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Friday, November 16, 2012

Triple Crown but not MVP: Klein, Gehrig, Williams, Williams.

The gibberish continues this morning about how the batting triple crown (leading the league/conference in home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI) and batting average (BA) in the same season) pretty much entitles a batter to the most valuable player (MVP) award, which was first given in 1931.  This may be especially true if the batter's team finishes first in an arbitrarily defined division and plays most of its games outside that division and even though the team has fewer wins than two teams that do not qualify for the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament.

Click link to read my August 14, 2011 Triple Crown research.

Miguel Cabrera dominated the vote of the writers and was awarded the American Conference (AC) MVP award.  Mike Trout, whose Angels team won one more game than Cabrera's Tigers but did not make the tournament, finished a solid but distant second, 362 points to 281; 22 first place votes to 6.

I'm guessing that many of those who voted for and/or supported Cabrera are also Ted Williams sycophants and Yankee haters who constantly whine that Williams finished second in MVP voting to Yankees in both his triple crown seasons, 1942 and 1947.  They never mention that Williams Red Sox teams did not finish first.

In 1942 Boston finished second, nine games behind the Yankees.  Yankee second baseman Joe Gordon beat Williams in MVP points 270 to 249, 12 first place votes to 9.  In 1947 Boston finished third, twelve games behind the Yankees.  Yankee center fielder Joe DiMaggio beat Williams in MVP points 202 to 201, 8 first place votes to 3.

They also never mention that two other Hall of Fame triple crown batters did not win the MVP award.

In 1933 Chuck Klein of the Philadelphia Phillies and Jimmie Foxx of the Philadelphia As led their respective leagues in the triple crown categories.  Neither Philadelphia team finished first.  The Phillies were seventh, 31 games behind the New York Giants and the As were third, 19.5 games behind Washington's last pennant winner, which lost the World Series to the Giants.  NL MVP points: Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell 77, Klein 48.  AL MVP points: Foxx 74, Joe Cronin Washington SS 62.

In 1934 Detroit won the AL pennant, seven games ahead of the second place Yankees who had two triple crown players: Lou Gehrig and southpaw pitcher Lefty Gomez who led the AL in wins, strike outs and ERA.  Gomez did it again in 1937.  Gehrig finished FIFTH behind three Tigers and even his own teammate Gomez.  You should live long enough to hear a Red Sox fan mention that.

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Mickey Cochrane DET 67.0 84% 3.7 129 437 74 140 2 76 8 78 .320 .428 .412 .840
2 Charlie Gehringer DET 65.0 81% 8.1 154 601 134 214 11 127 11 99 .356 .450 .517 .967
3 Lefty Gomez NYY 60.0 75% 7.4 38 99 8 13 0 4 0 6 .131 .189 .141 .330 26 5 2.33 1.133 38 33 1 281.2 223 12 96 158
4 Schoolboy Rowe DET 59.0 74% 6.6 51 109 15 33 2 22 0 6 .303 .339 .450 .789 24 8 3.45 1.278 45 30 1 266.0 259 12 81 149
5 Lou Gehrig NYY 54.0 68% 10.1 154 579 128 210 49 165 9 109 .363 .465 .706 1.172
6 Hank Greenberg DET 29.0 36% 5.8 153 593 118 201 26 139 9 63 .339 .404 .600 1.005
7 Hal Trosky CLE 18.0 22% 5.2 154 625 117 206 35 142 2 58 .330 .388 .598 .987
8 Wes Ferrell BOS 16.0 20% 4.7 34 78 12 22 4 17 1 7 .282 .341 .487 .828 14 5 3.63 1.403 26 23 1 181.0 205 4 49 67
9 Marv Owen DET 13.0 16% 3.0 154 565 79 179 8 96 3 59 .317 .385 .451 .837
10 Jimmie Foxx PHA 11.0 14% 8.6 150 539 120 180 44 130 11 111 .334 .449 .653 1.102
11 Al Simmons CHW 9.0 0.0 11% 4.2 138 558 102 192 18 104 3 53 .344 .403 .530 .933
12 Roy Johnson BOS 8.0 0.0 10% 1.9 143 569 85 182 7 119 11 54 .320 .379 .467 .846
12 Billy Werber BOS 8.0 0.0 10% 5.2 152 623 129 200 11 67 40 77 .321 .397 .472 .868
14 Goose Goslin DET 6.0 0.0 8% 2.4 151 614 106 187 13 100 5 65 .305 .373 .453 .826
15 Sam West SLB 5.0 0.0 6% 2.6 122 482 90 157 9 55 3 62 .326 .403 .469 .871
16 Mel Harder CLE 4.0 0.0 5% 6.7 44 87 9 14 0 5 0 3 .161 .189 .230 .419 20 12 2.61 1.281 44 29 4 255.1 246 6 81 91
17 Earl Averill CLE 3.0 0.0 4% 6.5 154 598 128 187 31 113 5 99 .313 .414 .569 .982
17 Pinky Higgins PHA 3.0 0.0 4% 4.0 144 543 89 179 16 90 9 56 .330 .392 .508 .901
19 Bill Knickerbocker CLE 2.0 0.0 2% 2.4 146 593 82 188 4 67 6 25 .317 .347 .408 .755
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/16/2012.

All other triple crown batters through 1967 were on pennant winners and voted MVP:

1937 Joe Medwick Cardinals; MVP points: Medwick 70, Gabby Hartnett Cubs 68.  Cubs were second by three games.  First place votes: Medwick 2, Hartnett 3, Harry Danning Giants catcher 1 and 10 points finishing 14th.  Danning batted .288 in 93 games.

1956 Mickey Mantle Yankees; MVP points: Mantle 336 (all first place votes), Yogi Berra 186.

1966 Frank Robinson Orioles; MVP points: Robinson 280 (all first place votes), Brooks Robinson 153.

1967 Carl Yastrzemski Red Sox; MVP points: Yastrzemski 275 (all but one first place votes), Harmon Killebrew Twins (second by one game) 171; Cesar Tovar, Killebrew's Twins teammate, got the other first place vote and 70 points tied for seventh.

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