While thinking about Clayton Kershaw as the leading NL MVP candidate and Mike Trout as the leading AL MVP candidate it occurred to me that this could be one of the best MVP “pairings” ever.
I’m talking about the players’ standing in baseball history, rather than in their specific MVP-winning season. So, in a purely hypothetical world the best possible MVP “pairing” would be whoever you happen to believe are the two greatest players of all time. It could be, say, Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. Or maybe Willie Mays and Ted Williams. Something like that. You get the idea, right?
Now, obviously Trout is only 23 years old and even Kershaw is only 26 years old, but few players their respective ages have ever accomplished what they have and in a couple decades it’s possible they’ll both be considered inner-circle Hall of Famers. But setting Kershaw and Trout aside, what are the best pairings ever to be named MVP in the same season?
After looking at the list of MVP winners here are my top five contenders for best MVP pairings ever:
1946: Ted Williams, Stan Musial
1957: Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron
1986: Roger Clemens, Mike Schmidt
1990: Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson
2003: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez
There are obviously a ton of other great pairings that could possibly crack the top five. Take a look at the full list and chime in with your choices.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.