2. Mike Schmidt, 1980
Just five weeks after leading the Phillies to their first World Series title in franchise history — as well as being named the World Series MVP — Mike Schmidt was honored with his first of three National League Most Valuable Player Awards.
Entering the 1980 season, Schmidt had already led the National League in home runs three times, appeared in four All-Star Games, and earned as many Gold Glove Awards. Really, the only other better feats the Ohio native needed were a World Series ring and MVP hardware — and he achieved them both in 1980.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America awarded Schmidt 24 first-place votes, making him the first unanimous National League Most Valuable Player since Orlando Cepeda in 1967. Since then, Jeff Bagwell (1994), Ken Caminiti (1996), Barry Bonds (2002), Albert Pujols (2009), and Bryce Harper (2015) have achieved the same.
In 1980, Schmidt set the record for most home runs among third baseman in a single season, 48, as well as slugged a career-high 121 RBI. His 342 total bases led the majors, while his .624 slugging percentage and 1.004 OPS led the National League.
Schmidt’s 1980 season essentially was exactly the midpoint of his 18-year career, all spent in a Phillies uniform. He, Ryan Howard (13 seasons), and Larry Christenson (11 seasons) are the only three players that have played more than 10 seasons solely with the franchise.
Schmidt’s 1980 MVP honors only cemented his legacy as one of the best, if not the best, third basemen in Major League Baseball history.