Called by Elston Howard (1963) the "Nobel Prize of baseball," the Most Valuable Player award attempts to capture more than statistics: it also attempts to identify the player who best served his team, and whose contributions to his team were in fact invaluable.

History Of The Award

In 1910, the idea to reward the player with the highest batting average began. The prize was a new Chalmers automobile. After a topsy-turvy final day of games, Nap Lajoie had edged Ty Cobb in the batting title by one-thousandth of a point (Lajoie had been thrown a lot of meat pitches and went 8-for-8 in a doubleheader - a slap in the face of the unpopular Georgia Peach). To avoid further confusion, the award was handed over to 11 sportswriters, who would select the league's most valuable player. An important clause was that no player could win twice. This award (colloquially named the Chalmers award) was discontinued in 1914, as Chalmers shifted their gears toward the war effort.

In 1922, the American League again began bestowing an MVP award on its favorite player (mostly to have something to enshrine on a newly proposed baseball monument in Washington, D.C.) and in 1924, the National League followed suit. In 1929, the award was again discontinued, mostly due to waning interest.

In 1931, the Baseball Writers Association of America began awarding the MVP award to one player from both the American and National League. The Sporting News presented the trophy until 1940, when the BBWAA took over this aspect as well.

Odds And Ends

Winners

Here are the winners of the American League Most Valuable Player Award, in reverse chronological order:

YearPlayerPosTeam
2017José Altuve2BHouston Astros
2016Mike TroutCFLos Angeles Angels
2015Josh Donaldson3BToronto Blue Jays
2014Mike TroutCFLos Angeles Angels
2013Míguel Cabrera3BDetroit Tigers
2012Míguel Cabrera3BDetroit Tigers
2011Justin VerlanderPDetroit Tigers
2010Josh HamiltonCFTexas Rangers
2009Joe MauerCMinnesota Twins
2008Dustin Pedroia2BBoston Red Sox
2007Alex Rodríguez3BNew York Yankees
2006Justin Morneau1BMinnesota Twins
2005Alex Rodríguez3BNew York Yankees
2004Vladimir GuerreroRFAnaheim Angels
2003Alex RodríguezSSTexas Rangers
2002Míguel TejadaSSOakland Athletics
2001Ichiro SuzukiRFSeattle Mariners
2000Jason Giambi1BOakland Athletics
1999Ivan RodríguezCTexas Rangers
1998Juan GonzalezRFTexas Rangers
1997Ken Griffey, Jr.CFSeattle Mariners
1996Juan GonzalezRFTexas Rangers
1995Mo Vaughn1BBoston Red Sox
1994Frank Thomas1BChicago White Sox
1993Frank Thomas1BChicago White Sox
1992Dennis EckersleyPOakland Athletics
1991Cal Ripken, Jr.SSBaltimore Orioles
1990Rickey HendersonLFOakland Athletics
1989Robin YountCFMilwaukee Brewers
1988Jose CansecoRFOakland Athletics
1987George BellLFToronto Blue Jays
1986Roger ClemensPBoston Red Sox
1985Don Mattingly1BNew York Yankees
1984Willie HernandezPDetroit Tigers
1983Cal Ripken, Jr.SSBaltimore Orioles
1982Robin YountSSMilwaukee Brewers
1981Rollie FingersPMilwaukee Brewers
1980George Brett3BKansas City Royals
1979Don BaylorLFCalifornia Angels
1978Jim RiceLFBoston Red Sox
1977Rod Carew1BMinnesota Twins
1976Thurman MunsonCNew York Yankees
1975Fred LynnCFBoston Red Sox
1974Jeff BurroughsRFTexas Rangers
1973Reggie JacksonRFOakland Athletics
1972Richie Allen1BChicago White Sox
1971Vida BluePOakland Athletics
1970Boog Powell1BBaltimore Orioles
1969Harmon Killebrew1BMinnesota Twins
1968Denny McLainPDetroit Tigers
1967Carl YastrzemskyLFBoston Red Sox
1966Frank RobinsonLFBaltimore Orioles
1965Zoilo VersallesSSMinnesota Twins
1964Brooks Robinson3BBaltimore Orioles
1963Elston HowardCNew York Yankees
1962Mickey MantleCFNew York Yankees
1961Roger MarisRFNew York Yankees
1960Roger MarisRFNew York Yankees
1959Nellie Fox2BChicago White Sox
1958Jackie JensenRFBoston Red Sox
1957Mickey MantleCFNew York Yankees
1956Mickey MantleCFNew York Yankees
1955Yogi BerraCNew York Yankees
1955Yogi BerraCNew York Yankees
1953Al Rosen3BCleveland Indians
1952Bobby ShantzPPhiladelphia Athletics
1951Yogi BerraCNew York Yankees
1950Phil RizzutoSSNew York Giants
1949Ted WilliamsLFBoston Red Sox
1948Lou BoudreauSSCleveland Indians
1947Joe DiMaggioCFNew York Yankees
1946Ted WilliamsLFBoston Red Sox
1945Hal NewhouserPDetroit Tigers
1944Hal NewhouserPDetroit Tigers
1943Spud ChandlerPNew York Yankees
1942Joe Gordon2BNew York Yankees
1941Joe DiMaggioCFNew York Yankees
1940Hank GreenbergCFDetroit Tigers
1939Joe DiMaggioCFNew York Yankees
1938Jimmie Foxx1BBoston Red Sox
1937Charlie Gehringer2BDetroit Tigers
1936Lou Gehrig1BNew York Yankees
1935Hank Greenberg1BDetroit Tigers
1934Mickey CochraneCDetroit Tigers
1933Jimmie Foxx1BPhiladelphia Athletics
1932Jimmie Foxx1BPhiladelphia Athletics
1931Lefty GrovePPhiladelphia Athletics

Source: Major League Baseball - http://www.mlb.com/

See Also:

American League Awards:

National League Awards: