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 (and along with it the no-repeat rule), 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 given in the NL but not the AL, and 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

  • For the first and only time in history, 1979 saw co-MVPs in baseball, with rival first basemen Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Keith Hernandez of the New York Mets split the votes and the award.
  • While Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Yogi Berra, and Mickey Mantle are tied in the American League with three MVPs apiece, in the National League it's no contest - the otherworldly Barry Bonds has won 7!
  • With his victory in 1956, Don Newcombe became the first pitcher to win the MVP and National League Cy Young Award in the same season. The feat was repeated in 1964 by Sandy Koufax, in 1968 by Bob Gibson and in 2014 by Clayton Kershaw.
  • In 1987, Andre Dawson became the first player to win an MVP award while playing for a last place team, the Chicago Cubs.

Winners

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

YearPlayerPosTeam
2016Kris Bryant3BChicago Cubs
2015Bryce HarperRFWashington Nationals
2014Clayton KershawPLos Angeles Dodgers
2013Andrew McCutcheonCFPittsburgh Pirates
2012Buster PoseyCSan Francisco Giants
2011Ryan BraunLFMilwaukee Brewers
2010Joey Votto1BCincinnati Reds
2009Albert Pujols1BSt. Louis Cardinals
2008Albert Pujols1BSt. Louis Cardinals
2007Jimmy RollinsSSPhiladelphia Phillies
2006Ryan Howard1BPhiladelphia Phillies
2005Albert Pujols1BSt. Louis Cardinals
2004Barry BondsLFSan Francisco Giants
2003Barry BondsLFSan Francisco Giants
2002Barry BondsLFSan Francisco Giants
2001Barry BondsLFSan Francisco Giants
2000Jeff Kent2BSan Francisco Giants
1999Chipper Jones3BAtlanta Braves
1998Sammy SosaRFChicago Cubs
1997Larry WalkerRFColorado Rockies
1996Ken Caminiti3BHouston Astros
1995Barry LarkinSSCincinnati Reds
1994Jeff Bagwell1BHouston Astros
1993Barry BondsLFSan Francisco Giants
1992Barry BondsLFPittsburgh Pirates
1991Terry Pendleton3BAtlanta Braves
1990Barry BondsLFPittsburgh Pirates
1989Kevin MitchellLFSan Francisco Giants
1988Kirk GibsonLFLos Angeles Dodgers
1987Andre DawsonLFChicago Cubs
1986Mike Schmidt3BPhiladelphia Phillies
1985Willie McGeeCFSt. Louis Cardinals
1984Ryne Sandberg2BChicago Cubs
1983Dale MurphyLFAtlanta Braves
1982Dale MurphyLFAtlanta Braves
1981Mike Schmidt3BPhiladelphia Phillies
1980Mike Schmidt3BPhiladelphia Phillies
1979Willie Stargell
Keith Hernandez (tie)
1B
1B
Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Mets
1978Dave ParkerRFPittsburgh Pirates
1977George FosterLFCincinnati Reds
1976Joe Morgan2BCincinnati Reds
1975Joe Morgan2BCincinnati Reds
1974Steve Garvey1BLos Angeles Dodgers
1973Pete RoseRFCincinnati Reds
1972Johnny BenchCCincinnati Reds
1971Joe Torre3BSt. Louis Cardinals
1970Johnny BenchCCincinnati Reds
1969Willie McCovey1BSan Francisco Giants
1968Bob GibsonPSt. Louis Cardinals
1967Orlando Cepeda1BSt. Louis Cardinals
1966Roberto ClementeLFPittsburgh Pirates
1965Willie MaysCFSan Francisco Giants
1964Ken Boyer3BSt. Louis Cardinals
1963Sandy KoufaxPLos Angeles Dodgers
1962Maury WillsSSLos Angeles Dodgers
1961Frank RobinsonRFCincinnati Reds
1960Dick GroatSSPittsburgh Pirates
1959Ernie BanksSSChicago Cubs
1958Ernie BanksSSChicago Cubs
1957Hank AaronRFMilwaukee Braves
1956Don NewcombePBrooklyn Dodgers
1955Roy CampanellaCBrooklyn Dodgers
1954Willie MaysCFNew York Giants
1953Roy CampanellaCBrooklyn Dodgers
1952Hank SauerLFChicago Cubs
1951Roy CampanellaCBrooklyn Dodgers
1950Jim KostantyPPhiladelphia Phillies
1949Stan MusialLFSt. Louis Cardinals
1948Jackie Robinson2BBrooklyn Dodgers
1947Bob Elliott3BBoston Braves
1946Stan Musial1B/LFSt. Louis Cardinals
1945Phil Cavarretta1BChicago Cubs
1944Marty MarionSSSt. Louis Cardinals
1943Stan Musial1B/LFSt. Louis Cardinals
1942Mort CooperPSt. Louis Cardinals
1941Dolph Camilli1BBrooklyn Dodgers
1940Frank McCormick1BCincinnati Reds
1939Bucky WaltersPCincinnati Reds
1938Ernie LombardiCCincinnati Reds
1937Joe MedwickRFSt. Louis Cardinals
1936Carl HubbellPNew York Giants
1935Gabby HartnettCChicago Cubs
1934Dizzy DeanPSt. Louis Cardinals
1933Carl HubbellPNew York Giants
1932Chuck KleinLFPhiladelphia Phillies
1931Frankie Frisch2BChicago Cubs

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

See Also:

American League Awards:

National League Awards: