Chase Utley's trophy case is still a bit light. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Despite Being Really Bad For Years, Phillies Have Won Some Awards

Remember when Ryan Howard wont he MVP award? Yeah, that was awesome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

You know what’s been a LOT of fun over the last few weeks? The American League MVP debate.

Yeah, it’s been a blast.

As everyone who has a Twitter account, television, radio or carrier pigeon knows by now, the race is down to two individuals, Anaheim’s Mike Trout and Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.

I won’t spend time here continuing this mind-numbingly redundant debate, simply because all the points have already been made.

The sabermatricianally-minded love Trout’s overall game, his speed, his defense and his staggeringly high WAR. The traditional voters swoon over Cabrera’s Triple Crown and the fact he led the Tigers to the playoffs.

(The correct answer for AL MVP is Trout of course, but I’m not going to string anyone up by their eyelashes if they vote for Cabrera, either. I’ll leave that to Keith Law.)

Thursday’s MVP announcement will undoubtedly be controversial, and anyone tired of the debate may want to stay off their Twitter-machines for about six or seven hours this afternoon.

So instead of re-litigating the Trout-Cabrera debate, let’s look back at past Phillies MVP winners, including the last two, which were controversial in and of themselves.

(Get ready for some more tables, guys. Happily, there are no pie charts.)

2007 – Jimmy Rolllins Beats Out Holliday

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Jimmy Rollins PHI 353.0 16.0 79% 6.0 162 716 139 212 30 94 41 49 .296 .344 .531 .875
2 Matt Holliday COL 336.0 11.0 75% 5.8 158 636 120 216 36 137 11 63 .340 .405 .607 1.012
3 Prince Fielder MIL 284.0 5.0 63% 3.4 158 573 109 165 50 119 2 90 .288 .395 .618 1.013
4 David Wright NYM 182.0 0.0 41% 8.1 160 604 113 196 30 107 34 94 .325 .416 .546 .963
5 Ryan Howard PHI 112.0 0.0 25% 2.8 144 529 94 142 47 136 1 107 .268 .392 .584 .976
6 Chipper Jones ATL 107.0 0.0 24% 7.4 134 513 108 173 29 102 5 82 .337 .425 .604 1.029
7 Jake Peavy SDP 97.0 0.0 22% 6.6 37 73 8 17 0 7 0 2 .233 .250 .315 .565 19 6 2.54 1.061 34 34 0 223.1 169 13 68 240
8 Chase Utley PHI 89.0 0.0 20% 7.7 132 530 104 176 22 103 9 50 .332 .410 .566 .976
9 Albert Pujols STL 50.0 0.0 11% 8.5 158 565 99 185 32 103 2 99 .327 .429 .568 .997
10 Hanley Ramirez FLA 49.0 0.0 11% 4.2 154 639 125 212 29 81 51 52 .332 .386 .562 .948
22 Aaron Rowand PHI 3.0 0.0 1% 4.8 161 612 105 189 27 89 6 47 .309 .374 .515 .889
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2012.

The high water mark of Jimmy Rollins’ career challenged Lenny Dykstra’s 1993 season as the best overall year by a leadoff hitter in Phillies history. Jimmy’s .875 OPS, OPS+ of 119, 30 HRs, 94 RBIs, 20 3Bs, and 139 runs were all career highs, as was his 6.0 WAR.

However, as the above chart indicates, much of Jimmy’s MVP efforts were boosted by his comments before the season that the Phillies were “the team to beat,” and the Phils’ crazy, last-minute charge to the playoffs. Matt Holliday also benefited from the Rockies’ final-month playoff push, finished second in the voting despite a WAR of 5.8 that was lower than five of the players beneath him in the Top 10. Albert Pujols’ 2007 season was probably the best statistical season in the NL, leading to an NL-best 8.5 WAR. However, he only finished 9th in the 2007 MVP voting, mainly because his Cardinals missed the playoffs.

I’m not sure what the voters were smoking in 2007.

Still, Rollins’ 2007 was the best ever by a Phillies shortstop and truly was the high-water mark of his career. And as we all know by now, the BBWAA’s criteria for what makes an MVP is pretty vague, and everyone has different criteria for what defines a player as “most valuable.”

Incidentally, Aaron Rowand finished 22nd in the MVP voting that year. I forgot he hit 27 HRs and hit .309 that year. See? That’s why I post these charts! They’re super-duper helpful!

2006 – Howard Over Pujols

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Ryan Howard PHI 388.0 20.0 87% 5.0 159 581 104 182 58 149 0 108 .313 .425 .659 1.084
2 Albert Pujols STL 347.0 12.0 77% 8.2 143 535 119 177 49 137 7 92 .331 .431 .671 1.102
3 Lance Berkman HOU 230.0 0.0 51% 5.7 152 536 95 169 45 136 3 98 .315 .420 .621 1.041
4 Carlos Beltran NYM 211.0 0.0 47% 8.0 140 510 127 140 41 116 18 95 .275 .388 .594 .982
5 Miguel Cabrera FLA 170.0 0.0 38% 5.5 158 576 112 195 26 114 9 86 .339 .430 .568 .998
6 Alfonso Soriano WSN 106.0 0.0 24% 5.9 159 647 119 179 46 95 41 67 .277 .351 .560 .911
7 Jose Reyes NYM 98.0 0.0 22% 5.6 153 647 122 194 19 81 64 53 .300 .354 .487 .841
7 Chase Utley PHI 98.0 0.0 22% 7.1 160 658 131 203 32 102 15 63 .309 .379 .527 .906
9 David Wright NYM 70.0 0.0 16% 3.8 154 582 96 181 26 116 20 66 .311 .381 .531 .912
10 Trevor Hoffman SDP 46.0 0.0 10% 2.0 65 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2.14 0.968 65 0 46 63.0 48 6 13 50
21 Jimmy Rollins PHI 2.0 0.0 0% 4.5 158 689 127 191 25 83 36 57 .277 .334 .478 .811
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2012.

The 2006 NL MVP vote is perhaps the race that most closely mirrors what we’ve seen with this year’s AL debate. You have Howard, who had a ridiculous power season with 58 HRs and 149 RBI and an OPS of 1.084, aided by a career-high batting average of .313 (it’s impossible to believe Howard ever had a batting average that high, but those were in the pre-shift days). And you have Pujols, who finished second in HRs and RBIs (49 and 139, respectively), with a slightly better OPS of 1.102. Offensively, it was a close call.

However, Pujols’ all-around game, mainly his defense, should have given him the edge of Howard. Pujols’ WAR in ’06 was a crazy-good 8.2, compared to Howard’s 5.0. Also, traditional MVP voters typically give bonus points to the player that led his team to the playoffs.

Albert did. Ryan didn’t.

So, why did Howard win? There are only two conceivable reasons. Pujols fatigue, and the never-ending love of the RBI.

Pujols had won the award the previous season, and had finished in the Top 5 in each of the four years before that. Voters are always looking to elevate the next person, and in 2006, Howard was the shiny new toy. Howard’s RBI total was also insanely high, and voters have always loved voting for the league leaders in HRs and RBIs. It’s why so many of them are hot to trot for Miguel Cabrera this year.

At the end of the day, the voters missed on this one, but every Phillies fan was happy they did.

1986 – Mike Schmidt’s Last Hurrah

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Mike Schmidt PHI 287.0 15.0 85% 5.8 160 552 97 160 37 119 1 89 .290 .390 .547 .937
2 Glenn Davis HOU 231.0 6.0 69% 4.2 158 574 91 152 31 101 3 64 .265 .344 .493 .837
3 Gary Carter NYM 181.0 1.0 54% 3.3 132 490 81 125 24 105 1 62 .255 .337 .439 .776
4 Keith Hernandez NYM 179.0 2.0 53% 5.2 149 551 94 171 13 83 2 94 .310 .413 .446 .859
5 Dave Parker CIN 144.0 0.0 43% -0.1 162 637 89 174 31 116 1 56 .273 .330 .477 .807
6 Tim Raines MON 99.0 0.0 29% 5.3 151 580 91 194 9 62 70 78 .334 .413 .476 .889
7 Kevin Bass HOU 73.0 0.0 22% 4.9 157 591 83 184 20 79 22 38 .311 .357 .486 .842
8 Von Hayes PHI 41.0 0.0 12% 4.7 158 610 107 186 19 98 24 74 .305 .379 .480 .859
9 Tony Gwynn SDP 34.0 0.0 10% 6.4 160 642 107 211 14 59 37 52 .329 .381 .467 .848
10 Mike Scott HOU 33.0 0.0 10% 7.8 38 95 7 12 0 3 0 2 .126 .144 .147 .292 18 10 2.22 0.923 37 37 0 275.1 182 17 72 306
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2012.

It’s amazing that a New York Met didn’t win the award in ’86, considering they won 108 games and finished ahead of the second-place Phillies in the NL East by a scant 21.5 games. But if you look at the numbers, the voters largely got this one right.

It was Schmidt’s third career MVP award, a league record before Barry Bonds came along and obliterated it. Schmidt’s season was just a stellar all-around effort for him at 36 years old. One can only hope some of the Phils’ aging veterans have a season or two like this in them over the next few years. Schmidt’s 5.8 WAR and league-leading 37 HRs and 119 RBIs gave him the edge over Houston’s Glenn Davis, who led his team to a first place finish in the NL West.

Honestly, the voters probably reached back for a bit of nostalgia with this pick, knowing it would be Mike’s last hurrah. Interestingly, the player with the best WAR in the NL in ’86 was Astros pitcher Mike Scott, however, he finished only 10th in the voting.

(By the way, LOL at Dave Parker’s -0.1 WAR for the Reds while finishing in 5th. ALL HAIL THE RBI!!!)

1981 – Schmidt Wins Strike-Shortened Season

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Mike Schmidt PHI 321.0 21.0 96% 7.5 102 354 78 112 31 91 12 73 .316 .435 .644 1.080
2 Andre Dawson MON 215.0 2.0 64% 7.3 103 394 71 119 24 64 26 35 .302 .365 .553 .918
3 George Foster CIN 146.0 0.0 43% 3.5 108 414 64 122 22 90 4 51 .295 .373 .519 .892
4 Dave Concepcion CIN 108.0 0.0 32% 3.6 106 421 57 129 5 67 4 37 .306 .358 .409 .767
5 Fernando Valenzuela LAD 90.0 1.0 27% 5.2 25 64 3 16 0 7 0 1 .250 .262 .281 .543 13 7 2.48 1.045 25 25 0 192.1 140 11 61 180
6 Gary Carter MON 77.0 0.0 23% 3.6 100 374 48 94 16 68 1 35 .251 .313 .444 .756
7 Dusty Baker LAD 65.0 0.0 19% 2.6 103 400 48 128 9 49 10 29 .320 .363 .445 .808
8 Bruce Sutter STL 59.0 0.0 18% 1.4 48 9 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .100 .000 .100 3 5 2.62 1.069 48 0 25 82.1 64 5 24 57
9 Steve Carlton PHI 41.0 0.0 12% 5.4 24 67 5 9 0 4 0 2 .134 .159 .224 .383 13 4 2.42 1.126 24 24 0 190.0 152 9 62 179
10 Pete Rose PHI 35.0 0.0 10% 1.6 107 431 73 140 0 33 4 46 .325 .391 .390 .781
13 Gary Matthews PHI 31.0 0.0 9% 2.3 101 359 62 108 9 67 15 59 .301 .398 .451 .849
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2012.

Listen, 1981 was just weird. The players’ strike split the season into two halves, and numbers were knocked out of whack as a result. Schmidt was probably living off his career year the season before, resulting in the second of his three MVPs. Still, it appears as if the award was justified, thanks to Michael Jack’s league-best 7.5 WAR, narrowly edging out Montreal’s Andre Dawson.

Three other Phils finished in the top 13 that year, with Steve Carlton at 9, Pete Rose at 10 and The Sarge (!!!), Gary Matthews, at #13.

1980 – Schmidt’s Career Year

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Mike Schmidt PHI 336.0 24.0 100% 8.6 150 548 104 157 48 121 12 89 .286 .380 .624 1.004
2 Gary Carter MON 193.0 0.0 57% 6.2 154 549 76 145 29 101 3 58 .264 .331 .486 .818
3 Jose Cruz HOU 166.0 0.0 49% 4.5 160 612 79 185 11 91 36 60 .302 .360 .426 .787
4 Dusty Baker LAD 138.0 0.0 41% 4.2 153 579 80 170 29 97 12 43 .294 .339 .503 .842
5 Steve Carlton PHI 134.0 0.0 40% 9.8 38 101 7 19 0 6 0 1 .188 .190 .198 .388 24 9 2.34 1.095 38 38 0 304.0 243 15 90 286
6 Steve Garvey LAD 131.0 0.0 39% 2.7 163 658 78 200 26 106 6 36 .304 .341 .467 .808
7 Andre Dawson MON 72.0 0.0 21% 6.6 151 577 96 178 17 87 34 44 .308 .358 .492 .850
8 George Hendrick STL 50.0 0.0 15% 3.6 150 572 73 173 25 109 6 32 .302 .342 .498 .840
9 Bob Horner ATL 42.0 0.0 12% 4.1 124 463 81 124 35 89 3 27 .268 .307 .529 .836
10 Bake McBride PHI 32.0 0.0 10% 3.0 137 554 68 171 9 87 13 26 .309 .342 .453 .795
16 Tug McGraw PHI 10.0 0.0 3% 4.6 57 8 0 2 0 1 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500 5 4 1.46 0.921 57 0 20 92.1 62 3 23 75
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2012.

The first MVP of Mike Schmidt’s career was a reward for his best season, culminating in the team’s first-ever world championship. His numbers speak for themselves… 48 HRs, 121 RBIs, 1.004 OPS, all NL-highs. And his 8.6 WAR as an NL-best among all position players.

Interestingly, the only NL player with a better WAR than Schmidt’s was Steve Carlton, whose ridiculous Cy Young season resulted in a 9.8 WAR, which put him fifth in the voting. Obviously, voters traditionally have not liked to give this award to pitchers (although the next winner would sorta prove me wrong on that).

Bake McBride finished in the top 10, with the Tugger getting enough votes to land him at #16.

1950 – Kostanty Steals One

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Jim Konstanty PHI 286.0 18.0 85% 4.2 74 37 0 4 0 3 0 0 .108 .108 .108 .216 16 7 2.66 1.039 74 0 22 152.0 108 11 50 56
2 Stan Musial STL 158.0 1.0 47% 6.9 146 555 105 192 28 109 5 87 .346 .437 .596 1.034
3 Eddie Stanky NYG 144.0 2.0 43% 7.8 152 527 115 158 8 51 9 144 .300 .460 .412 .872
4 Del Ennis PHI 104.0 0.0 31% 4.6 153 595 92 185 31 126 2 56 .311 .372 .551 .923
5 Ralph Kiner PIT 91.0 1.0 27% 5.2 150 547 112 149 47 118 2 122 .272 .408 .590 .998
6 Granny Hamner PHI 79.0 2.0 24% 2.8 157 637 78 172 11 82 2 39 .270 .314 .380 .694
7 Robin Roberts PHI 68.0 0.0 20% 6.5 40 102 1 12 0 7 0 8 .118 .182 .118 .299 20 11 3.02 1.180 40 39 1 304.1 282 29 77 146
8 Gil Hodges BRO 55.0 0.0 16% 3.1 153 561 98 159 32 113 6 73 .283 .367 .508 .875
9 Duke Snider BRO 53.0 0.0 16% 5.6 152 620 109 199 31 107 16 58 .321 .379 .553 .932
10 Sal Maglie NYG 51.0 0.0 15% 4.2 47 66 3 8 0 3 1 3 .121 .171 .182 .353 18 4 2.71 1.238 47 16 1 206.0 169 14 86 96
14 Andy Seminick PHI 25.0 0.0 7% 4.1 130 393 55 113 24 68 0 68 .288 .400 .524 .925
16 Curt Simmons PHI 22.0 0.0 7% 3.4 34 77 11 12 0 3 0 6 .156 .217 .156 .373 17 8 3.40 1.239 31 27 1 214.2 178 19 88 146
24 Eddie Waitkus PHI 8.0 0.0 2% 1.3 154 641 102 182 2 44 3 55 .284 .341 .359 .700
33 Dick Sisler PHI 2.0 0.0 1% 3.3 141 523 79 155 13 83 1 64 .296 .373 .442 .815
36 Willie Jones PHI 1.0 0.0 0% 3.2 157 610 100 163 25 88 5 61 .267 .337 .456 .793
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2012.

The year of the Whiz Kids was a fun, one-year wonder of a season. But of all the players on that team full of kids, it was pitcher Jim Konstanty who took home one of the unlikeliest MVP awards in NL history. And the vote wasn’t even close, with Konstanty earning 18 of the 24 first-place votes, beating out a no-name St. Louis scrub named Stan Musial.

Seriously, how did this happen? How did Musial’s 1.034 OPS and 6.9 WAR beat out Konstanty? How did Eddie Stanky’s 7.8 WAR finish third? If this had happened in the age of Twitter, everyone would have lost their collective crap over this.

The Whiz Kids were well represented in ’50, with eight Phillies in the top 36. Interestingly, Richie Ashburn was not among them.

1932 – Chuck Klein Harmed Many Baseballs

Voting Results Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Chuck Klein PHI 78.0 6.0 98% 6.5 154 650 152 226 38 137 20 60 .348 .404 .646 1.050
2 Lon Warneke CHC 68.0 85% 6.7 35 99 8 19 0 9 0 3 .192 .216 .222 .438 22 6 2.37 1.123 35 32 0 277.0 247 12 64 106
3 Lefty O’Doul BRO 58.0 72% 6.1 148 595 120 219 21 90 11 50 .368 .423 .555 .978
4 Paul Waner PIT 37.0 46% 5.3 154 630 107 215 8 82 13 56 .341 .397 .510 .906
5 Riggs Stephenson CHC 32.0 40% 3.0 147 583 86 189 4 85 3 54 .324 .383 .443 .826
6 Bill Terry NYG 25.0 31% 6.9 154 643 124 225 28 117 4 32 .350 .382 .580 .962
7 Don Hurst PHI 24.0 30% 4.5 150 579 109 196 24 143 10 65 .339 .412 .547 .959
8 Pie Traynor PIT 17.0 21% 2.7 135 513 74 169 2 68 6 32 .329 .373 .433 .806
9 Billy Herman CHC 16.0 20% 3.4 154 656 102 206 1 51 14 40 .314 .358 .404 .762
10 Mel Ott NYG 15.0 19% 7.6 154 566 119 180 38 123 6 100 .318 .424 .601 1.025
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2012.

Klein was the Phillies’ first-ever MVP award winner, and is a guy not many contemporary Phillies fans know a lot about. But simply put,the dude was an absolute beast.

Klein posted an OPS of at least 1.025 from 1929-1933 and finished second in the MVP vote in ’31 and ’33, winning the Triple Crown in ’33.

It should be noted, however, that Klein’s numbers were inflated by the dimensions at The Baker Bowl, with its 60-foot high, corrugated tin right field wall only 280 feet from home plate down the right field line, making it a very nice target for left handed hitters like Klein.

Still, in one five-year stretch, Chucky was regarded as one of the greatest hitters in the National League, posting numbers the likes of which weren’t seen again until the steroid era reared its ugly head.

###

It should be noted that the best player of this current Phillies era, Chase Utley, will probably retire without having won an MVP award, which is just sad. What’s even sadder is that he’s never even really come close. Despite five straight years with a WAR of 7.0 or better (2005-2009) Utley never finished better than 7th in the MVP voting. Much of that can be due to the other-worldly seasons that Rollins and Howard had in their MVP years, living in the era of Pujols, and some injuries that torpedoed potential MVP seasons before they could be finished.

Lenny Dykstra’s 1993 season was also worthy of consideration, where he posted a .902 OPS, with 143 runs scored and 37 stolen bases, making it one of the best seasons by a leadoff hitter not named Rickey Henderson in the last 25 years. However, the voters got this one right, as Lenny was clearly outproduced by the Giants’ Barry Bonds, who compiled a WAR of 9.7, far superior to Dykstra’s 6.6. Bonds was also light years better as a defender, and his OPS of 1.136 was flat-out ridiculous. At the time, I though Lenny got jobbed. Now, it’s pretty easy to see just how superior Bonds’ ’93 season really was.

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