Category: Player History

Biggest MVP Snubs in MLB History

Major League Baseball has seen some amazing performances by star players, but for some reason they fail to win the coveted MVP award. Numbers don’t lie but those who award the MVP may tend to ignore the numbers. The MVP award should be based on a player’s performance and not solely on the team’s performance as a whole. Even the greatest players from the past have been rejected.

1. Derek Jeter – New York Yankees 1996
In 2006, Derek Jeter shined for the Yankees. Jeter finished the season with 14 home runs, 97 RBI, 34 steals, scored 118 runs and a hitting average of .343. Jeter fell to Minnesota Twins star first baseman Justin Morneau who had lackluster numbers compared to Jeter. Morneau had an average of .321, hit 34 home runs and score 130 runs in the 2006 season. Derek Jeter has deserved multiple MVP titles but is always been rejected each time he came up for a vote.

2. Don Mattingly – New York Yankees 1986
Don Mattingly was a star despite never winning a World Series with the New York Yankees. Mattingly hit with great power and average, turned him into one of the must watch players of the 80s. In 1985, Mattingly won the AL MVP Award, after accumulating a .324 batting average and hitting 35 home runs. His numbers continued to grow as he finished the 1986 season with a .352 average and led the majors with 238 hits. Despite is power numbers, Mattingly lost the MVP title to Red Sox star pitcher Roger Clemens, who posted a 24-4 and 2.48 ERA record that year.

3. Reggie Jackson – Oakland Athletics 1974
Reggie Jackson helped lead the Oakland Athletics to three consecutive World Series titles form 1972 to 1974. Jackson won the AL MVP Award in 1973 with a 2.93 average, 32 home runs and 117 RBI’s. Jackson made his case against for an MVP title in 1974, when he ended the season with a .289 average, 29 home runs, 93 RBI’s and 25 steals. The 1974 MVP title would end up going to Jeff Burroughs, who had lackluster numbers compared to Jackson.

4. Willie Mays – San Francisco Giants 1960
Willie Mays is one of America’s greatest outfielders of all time. Willie Mays outshined the league in 1960 end the season with a .319 average, 29 home runs, 103 RBI’s and 25 steals. Mays and his stellar resume was passed over for Pirates shortstop Dick Groat, whose team won the World Series that year. Mays was a strong player because he could excel on the field and behind the plate.

5. Alex Rodriguez – Seattle Mariners 1996
Alex Rodriguez began his career in 1996 with the Mariners as the team’s starting shortstop. 1996 was an amazing year for A-Rod as he won the AL batting title with a record of .358, 36 home runs and 123 RBI’s. Alex Rodriguez was rejected by MVP voters because his team missed the playoffs. Rodriguez’s numbers show him worthy of being the 1996 MVP despite his team’s failings.

Top MLB Pitchers Who Had Their Careers Cut Short By Injury

Playing any sport injury-free is a matter of luck. Pitchers are the luckiest of the bunch – the human body is simply not designed to repetitively throw a baseball at high speeds. Exercise and good mechanics are only hedges, not totally preventative. For every freak like Nolan Ryan, there are talented pitchers who get the short end of the stick. Here are several of these pitchers. This list doesn’t include the likes of Jose Fernandez or Steve Olin, whose lives were tragically cut short by accidents.

 

Mark Fidrych — “The Bird” was a comet who blazed across the baseball landscape in 1976. He won 19 games for the Detroit Tigers that year and was beloved by fans for his quirks, like talking to the baseball in his hand. The injury bug struck quickly, first he hurt his knee while goofing off during Spring Training in ’77 and then he tried to pitch through an undiagnosed rotator cuff tear for the next three seasons. His career was finally over after ’80 and Tigers fans could only wonder “What If?”

 

J.R. Richard — Richard was one of the most imposing pitchers to toe the rubber. The 6’8 behemoth looked large enough to reach out and grab batters from the mound. Add a tremendous fastball and it’s no surprise that he struck out over 300 batters in a season twice. Had he not suffered a stroke at the age of 30 in 1980, one that he was lucky to have survived, he might have rewritten a lot of pitching records. He didn’t pitch again.

 

Steve Avery — Over the past 25 years, Atlanta has had three Hall-of-Fame caliber pitchers on its staff: Tom GlavineGreg Maddux, and John Smoltz. Braves fans initially thought they might have a fourth in Avery. The lanky lefty was one of the big reasons for Atlanta’s Worst-To-First turnaround in 1991, winning 18 games. He won 18 games in ’93 and then started to fade because of injuries. Part of it might have been because he was throwing over 200 innings at age 22, something that would be unheard of in today’s innings-conscious game. He only had one more winning season after that before hanging up his cleats in 2003 – after not pitching in the majors the previous three years.

 

Mark Prior — Prior debunks the whole “mechanics” debate. When he was drafted, people pointed to his pitching motion and said that it was nearly impeccable. He proved that wrong when an avalanche of injuries that occurred after his amazing 2003 sophomore season saw him get on an endless treadmill of rehabilitation starts. Prior last pitched in the Majors in ’05 though he officially retired eight years later after aborted comeback after comeback.

 

Kerry Wood — Wood was another victim of overuse. He took the baseball world by storm in 1998, striking out 20 hitters in one game. He was injured in ’99 and he did bounce back from 2000-03, but then suffered a swift decline and never won more than five games again. At least we got to see Wood in a popular insurance commercial when he pulled Andre Dawson out of the Wrigley Field ivy.

 

Fernando Valenzuela — People who weren’t alive in 1981 won’t grasp what Fernandomania was like. The portly Mexican who was known for looking up at the sky at the beginning of his pitching motion, won the Cy Young that year, vexing batters with his screwball. He was on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory for the next several years, but then he lost effectiveness after the ’87 season. His ERA kept rising yearly and while he did pitch 17 years, many of his later years were not up to the standards of Fernandomania.