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Award Redo: 1980 A.L. MVP

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One way to measure a player's value can be their ability to stay healthy. Obviously if a player can give at least average production for their position and stay in the line-up everyday their value might be higher than their statistics may indicate especially if their team lacks a suitable replacement. This can come up when considering someone for MVP. Some seasons there maybe a player who's peripheral numbers were superior to other candidates but they missed 30-40 games due to injury thus their value for that season decreased and the other candidates may have been more valuable simply because they stayed healthy all season.

 

That brings me to the 1980 A.L. MVP which was won by George Brett and he won it rather easily. Of course what is most remembered about Brett's 1980 season is that he had a .390 batting average, the closest a player had come to hitting .400 since Ted Williams had a pulled off the feat 39 years earlier. What many people don't remember is that Brett only played in 117 games that year due to injuries. In fact he barely qualified for the batting title as a player needed 502 plate appearances to qualify and Brett finished with 515. Now Brett didn't simply just have a high batting average, he also had a .454 OBP and a .664 SLG, both tops in the league. Although I typically discard RBI's his total was worth mentioning as he had 118 RBI in those 117 games. Even with his phenomenal numbers could he possibly be the run away MVP winner while missing 45 games?

 

The other candidates who received a lot of support were led by Reggie Jackson. At age 34 he had one of the best years of his career hitting .300 with 41 homeruns and playing on a Yankees team that won 103 games but he was a distant second to Brett. His teammate Goose Gossage finished 3rd and closers don't deserve the MVP, blah blah blah. Willie Wilson, Cecil Cooper, and Eddie Murray were the only other players to receive over 100 voting points. One very odd first place vote went to Yankees catcher Rick Cerone and just a hunch he was probably the heart of the team or some crap like that. Anyways he had a good year, especially for him, but no where near an MVP calibar season.

 

Actual Results

 

1) George Brett 2) Reggie Jackson 3) Goose Gossage 4) Willie Wilson 5) Cecil Cooper 6) Eddie Murray 7) Rick Cerone 8) Dan Quisenberry 9) Steve Stone 10) Rickey Henderson 11) Al Oliver 12) Tony Armas 13t) Al Bumbry 13t) Ben Ogilvie 15t) Mike Norris 15t) Willie Randolph 17) Robin Young 18t) Buddy Bell 18t) Mickey Rivers 20) Alan Trammell 21) Ken Singleton 22t) Miguel Dilone 22t) Tony Perez 24t) Fred Lynn 24t) John Wathan

 

#10

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148 ERA+, 2.17 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 84.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares

 

#9

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.326/.357/.421, 105 RC, 112 OPS+, .290 EQA, 49.4 VORP, 31 Win Shares

 

#8

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.304/.397/.485, 113 RC, 142 OPS+, .313 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares

 

#7

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.304/.362/.562, 121 RC, 153 OPS+, .313 EQA, 52.9 VORP, 27 Win Shares

 

#6

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.352/.387/.539, 131 RC, 155 OPS+, .321 EQA, 71.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares

 

#5

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.318/.392/.433, 109 RC, 128 OPS+, .303 EQA, 58.4 VORP, 33 Win Shares

 

#4

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.294/.427/.407, 89 RC, 133 OPS+, .316 EQA, 63.8 VORP, 31 Win Shares

 

#3

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.303/.420/.399, 99 RC, 134 OPS+, .315 EQA, 54.0 VORP, 34 Win Shares

 

#2

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.300/.398/.597, 122 RC, 172 OPS+, .335 EQA, 64.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares

 

#1

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.390/.454/.664, 137 RC, 202 OPS+, .368 EQA, 92.7 VORP, 36 Win Shares

 

See I don't always just do redos to point out horrible choices by the writers. Okay the royally screwed Mike Norris out of the Cy Young but that's another redo.

 

Amazingly as it seems even though he only played 117 games Brett was the deserving choice and there's simply no one else to consider. As you can see it wasn't like there was a weak group of candidates but Brett out classed them all with one of the most incredible seasons of all-time.

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While it doesn't count in the MVP voting, Brett also had a HUGE three run homer in the 1980 ALCS that put the Royals in the World Series. Heck, that and the Gibson homer in '84 may be why Goose Gossage is not in the Hall.

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