You know I was going to do a "Steve Howe Memories" entry and just post the lyrics to "White Lines" but thought better of it.
I needed to do something to keep me from punching a wall thinking about the A's sinking $22 million Esteban Loaiza so might as well do a redo. I've been trying to find a year with a truly bad choice for MVP and with the best choice receiving little support and I'm kinda running out of examples in my lifetime so picked out an old one.
1974 was a historic year as Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career homerun record, Lou Brock stole a then record 118 bases, and hey the A's won their third consecutive World Series. The Dodgers paced the National League with 102 wins and their young first baseman Steve Garvey took home the MVP despite not even being the best player on the team. Now you may say it would be unfair to pick apart an older MVP choice as stats such as Win Shares and VORP were a long way from being known and batting average was still considered the best stat to identify a good hitter by the general public. And I say "fuck you", hindsight is a wonderful tool.
Garvey won the award due to having a high average, finishing 3rd in the leauge in RBI, and playing on the best team in the league. But one big mark against Garvey through out his career as he didn't get on base at a very good rate and in '74 he didn't crack the Top 30 in OBP in the league. He was one of three Dodgers to finish in the Top 5 in the voting. Reliever Mike Marshall pitched in a record 106 games, throwing 208 innings, finished 3rd (also win Cy Young) and the always underrated Jimmy Wynn finished 5th. Wynn really played in the wrong era as he'd be much better appreciated now with his good power and great ability to draw walks. Marshall likley received so much support due to the insane number of apperances he made but he also wasn't the best pitcher on the Dodgers, that being Andy Messersmith. Even with his incredible workload as a reliever he only finished tied for 5th on the team in Win Shares.
Brock's record stolen base record resulted in him getting a 2nd place finish and was the only real competitor to Garvey in the voting as he received eight first place votes. Like Garvey though he wasn't the best player on his team as ex-Red Sox and future Dodger Reggie Smith was. In fact Brock was probably a worse 2nd place choice than Garvey was a 1st place choice. The great Johnny Bench and a young Mike Schmidt received solid support but no first place votes.
1) Steve Garvey 2) Lou Brock 3) Mike Marshall 4) Johnny Bench 5) Jimmy Wynn 6) Mike Schmidt 7) Al Oliver 8) Joe Morgan 9) Richie Zisk 10) Willie Stargell 11) Reggie Smith 12) Ralph Garr 13) Ted Simmons 14) Dave Cash 15) Dave Concepcion 16t) Jack Billingham 16t) Cesar Cedeno 16t) Al Hrabosky 16t) Andy Messersmith 20) Buzz Capra 21t) Richie Hebner 21t) Blake McBride 21t) Lynn McGlothen 21t) Rennie Stennett 25t) Bill Buckner 25t) Ron Cey
.321/.358/.475, 104 RC, 136 OPS+, .301 EQA, 48.2 VORP, 26 Win Shares
132 ERA+, 2.35 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 67.8 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.353/.383/.503, 116 RC, 143 OPS+, .300 EQA, 50.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.309/.389/.528, 107 RC, 157 OPS+, .318 EQA, 51.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares
159 ERA+, 2.22 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 81.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.271/.387/.497, 105 RC, 151 OPS+, .314 EQA, 45.5 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.301/.407/.537, 110 RC, 168 OPS+, .331 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.280/.363/.507, 114 RC, 143 OPS+, .306 EQA, 57.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.282/.395/.546, 122 RC, 158 OPS+, .318 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 39 Win Shares
.293/.427/.494, 108 RC, 159 OPS+, .336 EQA, 80.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares
Morgan didn't receive a whole lot of support but he would win the MVP the next two years but maybe it should have been three in a row. Garvey doesn't crack the Top 10 but he was always overrated. And the Mike Schmidt card is the greatest thing ever although I'm not sure how exciting that image would be in 3-D.