Ruth and the MVP Award

Ruth and the MVP Award

A recent visitor to BabeRuthCentral sent us the following question: “I was discussing Barry Bonds with some friends and they mentioned that he has won 7 MVP’s. This caused me to look up the MVP winners list and I noticed that Babe Ruth only won once. How is this possible? I checked the voting for other years that he clearly was the best player and he didn’t even get a vote. To add to that other Yankee players were recieving votes in years that Ruth had monster years. (Example: In 1926 Ruth hit .372 and hit 47 homers and didnt recieve a single vote; Herb Penncock recieved the most Yankee votes) The same can be said for many of his seasons. So what’s the deal?”

Here’s the answer, as well as a follow-up question for everyone’s thoughts:

The original version of the MVP award was the Chalmers Award, presented by Hugh Chalmers of the Chalmers Automobile Company from 1911-1914. From 1915 – 1921 (during some of Babe’s most notable pitching and hitting years), the MVP award did not exist. From 1922-1929, the MVP award was reinstated and became the “League Awards”, during which time, Babe won only one award. Why? Because, according to the rules of the award at that time, a player was only allowed to receive the recognition once. This is why Babe did not come up in voting again until the rules regarding the award were changed in 1931 to what we know as the MVP today.

So, when you consider Babe’s impact and statistics throughout his career, how many years do you think he should have won the award if the MVP existed throughout his career and he was able to get it more than one year?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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