It’s that time of year. After the Hall of Fame results have been announced, but well before Spring Training begins. There is practically nothing going on in the world of Baseball.
What’s a fan to do?
Back in 1955, SPORT magazine decided to give out an award to the player in the World Series who had the greatest impact on his team’s performance in the series. Johnny Podres won it that year, thanks to complete game wins in Games 2 and 7. It’s now decided by a group of broadcasters, sportswriters, and officials at the end of the last game, and the winner gets a new car in addition to the trophy.
But the World Series started in 1903. What if you went back and chose MVPs for all those earlier championships?
One could, thanks to the wonders of modern statistical analysis, simply choose the player with the greatest Win Probability Added, or some other goofy stat. That’s no fun at all. Here’s my entirely subjective list.
1903: Boston Americans (5) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (3)
Boston’s Bill Dinneen completed three of his four starts, winding up with a 3-1 record and a 2.06 ERA.
1905: New York Giants (4) vs Philadelphia Athletics (1)
Christy Mathewson pitched three complete game shutouts.
1906: Chicago White Sox (4) vs Chicago Cubs (2)
Ed Walsh won Games 3 and 5, and had an overall ERA of 1.20.
1907: Chicago Cubs (4) vs Detroit Tigers (0)
Harry Steinfeldt hit .471, with key hits in Games 3 and 5.
1908: Chicago Cubs (4) vs Detroit Tigers (1)
Orval Overall went the distance in his two starts for the Cubs, winning both while scattering only seven hits and collecting 15 strikeouts.
1909: Pittsburgh Pirates (4) vs Detroit Tigers (3)
Honus Wagner hit .333, with seven RBIs and six stolen bases.
1910: Philadelphia Athletics (4) vs Chicago Cubs (1)
Right fielder Danny Murphy hit .350 for the Athletics, with six runs scored and nine batted in.
1911: Philadelphia Athletics (4) vs New York Giants (2)
Frank Baker won his “Home Run” nickname with a blast in Game 2 that gave the A’s the lead, and a game-tying one in Game 3.
1912: Boston Red Sox (4) vs New York Giants (3)
Joe Wood won Games 1 and 4, and then came on to shut the Giants down in relief in Game 8 to win that game and the Series. (Game 2 was declared a tie due to darkness)
1913: Philadelphia Athletics (4) vs New York Giants (1)
Chief Bender won Games 1 and 4 for the Athletics.
1914: Boston Braves (4) vs Philadelphia Athletics (0)
Pitcher Dick Rudolph gave up only a single earned run in his two complete game victories.
1915: Boston Red Sox (4) vs Philadelphia Phillies (1)
Rube Foster won Games 2 and 5, and drove in the winning run in Game 2.
1916: Boston Red Sox (4) vs Brooklyn Robins (1)
Ernie Shore won Games 1 and 5, and had a 1.53 ERA.
1917: Chicago White Sox (4) vs New York Giants (2)
Red Faber won Games 2 and 6, and Game 5 in relief.
1918: Boston Red Sox (4) vs Chicago Cubs (2)
Carl Mays had two complete game wins, allowing only a single run in each.
1919: Cincinnati Reds (5) vs Chicago White Sox (3)
Hod Eller pitched complete game wins in Games 5 (a shutout) and 8.
1920: Cleveland Indians (5) vs Brooklyn Robins (2)
Stan Coveleski won three games, giving up only five hits in each.
1921: New York Giants (5) vs New York Yankees (3)
Irish Meusel hit .345 and led everyone with seven RBIs.
1922: New York Giants (4) vs New York Yankees (0)
Heinie Groh hit .474 for the Giants
1923: New York Yankees (4) vs New York Giants (2)
Babe Ruth hit three home runs while hitting .386 with eight walks.
1924: Washington Senators (4) vs New York Giants (3)
Goose Goslin hit .344 with three home runs and seven RBI.
1925: Pittsburgh Pirates (4) vs Washington Senators (3)
Kiki Cuyler had key hits in Games 2, 5, and 7.
1926: St Louis Cardinals (4) vs New York Yankees (3)
Grover “Pete” Alexander won Games 2 and 6, and saved Game 7.
1927: New York Yankees (4) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (0)
Babe Ruth hit .400 with two home runs and seven RBIs.
1928: New York Yankees (4) vs St Louis Cardinals (0)
Babe Ruth hit .625 with three home runs and three doubles; Lou Gehrig hit .545 with four round-trippers. I can’t decide – can you?
1929: Philadelphia Athletics (4) vs Chicago Cubs (1)
Jimmie Foxx hit .350 with key home runs in the first two games, and a key hit in Game 4.
1930: Philadelphia Athletics (4) vs St Louis Cardinals (2)
George Earnshaw collected two wins, giving up only a pair of runs in 25 innings.
I’m going to be lazy and pad my post count by continuing this list next time.