Before I got side tracked with my entry on The Baseball Network, I'd put together a redo for the 1995 A.L. MVP. This particular vote was one of the best examples of writer bias and how character plays a part in players winning awards. In an incredibly tight vote Mo Vaughn beat out Albert Belle receiving one more first place vote than Belle. To say this was a joke is an understatement. You don't need EQA, VORP, or Win Shares to tell you that Vaughn was in no way better the Belle in 1995. Let's just look at the standard numbers:
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG TB Vaughn 140 550 98 165 28 3 39 126 11 4 68 150 .300 .388 .575 316 Belle 143 546 121 173 52 1 50 126 5 2 73 80 .317 .401 .690 377
Edit: Fuck, it of course previewed perfectly fine and it comes out like this. Oh well.
How could anyone look at those numbers and pick Vaughn over Belle? Maybe the writers were just blown away that a man as fat as Vaughn could steal 11 bases. Seriously how the hell did that happen? A guy with a 50-50 doubles/homeruns season with a near .700 slugging and playing on the best team in the league would seem like a slam dunk for the writers. Belle led the league in Slugging, Runs, Total Bases, Doubles, Homeruns, and RBI (tied with Vaughn). His resume that year screams MVP. But Albert Belle was perceived as a bad guy, which was true, and Mo Vaughn was perceived as a good guy, which was partially true. There is no other logical explination for it. The writers liked Vaughn and hated Belle. To add to the case against Vaughn he was arguably not even the best player on his own team as John Valentin had a huge breakout season for the Sox.
A quick look at the rest of the voting, Edgar Martinez finished 3rd with four first place votes as the Mariners won their first division title ever. Then there was 4th place...Jose Mesa. The man has since become a walking punchline in recent years but at one point he was a very good closer. Again the closer argument doesn't have to be made again but someone actually gave Mesa a first place vote. Somebody actually thought that Jose Mesa was the MVP of the league playing on a team that had Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Carlos Baerga, and Kenny Lofton. It's vote like that that should get your voting privledges revoked. Other name of note was Tim Salmon who finished 7th who may have made a much more serious run at the MVP if it weren't for the Angels last season collapse.
1) Mo Vaughn 2) Albert Belle 3) Edgar Martinez 4) Jose Mesa 5) Jay Buhner 6) Randy Johnson 7) Tim Salmon 8) Frank Thomas 9) John Valentin 10) Gary Gaetti 11) Rafael Palmeiro 12) Manny Ramirez 13) Tim Wakefield 14) Jim Edmonds 15) Paul O'Neill 16) Mark McGwire 17t) Wade Boggs 17t) Chuck Knoblauch 19t) Gary DiSarcina 19t) Cal Ripken 21) Kirby Puckett
.300/.388/.575, 119 RC, 145 OPS+, .319 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.308/.402/.558, 108 RC, 148 OPS+, .323 EQA, 46.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.333/.424/.487, 109 RC, 138 OPS+, .319 EQA, 72.3 VORP, 27 Win Shares
196 ERA+, 4.52 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 87.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares
.314/.438/.558, 110 RC, 158 OPS+, .341 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.298/.399/.533, 109 RC, 139 OPS+, .317 EQA, 74.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.330/.429/.594, 136 RC, 164 OPS+, .342 EQA, 70.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.308/.454/.606, 137 RC, 178 OPS+, .364 EQA, 76.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.317/.401/.690, 150 RC, 178 OPS+, .351 EQA, 85.6 VORP, 30 Win Sahres
.356/.479/.628, 153 RC, 183 OPS+, .372 EQA, 91.0 VORP, 32 Win Shares
I fully expected for Belle to come out on top but I completely forgot about Martinez. When I put it all on paper Edgar was the easy choice and he emerged as the Mariners premier hitter with Ken Griffey Jr. missing half the season due to a broken wrist. As you see Vaughn was indeed not even the best player on his own team. I nearly left him off the list as he came down between him and Mark McGwire who had ridiculous rate numbers (200 OPS+, .370 EQA) but missed 40 games due to injury so I gave the nod to Vaughn.