Let's see so far I've taken away MVPs from Andre Dawson, Willie Hernandez, and Willie Stargell. But now I have to do something truly painful...take away an MVP from a former member of the Oakland A's. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
In 1992 Dennis Eckersley was the A.L. MVP & Cy Young winner just like Hernandez eight years earlier. Eck was his usual dominante self at that time with a 51 saves, 1.91 ERA, 8.45 K/BB Ratio, and 0.91 WHIP. There was one problem. Eck defined what the closer position has become today and that is one inning and done. In '92 he pitched 80 innings which as it turned out would end up being the most innings he'd ever throw as a closer. But a pitcher throwing 80 innings can't even come close to being truly the most valuable player on his own team let alone entire league. Now I loved Eckersley, he was a great story as a recovering alcoholic, and I fully supported him getting into the Hall of Fame due his unique career line. This is the guy who during a two year span in 1989 and 1990 in 131 innings, he had 128 strikeouts and walked only seven batters...SEVEN! But he was quite possibly one of the worst choices ever for MVP.
Now in 1984 redo I said Hernandez wasn't deserving of serious consideration for MVP but that he may cracked the Top 15 and even though he wasn't the best choice for Cy Young, he wasn't a bad choice either. I can not say the same for Eckersley as it'd be quite a while before I'd reach him on a list of the most valuable in 1992 and there were a handful of pitchers who were much more deserving of winning the Cy Young such as Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, and Kevin Appier. As for value to his own team Eckersley was no where near as valuable as Mark McGwire and Rickey Henderson that season. He was very important to the A's winning their 4th division title in five years but you have to play eight innings to get to him and other players have to make bigger impacts for them to come out on top...which you can pretty much say about every closer today.
So today I take away the MVP from an Oakland Athletic...but maybe I'll just turn around and give it to another? Maybe it was one of the three Toronto Blue Jays in the Top 10? Or maybe it was someone who received no first place votes? Ya okay you probably figured it out by now.
Actual 1992 Results
1) Dennis Eckersley 2) Kirby Puckett 3) Joe Carter 4) Mark McGwire 5) Dave Winfield 6) Roberto Alomar 7) Mike Devereaux 8) Frank Thomas 9) Cecil Fielder 10) Paul Molitor 11) Carlos Baerga 12) Edgar Martinez 13) Jack Morris 14t) Brady Anderson 14t) Roger Clemens 16) Juan Gonzalez 17) Ken Griffey Jr. 18) Pat Listach 19) Jack McDowell 20) George Bell 21t) Mike Bordick 21t) Mike Mussina 23) Albert Belle
175 ERA+, 3.35 K/BB, 1.07 WHIP, 64.9 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.315/.394/.467, 107 RC, 138 OPS+, .316 EQA, 58.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.343/.404/.544, 116 RC, 163 OPS+, .344 EQA, 76.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.290/.377/.491, 108 RC, 137 OPS+, .316 EQA, 54.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.312/.354/.455, 104 RC, 128 OPS+, .305 EQA, 63.3 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.329/.374/.490, 116 RC, 138 OPS+, .315 EQA, 64.1 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.320/.389/.461, 110 RC, 140 OPS+, .325 EQA, 67.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.268/.385/.585, 105 RC, 175 OPS+, .350 EQA, 64.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.310/.405/.427, 98 RC, 129 OPS+, .322 EQA, 67.9 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.323/.439/.536, 136 RC, 174 OPS+, .361 EQA, 89.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
Hey take away an MVP from a former A's player and give it to a current A's player, GENIUS!
Thomas did not receive a single first place vote. He and the White Sox were slightly better the year before and he finished 3rd. He only hit 24 homeruns but had 46 doubles so he gets punished for supposed loss of power. Some how Joe Carter received four first place votes despite the great year Alomar had. Okay I know why, the almighty RBI but even he didn't lead the league that year as Cecil Fielder did. George Bell received three voting points with a spectacular line of .255/.294/.418 but Shane Mack didn't receive a single vote.