All the talk on ESPN and the TWiB threads when it comes to the American League MVP award in 2006 is about Clutchie McClutchie of the Boston Red Sox being the MVP favorite. One debate that has creeped up again and will certainly be talked about as we get closer to the end of the season is whether or not a DH should win the MVP. In my 1995 A.L. MVP redo I showed that a DH should be able to win the MVP award. Well okay my original intention when doing the redo was to show the voter bias against Albert Belle by the media and then in turned out Edgar Martinez should have won the MVP. An everyday DH has never won the MVP award so I'll take a look back at the closest thing we've had to a DH winning the award.
Don Baylor won the 1979 A.L. MVP while splitting time between the outfield and the DH spot. He played 97 games in the outfield and 65 games at DH, the most games ever played at DH by an MVP winner to date. As usual it's not particularly hard to figure out why a player won the MVP. Baylor played on the A.L. West champion Angels and he led the league in RBI and runs scored. Baylor was also his very own Clutchie McClutchie as he hit .330 with RISP. Despite his high RBI total and also finishing 4th in the A.L. in homeruns who only finished 10th in the league in slugging. In fact the Angels team leader in slugging was not Baylor but Bobby Grich. But because of his 139 RBI Baylor won the award in a lopsided vote, taking 20 of 28 first place votes.
In second place was Ken Singleton who had the best year on the best team in the league but received only three first place votes as his RBI total was only 111. George Brett picked up two first place votes and then other three first place votes were for Mike Flanagan although he only finished 6th. He was the near unanmious choice for Cy Young but as you'll see he was agruablly not the best pitcher in the league. Ahead of Flanagan were two Red Sox, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. Lynn led the league in average, obp, and slugging while playing a Gold Glove center field. Awww I just gave away my pick didn't I?
1) Don Baylor 2) Ken Singleton 3) George Brett 4) Fred Lynn 5) Jim Rice 6) Mike Flanagan 7) Gorman Thomas 8) Bobby Grich 9) Darrell Porter 10) Buddy Bell 11t) Jim Kern 11t) Mike Marshall 11t) Eddie Murray 14) Brian Downing 15) Sixto Lezcano 16) Roy Smalley 17t) Steve Kemp 17t) Willie Wilson 19) Mark Clear 20) Paul Molitor 21) Rick Burleson 22) Tommy John 23) Cecil Cooper 24t) Willie Horton 24t) Reggie Jackson 26t) Dan Ford 26t) Ron Guidry 26t) Mike Hargrove
.322/.372/.469, 102 RC, 126 OPS+, .296 EQA, 59.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
148 ERA+, 2.54 K/BB, 1.19 WHIP, 72.6 VORP 24 Win Shares
.321/.414/.573, 113 RC, 164 OPS+, .334 EQA, 56.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#7 (I couldn't find a 1980 or 1979 card for Grich, first time I've had that problem)
.294/.365/.537, 105 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.296/.371/.530, 122 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 57.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.291/.421/.484, 109 RC, 142 OPS+, .319 EQA, 59.5 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.325/.381/.596, 141 RC, 154 OPS+, .317 EQA, 71.2 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.295/.405/.533, 124 RC, 156 OPS+, .327 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.329/.376/.563, 137 RC, 148 OPS+, .313 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.333/.423/.637, 143 RC, 176 OPS+, .341 EQA, 82.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
So what did we learn today? That outfield/DHs should never win the MVP! Wait okay that really doesn't make sense. Okay RBIs are overrated! Well you probably already should have known that. Okay we didn't learn anything but at least we had the first reference ever to Sixto Lezcano in this board's history and it's about fucking time.