May. 16, 2016
Pujols The Great; 7x MLB MVP re-writing history
Pujols has 3 MVPs to his name. But he was robbed 4x by Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).
Here are the current leaders in career MVPs
Ever wonder why Babe Ruth is not on this list? There has to be a reasonable explanation? There was no MVP award in his prime.
The history of the MLB MVP: There were essentially 3 renditions of the award. The Award from 1911-1914 was the "Chalmers Award" and due to the lack of success it was discontinued in 1914. From 1915 to 1921 there was no MVP award. From 1922-1929, there was the "League Awards" however for this award there could not be a duplicate winner (hence Ruth only has 1 MVP) which resulted in the award being discontinued. In 1931 the Award as we know it today began.
Babe Ruth only has 1 official MVP, as his prime landed in the 1915-1921 NO MVP award time frame and the No Duplicate Winner time frame from 1922-1929. According to http://joeposnanski.com/the-mvp-formula/ Ruth would have won at least 6-10 more MVPs had the award been given. But we all know Babe Ruth was the best of all time and this should not surprise anyone. In 1919 Ruth was 2nd in WAR (Wins Above Replacement). From 1920-1931 he was 1st in WAR every year except 1922 and 1925. That is 10 of 12 years he was tops in the AL in WAR. Would he have won all those years? Maybe not, but he could have. But what about the others? Should Bonds really be at the top of the list? What about A-Rod?
Bonds has 7 (we'll get to this number soon), and then a bunch of players have 3 (Berra, Campanella, Dimaggio, Foxx (like Ruth also played in years with no MVP), Mantle, Musial, Pujols (lost out to Bonds and PED company 4x), Rodriguez (all after admitting to PED), and Schmidt). According to Posnanski, Gehrig (like Ruth also played in years with no MVP) who won 2 could have possibly won 1-4 more (or 3-6 total). Foxx could have won another 1 putting him at 4 total.
Here is my adjusted MVP counts. There is a Low and High adjustment because some are debatable. If Ruth gets his 11 then Gehrig only gets 1. If Gehrig gets 5 and Foxx gets 4 than Ruth gets 5.
Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx are adjusted because the MVP award was not given in their primes. Rodriguez won his MVP's after admitting using PEDs so his MVPs are adjusted down. Bonds won 4 MVPs after using PEDs so his are adjusted down as well. Pujols is the benefactor of the Bonds 4 MVPs lost to PED use.
Below is the 4 years Bonds won the MVP. The graph shows Bonds production, Pujols production and the others that were voted ahead of Pujols for MVP. The dotted lines are the assumed years of PED used by players who were voted over Pujols in those same years. You can see the obvious spike in Home Run production by the other players (assumed benefit of PED use)
In 2001 Pujols was 4th in voting behind PED users Bonds, Sosa, and Gonzales. Gonzales had a one year spike in the height of the Steroid Era which he almost doubled his highest HR production in any other year.
In 2002 Pujols was 2nd in voting behind PED user Bonds.
In 2003 Pujols was 2nd in voting behind PED user Bonds.
In 2004 Pujols was 3rd in voting behind PED users Bonds and Beltre. Similar to Gonzales, Beltre has a 1 year spike in the height of the Steroid Era which is hard to brush off as coincidence.
Thats arguably 4 MVP awards that Pujols would have won if not for others using Steroids.
Pujols is arguably the best of his Generation as he has handed the crown to his teammate Mike Trout. But lets not forget how great Pujols was. If it wasn't for the impact of PEDs Pujols may have arguably the 2nd most MVPs right behind Babe Ruth.
He hit 40+ HRs 7x in his Career
He hit 30+ HRs 13x in his Career
He hit 30+ HRs & 100+ RBIs 11x in his Career (he missed out on 2x by a total of 6 RBIs)
He led the league in WAR 6 consecutive years and has finished top
He hit 3 HR's in a World Series Game (only 3 player in MLB history to do that)
7x top 5 in NL/AL Batting Average
7x top 5 in NL/AL in On Base %
8x top 5 in NL/AL in On Base % + Slugging
10x top 5 in NL/AL in RBI
9x top 5 in NL/AL in Home Runs
"Pujols the Great"