Clayton Kershaw-for-MVP tidbit: Plenty of voters didn’t pick Bob Gibson and his 1.12 ERA for MVP in 1968

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I wrote earlier about how Giants manager Bruce Bochy thinks Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw should win the MVP award in addition to the Cy Young award.

Bob Gibson is the last NL pitcher to win the MVP, in 1968 when he threw 305 innings with a 1.12 ERA in a ridiculously amazing season. I was poking around Baseball-Reference.com marveling at Gibson’s incredible game logs when I stumbled across the MVP voting totals from that season.

There were 20 voters that year and six of them gave their first-place vote to Pete Rose, who ranked third among NL hitters with an .861 OPS and ranked 14th in the league in Wins Above Replacement with 5.5. Gibson, in addition to throwing 305 innings with the best ERA in modern baseball history, had 11.8 Wins Above Replacement to more than double Rose’s total.

Regardless of what happens to Kershaw in the voting, we’ve thankfully come a long way in terms of viewing pitchers as viable MVP candidates (even if it’s too late for a 1999 do-over for Pedro Martinez).