David Ortiz this year extended a run that is pretty impressive: He has finished in the Top 5 in AL MVP voting for the fifth consecutive year, joining just three others.
- Lou Gehrig — 7 (1931-36)
- Yogi Berra — 7 (1950-56)
- Eddie Murray — 5 (1981-85)
- David Ortiz — 5 (2003-07)
Ted Williams gets an honorable mention, for having six straight MVPs in the years he played, but four MVPs were awarded between 1941 and 1946, and he didn’t finish in the top five in any of them. Turns out there was something better he had to do.
That list is especially impressive when you consider, 1. The players who aren’t on the list (DiMaggio, Mantle, Killebrew), and 2. How many more teams, and thus how many more players, are in the league now to provide competition for the top five spots. Murray and Ortiz (so far) both have the ignominy of never having won the award despite coming so close so often.
The National League is a different story, thanks to the otherwise weaker lineups and the dominant sluggers they’ve had there recently. Albert Pujols has six straight and could make it seven tomorrow. Barry Bonds had five straight twice (one for the clean era, one for the presumably dirty), and won the award four times in a row, something we’ll probably never see again.