MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year

Once the World Series was over (congratulations to the Nationals, by the way), baseball fans immediately turned their attention to specualting on the awards. There’s plenty of prizes and trophies to be handed out, but most fans only worry about the “Big Three”: Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player.

The general consensus this year was that Pete Alonso of the Mets and Yordan Alvarez of the Astros would take home the Rookie of the Year awards, and their teammates Jacob deGrom and either Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole would be honored with the Cy Young Award. The MVP “racesare a lot closer, with the Angel’s Mike Trout and the Astro’s Alex Bregman “battling” in the American League, and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers and Christian Yelich of the Brewers as the leading candidates in the National League.

Well, we already know the Rookies of the Year and Cy Young winners – the general consensus was correct for both, with Verlander getting the Cy Young nod in the AL. The MVP award will be announced next week.

You’ll note that in each league, the same team collected the two prizes given so far. I wondered how often does it happen where the same team has more than one of the three major award winners. I went and looked – and naturally, you’re going to read about it (if you click on the “More” thing below).

The Most Valuable Player Award dates to 1931; the Rookie of the Year began in 1949. So before 1949, it was impossible to have two award winners on the same team. The Cy Young Award was first given in 1956; until 1964, baseball only gave out one Cy Young, covering both leagues. One should also keep in mind that expansion made it more difficult for the same team to get more than one award, simply by increasing the number of teams.

1949: Brooklyn Dodgers *
MVP: Jackie Robinson, RoY: Don Newcombe

1951: New York Yankees **
MVP: Yogi Berra, RoY: Gil McDougald

1952: Philadelphia Athletics
MVP: Bobby Shantz, RoY: Harry Byrd

1953: Brooklyn Dodgers *
MVP: Roy Campanella, RoY: Jim Gilliam

1954: New York Yankees
MVP: Yogi Berra, RoY: Bob Grimm

1956: Brooklyn Dodgers *
MVP & Cy: Don Newcombe

1957: Milwaukee Braves **
MVP: Henry Aaron, Cy: Warren Spahn

1958: New York Yankees **
MVP: Mickey Mantle, RoY: Tony Kubek

1959: Chicago White Sox *
MVP: Nellie Fox, Cy: Early Wynn

1960: Pittsburgh Pirates *
MVP: Dick Groat, Cy: Vernon Law

1961: New York Yankees **
MVP: Roger Maris, Cy: Whitey Ford

1962: New York Yankees **
MVP: Mickey Mantle, RoY: Tom Tresh

1962: Los Angeles Dodgers (a)
MVP: Maury Wills, Cy: Don Drysdale

1963: Los Angeles Dodgers **
MVP & Cy: Sandy Koufax

1967: Boston Red Sox *
MVP: Carl Yastrzemski, Cy: Jim Lonborg

1968: St Louis Cardinals **
MVP & Cy: Bob Gibson

1968: Detroit Tigers *
MVP & Cy: Denny McLain

1971: Oakland Athletics 
MVP & Cy: Vida Blue

1973: Baltimore Orioles 
Cy: Jim Palmer, RoY: Al Bumbry

1974: Los Angeles Dodgers *
MVP: Steve Garvey, Cy: Mike Marshall

1975: Boston Red Sox *
MVP & RoY: Fred Lynn

1980: Philadelphia Phillies **
MVP: Mike Schmidt, Cy: Steve Carlton

1981: Milwaukee Brewers 
MVP & Cy: Rollie Fingers

1981: Los Angeles Dodgers **
Cy & RoY: Fernando Valenzuela

1982: Milwaukee Brewers *
MVP: Robin Yount, Cy: Pete Vukovich

1983: Chicago White Sox 
Cy: Lamar Hoyt, RoY: Ron Kittle

1984: Detroit Tigers **
MVP & Cy: Willie Hernandez

1984: Chicago Cubs 
MVP: Ryne Sandberg, Cy: Rick Sutcliffe

1985: St Louis Carddinals *
MVP: Willie McGee, RoY: Vince Coleman

1986: Boston Red Sox *
MVP & Cy: Roger Clemens

1988: Oakland Athletics *
MVP: Jose Canseco, RoY: Walt Weiss

1988: Los Angeles Dodgers **
MVP: Kirk Gibson, Cy: Orel Hersheiser

1990: Pittsburgh Pirates
MVP: Barry Bonds, Cy: Doug Drabek

1990: Oakland Athletics *
MVP: Ricket Henderson, Cy: Bob Welch

1991: Atlanta Braves 
MVP: Terry Pendleton, Cy: Tom Glavine

1992: Oakland Athletics 
MVP & Cy: Dennis Eckersley

1993: Chicago White Sox 
MVP: Frank Thomas, Cy: Jack McDowell

1998: Chicago Cubs (b)
MVP: Sammy Sosa, RoY: Kerry Wood

2001: Seattle Mariners 
MVP & RoY: Ichiro Suzuki

2002: Oakland Athletics 
MVP: Miguel Tejada, Cy: Barry Zito

2005: St. Louis Cardinals 
MVP: Albert Pujols, Cy: Chris Carpenter

2010: Texas Rangers *
MVP: Josh Hamilton, RoY: Neftali Feliz

2011: Detroit Tigers 
MVP & Cy: Justin Verlander

2013: Detroit Tigers 
MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Cy: Max Scherzer

2014: Los Angeles Dodgers 
MVP & Cy: Clayton Kershaw

2015: Chicago Cubs (b)
Cy: Jake Arietta, RoY: Kris Bryant

2015: Houston Astros (b)
Cy: Dallas Keuchel, RoY: Carlos Correa

Won Division
* Won Pennant
** Won World Series

a. Finished the regular season in a tie with the San Francisco Giants, lost the three-game series to decide the pennant.

b. Won a spot in the Wild Card game.

Whew! That’s quite a lot! Fifty times in seventy years! Perhaps expansion didn’t have that much to do with it. I’ll leave it to the more mathematically inclined to decide if this is statistically significant or not. You’ll also note that fourteen times, the same player earned two awards. The closest anyone came to winning all three was in 1981, when the Dodgers’ rookie sensation Fernando Venezuela won both the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards in the National League, and came in fifth in the MVP voting. Obviously, that “Triple Crown” isn’t going to be easy – you will have to be a pitcher to be eligible for the Cy Young, and a rookie…..

You will also note that in all but three cases, the team with more than one of these awards made the “post-season”. The 1962 Dodgers ended the season in a tie with the San Francisco Giants, but lost the playoff series for the pennant. The 1954 Yankees won 103 games, but lost the pennant to the Cleveland Indians, who won 111. The 1952 Athletics….well, they finished fourth and had a losing record. They’ are the only real anomaly. I don’t know if there’s a real bias here, but a team with at least two of the best players in their league is generally likely to be good enough to at least win their division.

By the way, if the Astros’ Alex Bregman beats out perennial AL MVP favorite Mike Trout for that honor, it will be the first time the same team has had all three award winners!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.