948. He flopped in the final game of the 1949 season with the pennant hinging on the outcome (Yanks 5, Sox 3). He flopped in 1950 when he returned to the lineup after a two-month absence and ruined the morale of a club that seemed pennant-bound under Steve O’Neill. It has always been Williams’ records first, the team second, and the Sox non-winning record is proof enough of that.”
Paul: I’m not sure what memory of that attitude toward Williams has had toward Manny. My guess: None. Absent the Sox WS victories, I’d bet there’d be a whole different attitude. Certainly it didn’t help with Jim Rice. Anyway, Seems like we’re seeing the same thing with Alex, but in NY. Feh to it, wherever it happens.
I really do believe there exists a tension between player and fan that can never quite be breached. Its hard for a fan to see a baseball player as having a job experience similar to our own. We in some way feel we owe them, both by supporting their stratospheric salary, but also by being there; that somehow our presence allows what they do to exist.
That may be true, but their perspective is probably just as appropiate. They work in a high stakes field, with an amazing amount of transparency and feel that their reward is appropiate considering their investment in the work. This investment being more or less dedicating their lives to being good at a sport.
In a sense there is an argument concerning the job description, with each side being conflicted. We make them into gods, inviolate and mystical, but then turn around and demand that they answer our questions. Or we can agree that they are purely humans, winners of the genetic lottery and thus set ourselves up to be disenchanted by their lack of unmistakable power.
So whats the perfect player? The one who looks and plays like a god, but acts like a human, a very good exemplary human, but also doesn’t know it and/or shove it in our faces. Who answers our questions, but never says anything to make us think less of them. Who has a private life that is somehow public and perfect. Who is rare and beautiful and unique, yet lets us believe that he could have been any of us.
It seems that players who are aware that this is impossible, who believe that they can never satisfy and thus don’t even try, the ones who are most “themselves” are always the ones that we all learn to hate.
Dimaggio had that little thing called a 56 game hit streak in 1941. The numbers were close, but you have to give it to him that year.
Otherwise, I agree with others. I think Williams gets knocked for being a perpetual ass and his team not winning. My bet is even winning trumps all. He won his first MVP the year his Sox won their first pennant.
Meanwhile, check out how much writers used to reward the winning team:
Doerr 3rd with a .799 OPS?
Pesky 4th with a .828 OPS?
56-game hitting streak is great and all, but it is a novelty, certainly less dependent on the skil of the hitter than a season-long .400 batting average, and certainly not as valuable to his team.
Perhaps the memory of the Williams mistreatment colors MY view of players today. I’m fairly reluctant to go overboard about great Red Sox players, despite their excentricities, because I don’t want to lose the amazing things they’re accomplishing by focusing on the things that annoy me. Not that I discount the annoyances; that would be just as much a rewriting of history. But it would be terrible to never be able to enjoy the spectacle that is Manny hitting a baseball if I was needlessly consumed with the spectacle that is Manny himself.
Rogers Hornsby hit .424 in 1924 and finished second in the MVP.
Actually, I’d bet that hitting .400 back then was less interesting than it seems now. Indeed, that 1941 batting average was good for *only* 19th at that time. It was the highest since that Hornsby season, but Bill Terry hit .401 in 1930.
Meanwhile, that novelty of a hitting streak has never been replicated – before or since. If anyone ever manages to beat it, and their numbers are close, you can bet they’ll get the MVP too.
“certainly not as valuable to his team”
That bothered me, for some reason – I think its the certain-tude. Luckily there are numbers to help settle these things:
Dimaggio = 14.4 Wins above replacement
Williams = 12.7 Wins above replacement
Yes, one stat solves all arguments. Why didn’t we think about this before?? No more baseball discussions!
What’s with the extreme patronizing? I never said “one stat solves all arguments”. Seriously, you expect people to show respect, and that’s how you respond?
I said: “Luckily there are numbers to *help* settle these things”.
The claim was: “certainly not as valuable to his team”
The evidence suggests, in comparing those two seasons, a .406 average means less than you’d think.
Average is actually one of the least valuable metrics in measuring a hitter’s real value. Mike’s right, what’s with the patronization? If modern-day statistics like WARP are showing that maybe DiMaggio was more valuable than Williams, it’s just continuing the discussion. And god forbid someone else other than Paul uses a tone of certainty when discussing baseball.
I’m sorry we didn’t have this site in 1941, for the Joe vs. Ted arguments would have been more intense than the Nomar/Derek and ARod/Papi debates we’ve had in this era.
Sox fans can point to Williams’s virtually unrivaled offensive numbers.
Yanks fans note Joe’s own offensive prowess, accomplished in a severe run-suppressing environment for a righty, the streak, his far superior defense at a more difficult position, his “leadership,” and the Yankees postseason success.
Who was better? Is there a way to know? History seems to favor Williams, the self-proclaimed “greatest hitter,” (Babe? Barry?) but maybe that’s just a result of Joe’s distaste for publicity, the fact that Williams lived longer and became a sort of beloved uncle to the world, and that there is no other Red Sox player who comes close to his accomplishment, whereas Joe D sits among a pantheon of greats: Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle….
The .406 batting average (50 points better than anyone in the league) is of course the measure everyone looks at in Williams’ 1941 campaign, but let’s not forget the insane .553 OBP (100 points better than anyone else) or the equally ridiculous .735 slugging percentage (90 points better). That’s an OPS of almost 1.300 (204 points better than DiMaggio), an OPS+ of 275 (50 points better). Batting runs, batting wins, etc., all showed Williams well ahead of anyone else in the league. Take WARP if you want to, but the overwhelming abundance of both traditional and saber stats points to Williams as the best player in the league that year, and by such a margin as to be the most valuable, as well.
Yes, but DiMaggio was a better fielder, Paul. What are you, a blind homer?!
I’m getting whiplash with your logic. In this thread (and the Beckett one), you want to tear apart the writers. In the other, you think their votes are so good that you can judge historical accolades based on them.
Which is it?
P.s. Defense mattered a whole lot more in that era. That’s why Phil Rizzuto can win a MVP in 1950 with a line of .324 .418 .439 while Teddy was putting up a line of .317 .452 .647 and finishing tied for 21st.
P.p.s. It’s not the “best player” award. It never has been. It’s the most valuable player award. And there’s the rub – value isn’t defined. Joe D may not have been the best player in 1941, but using current methods of value, he most certainly was the most valuable.
Funny enough, the same value metrics say A-Rod was most valuable in 2005 (and 2007) too.
I’ve never agreed with this idea but I might as well throw it out there because I know some people, when talking about the MVP, factor this in.
The Yanks won the pennant that year beating the Sox out by 17 games. In other words, Joe D played on a team that actually contended. Ted Williams didn’t. I’m sure this was a factor in the voting.
I don’t think at the time that they thought Teddy’s .400 was the last .400 season. Joe D’s streak was something you can follow on the newspaper everyday. Surely it has something to do with it…
Absolutely, Nick. And that’s why Teddy was all stats, no wins. And just like now, that’s the problem with defining value. 1946 his Sox finally win a pennant, and he also gets his first MVP.
Of course, back then, there was only one playoff team in each league. Now with four, that interpretation of value gets very diluted.
I agree Lar. At the time, and still, .406 was 19th best. Hardly anything to overcome a 17 game difference in the standings. The rest of the numbers got him very close, and I suspect had there been no “56” he would have won the award in a Texas A-Rod type way.
Well, I didn’t say I agreed with that line of thinking. To me, MVP has always been about who the best player was that season regardless of team performance. I understand and respect the other view although I have never been able to agree with it.
Anyway, looking at the stats, I’d probably side with Ted Williams as MVP. I read somewhere that if you had a team full of Ted Williams in 1941 your team would have scored 17 runs a game. A team of DiMaggios, on the other hand, would have scored upwards of 11 runs a game. I guess it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that park factors could have closed the gap significantly, and that DiMaggio’s superior defense could actually make him better that season. In the end, in any case, both were deserving candidates. I don’t think it’s a fair characterization to say that the voting that year was horrible just because Joe D won.
“In the end, in any case”
in good times and bad, in limbo, in spite of it all, in your head (Zombie!), in the sh*t, indeed.
Nor am I saying what’s right. I understand the other side of things too. The real problem rests with how one defines “value”. Some years, or eras, the writers decide the standings are important. Other years they don’t. My only solid view on the matter is that these different standards makes the voting very unreliable. They might get #1 right a lot, but the rest are all over the place.
At least the Cy Young is more consistent. There it is the best pitcher.
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