Category Archives: November

November 16th: Most MVP’s were outfielders

NOVEMBER 16, 2017NEW YORK, NEW YORK • The baseball world is waiting to hear who the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award winners are for the 2017. The awards are announced tomorrow (November 17th). A review of past MVP’s is that more often than not, they were outfielders.

That knowledge would be valuable for your next baseball trivia game. Here are the answers:

MVP recipients by position (as of 11/16/2017)
American League
OF       29
1B       14
P          12
3B          9
SS           8
C            8
2B         4
DH        1

National League
OF       31
1B       15
P          10
3B          9
C            8
SS          7
2B         6

There were several MVP-type awards early in the 20th Century, but the criteria were often suspect. Raising doubts about their legitimacy was the fact that players like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb never won such an award.

The Baseball Writers Association of America took over voting for the Most Valuable Player award in 1931 and continues the task to this day. This brings credibility to the conclusion that most MVP’s were outfielders.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
List of MVP winners
MVP recipients by position

NOVEMBER 15th IN BASEBALL HISTORY – THE LATE JOE NUXHALL

NOVEMBER 15, 2007 |  CINCINNATI, OHIO • The youngest player to appear in a major league baseball game died on this date in 2007. The late Joe Nuxhall was 79 when he died. He was 15 the first time he faced a major league lineup.

The 15-year old Nuxhall would have made it nowhere near a major league mound without a ticket, had it not been for World War II.

Nuxhall made it to “THE SHOW” with the Cincinnati Reds on June 10, 1944. It was the height of World War II. Able-bodied ballplayers of a more mature age were hard to come by because they were all in the service.

The 15-year old Nuxhall would have made it nowhere near a major league mound without a ticket, had it not been for World War II.

It was not an auspicious beginning. As the box score and play-by-play of that game show, Nuxhall was brought in to mop up a game pretty much out of reach for the Reds.

The Reds were down 13-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals when Nuxhall entered the game in the 9th. He gave up 5 earned runs on 5 walks, 2 hits and a wild pitch. He wasn’t even able to close-out the 9th. The Reds had to bring another pitcher to get the 3rd out.

Nuxhall’s ERA for that appearance – 67.50. He was shipped back to the minors after the game, not to return for eight years.

Nuxhall went on to have a fine career when he returned to the Reds in 1953. He won 17 games in 1955, 15 in 1963. His career record was 135-117. He wasn’t a bad hitting pitcher either, finishing with 15 home runs and 78 RBI.

Nuxhall was a victim of bad timing when he was traded to the Kansas City A’s in 1961, missing Cincinnati’s only appearance in the World Series during his playing career. He returned to the Reds in 1962.

Contributing sources:
Youngest MLB players
The Associated Press (AP), June 11, 1944
More on Joe Nuxhall

NOVEMBER 13 – THE MOST MVP’s

NEW YORK, NEW YORK • TODAY – NOVEMBER 13th – IN BASEBALL HISTORY: The most valuable player awards for 2017 are due out in a few days. It’s not unusual for each league’s most valuable player (MVP) to be a repeater. The leader of the pack by far is Barry Bonds. Evidence that he took PEDs (performance enhancement drugs) notwithstanding, Bonds won 7 MVP awards, more than twice as many as anyone else.

Multiple MVP winners as of November 12, 2016:
Barry Bonds (7)  


Albert Pujols (3)
Alex Rodriguez (3)
Mike Schmidt (3)
Yogi Berra (3)
Roy Campanella (3)
Joe DiMaggio (3)
Mickey Mantle (3)
Jimmie Foxx (3)
Stan Musial (3)  


Ernie Banks (2)
Johnny Bench (2)
Miguel Cabrera (2)
Mickey Cochrane (2)
Lou Gehrig (2)
Hank Greenberg (2)
Juan Gonzalez (2)
Rogers Hornsby (2)
Carl Hubbell (2)
Walter Johnson (2)
Roger Maris (2)
Willie Mays (2)
Joe Morgan (2)
Dale Murphy (2)
Hal Newhouser (2)
Cal Ripken (2)
Frank Robinson (2)
Frank Thomas (2)
Ted Williams (2)
Robin Yount (2)

There were several post-season “best player” awards prior to 1931, but their criteria was not always well thought out, as evidenced by the absence of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and others.

The current MVP awards have been presented in each league since 1931. They are presented annually by the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWAA). Today – NOVEMBER 13th – in baseball history: The most valuable player awards

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
Baseball-Reference.com MVP awards

Multiple MVP winners

NOVEMBER 12 – MEET THE NEW BOSS

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS • Today – NOVEMBER 12TH  in baseball history: Pete Townsend wrote “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,”  in the Who classic, Won’t Get Fooled Again. That’s not unlike when Major League Baseball owners gave in to Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis on this date in 1920. They named him the game’s first Commissioner.

The public relations nightmare of the 1919 Black Sox scandal was just coming to light. Owners were fearful the effect of the scandal would have on the popularity of the game. They were pursuing an independent 3-member commission to rule the game. A favorite of the owners to be one of the commissioners was Judge Landis, but he would only serve if he was sole Commissioner. That’s how a single baseball Commissioner came to be.

According to Leonard Koppett, author of Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, Judge Landis negotiated a pretty good deal to help major league baseball “come clean.” He got an annual salary of $50,000 for seven years. He would remain on the federal bench, but his $7,500 judge salary would be deducted from his baseball salary.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis is most remembered for banning eight members of the Chicago White Sox for life in 1921 for throwing the 1919 World Series.

Koppett suspects Landis was named commissioner as payback for bailing out major league baseball when he was the presiding judge over an antitrust lawsuit in 1915.

While the antitrust litigation had a more lasting effect, Kennesaw Mountain Landis is most remembered for banning eight members of the Chicago White Sox for life in 1921 for throwing the 1919 World Series. A jury had found the players not guilty of throwing the series – partly because confessions they made were lost – but Judge Landis didn’t care about the acquittals. His view was they confessed to accepting bribes, so they were forbidden to ever play major league baseball again.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis was Commissioner for 24 years – the longest of any baseball commissioner. That’s what happened TODAY – November 12th – in baseball history.

Contributing sources:
Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball
, by Leonard Koppett, 2004

NOVEMBER 11: FERNANDOMANIA

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA • TODAY – NOVEMBER 11TH – IN BASEBALL HISTORY: Fernandomania continued into the post-season on this date in 1981. Los Angeles Dodger phenom pitcher Fernando Valenzuela won the National League Cy Young award as the league’s best pitcher. He was the first rookie to win the award.

Valenzuela displayed excellent composure, enthusiasm and ability though he was only 20-years old.

Valenzuela could hit too. He hit .250 with 7 RBI in his rookie year. His career batting average was .200 with 10 home runs and 84 RBI.

Valenzuela finished the ’81 season with a 13 – 7 won-loss record and a 2.48 ERA (earned run average). He beat out established stars Tom SeaverSteve Carlton and Nolan Ryan for the Cy Young award.  Valenzuela also won the National League Rookie-of-the-year award.

Valenzuela could hit too. He hit .250 with 7 RBI in his rookie year. His career batter average was .200 with 10 home runs and 84 RBI .

Fernandomania lasted 17 years.  During that time Valenzuela won 173 games and lost 153. That’s today – November 11th – in baseball history.

Contributing Sources:
“Fairy Tale Ending to Fairy Tale season,” by Mike Littwin, Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1981
1981 Post-season awards