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Friday, November 1, 2013

Why two MVP awards?

Now that the tournament is complete the next thing, other than the juicy and continuing verbal battle between Alex Rodriguez and Allan Huber "Bud" Selig, are the two big awards: Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young (CY) for best pitcher.

Concerning A-Rod v. Selig, at least A-Rod kept both himself and his representatives quiet during the finals series, something he had not done in the past much to the consternation of Selig.  Selig did neither.  Both Selig and his minions ran their mouths while the series was being played.  Such is their antipathy for Rodriguez.  They're really out to get him.  This is building up to a really interesting confrontation.

But in the mean time we must amuse ourselves with the awards.

The modern MVP started in 1931 with a winner selected in each of the two major leagues: American and National.  That has continued through 2012 even though those two leagues merged into one, which I decided to refer to as the Major Baseball League (MBL) to emphasize that point, which has eluded both MBL management and the media with really bad results such as teams in a division playing different schedules, which impacts results much more than performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids.

The CY award was started in 1956 because pitchers were winning the MVP award too often.  In 1956 Don Newcombe won both CY and NL MVP.  Go figure.  There was only one CY award through 1966, then one in each league, same as MVP.  Ironically, just when it appeared that Sandy Koufax was going to win CY almost every year he suddenly retired after the 1966 season at age 30 because his left arm was about to fall off.  This should be a warning to old farts everywhere who babble about how tough men were when they were young.  Unfortunately, some of that babbling comes from Tom Seaver and, to a lesser extent, Nolan Ryan both of whom pitched tons of innings forever, especially Ryan, who invites suspicion because his late career numbers strongly suggest a chemically enhanced pitcher.  See my most viewed post:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010  More on possible steroid use by Nolan Ryan.

How have the other two team sports handled awards after mergers?

The National Football League (NFL) started in 1922.  The American Football League (AFL) started in 1960.  They merged following the 1969 season with three NFL teams joining a new American Conference and the remaining NFL teams forming a National Conference in the NFL.  See the model for understanding the baseball mess?

The NFL MVP seems to have started in 1957 with the award going to Jimmy Brown.  Abner Haynes won the first AFL MVP in 1960.  In the final season before the merger, 1969:
NFL: Roman Gabriel
AFL: Joe Namath and Daryle Lamonica.

Then for the 1970 season: John Brodie, San Francisco 49ers, Quarterback of the National Conference in the NFL.  No separate MVP for the American Conference.  The first NFL MVP from the American Conference was in 1973: O.J. Simpson, Buffalo Bills, Running back.

The National  Basketball Association (NBA) started in the late 1940s and Bob Pettit was its first MVP for the 1955-1956 season.  Last MVP before the merger: 1975–76 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Center, Los Angeles Lakers.

The first season of the American Basketball Association (ABA) was 1967–1968.  First MVP: Connie Hawkins, Forward/Center, Pittsburgh Pipers.  Last MVP: 1975–76 Julius Erving, Forward, New York Nets.

Abdul-Jabbar won the first MVP of the new merged league in 1976-1977.  The NBA formed two conferences: East and West.  I think the only merged NBA MVP from an old ABA team was Tim Duncan, Forward/Center, San Antonio Spurs who won for 2001-2002 and 2002-2003.

OK, you get the idea: two leagues merge and there's only one award.  If you're still clinging to the delusion that the two old baseball leagues never merged and that their identities have meaning, consider this: a 15 year old kid thinks that the Boston Red Sox are a dynasty.

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