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Can we now retroactively give Pedro Martinez his MVP award?

Nov 21, 2011, 4:10 PM EDT

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Justin Verlander‘s deserved MVP nod on Monday ended an 18-year drought in which only position players had been awarded the game’s ultimate single-season honor. No pitcher had won an MVP award since A’s closer Dennis Eckersley in 1992. No starter had won since Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986.

Now that the BBWAA is again showing a willingness to vote for pitchers — at least if no position player on a first-place team truly stands out — let’s correct a couple of wrongs from the last 20 years.

- Roger Clemens – 1997 Blue Jays

Clemens went 21-7, led the AL in ERA at 2.05, strikeouts with 292, innings pitched with 264 and complete games with nine, yet he finished a mere 10th in the MVP balloting. Randy Myers, who pitched 59 2/3 innings with a WHIP worse than Clemens’, came in fourth. At least the voters did pick the right position player this year, as Ken Griffey Jr. got the nod.

- Pedro Martinez – 1999 Red Sox

After finishing 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts, Martinez got eight first-place votes, but he was also left off a couple of ballots and finished second in the balloting to Ivan Rodriguez, who was probably the league’s fourth or fifth best position player. Martinez was even better the following year in 2000, when he went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA, but he came in fifth that year.

- Greg Maddux – 1995 Braves

In the 144-game strike-shortened season, Maddux was a remarkable 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP in 209 2/3 innings. All of those marks led the NL, of course, and Maddux was pretty obviously the league’s most valuable player. Still, he finished third behind Barry Larkin and Coors Field-aided Dante Bichette in the balloting.

- Johan Santana – 2004 Twins

The American League in 2004 had five guys drive in at least 120 runs. Not coincidentally, those five guys finished first-through-fifth in the MVP voting. Santana was sixth after going 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. There was a case for actual winner Vladimir Guerrero over him, but Santana should have finished second at worst.

  1. cur68 - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Wait a minute Mathew. Are you implying that logic and merit be part of this process and not some sort homerism with a mix of cherry picked stats? ‘Cause if you are implying the former, Evan Grant wants a word with you.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      Anyone have a link to his column that everyone is referencing?

      • cur68 - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/11/justin-verlander-wins-mvp-one.html

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        I assume you mean Evan Grant and putting Michael Young first in his ballot. If so, here you go:
        http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/11/justin-verlander-wins-mvp-one.html

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:36 PM

        Shit…Cur beat me to it apparently. Must be all that whale blubber.

      • cur68 - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        Well, I use seal blubber (easier to subdue a reluctant seal with a Louisville Slugger than it is to subdue a whale with one) but you are correct as to why I am so slick: its the grade A, organic grease on my ba…never mind.

      • paperlions - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        It’s all good doc, I clicked on you link….never trusted Canucks.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:56 PM

        Thanks Paper. Yeah, you might click on Cur’s link and pictures of Wayne Gretzky and beavers might litter the screen. Best not take any chances.

      • cur68 - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:47 PM

        Hey!

  2. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Only if we go back and give Ron Guidry the 1978 MVP Award over Jim Rice first.

  3. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Martinez should go into the HOF as an Expo. Just to get back at Boston for uncermoniously dumping him. LMAO

    • JBerardi - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      Unceremoniously? What type of ceremony do teams usually give departing free agents?

      • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM

        You don’t just run them out of town, which is the stock in trade for Boston when it comes to getting rid of veteran players.

      • oldpaddy - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM

        Did I miss something? How was Pedro run out of town?
        The Mets offered more money and years, is that the definition of being run out of town?

      • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM

        Actually, Pedro didn’t really get the kind of treatment that other departing players got.

      • Glenn - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM

        … and the Sox gave him a huge tribute on his first game back at Fenway.

  4. Detroit Michael - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    You could just pay attention to the Internet Baseball Awards instead of the BBWAA awards. That likely would be an improvement.

  5. ricofoy - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    If the gist of this article is that some voters don’t know what the hell they’re doing, I agree wholeheartedly. They need to let the fans vote for all the awards

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      Yeah, because judging by all star voting fans are bound to get it right. Seriously though, if fans voted Jeter would have like 10 MVP’s by now.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM

      The Hank Aaron award is voted on by fans.
      And they voted Aramis Ramirez’s 126 OPS+ as the pinnacle of offensive performance in the NL in 2008…which ranked 19th in the NL.

      Even Ramirez said he thought his getting the award was kind of stupid. I can’t find a link to the quote, but something like “I shouldn’t have won it, but it’s from the fans so I’ll take it!”

      Remember that next time you think the fans should vote for the award.

      • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:53 PM

        The Hank Aaron should be on a par with the Cy Young. There should also be a fielder’s award…the Ozzie Smith maybe?

  6. Old Gator - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    I’ve got a better idea. Let’s retroactively take back Verlander’s MVP and give it to an everyday player – unless you’d like to give a Cy Young award to Albert Pujols or some such thing.

  7. genericcommenter - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Can we also go back and change CY Young awards to give those to deserving pitchers as well, rather than the guy with the best run support? Like, not giving them to a guy who wasn’t even the best starting pitcher on his own team?

    For example how does this guy get 21 first place votes?:

    3.51 ERA, 220.1 IP, 72 BB, 213 SO, WHIP 1.257, 128 ERA+, 0 CG, 0 SHO

    And his teammate gets 0:
    3.15 ERA, 228.2 IP, 42 BB, 214 SO, WHIP 1.067, 143 ERA+, 4 CG, 3 SHO

    • genericcommenter - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      First pitcher also had MVP votes, for some reason. Highest MVP vote share on his team, among 4 players in top 12. 2nd pitcher= 0. That season, one pitcher got too many MVP votes. And so did Juan Gonzalez, of course.

  8. bigdogpappad - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    If Pitchers can win the MVP, then get rid of the Cy Young which EXCLUDES all position players who play more than every fifth day and who actually pick up a bat and run the basepaths, unlike the Pitchers in the American League. Verlander had a great year and deserves the Cy Young award, but not the MVP.

    • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:03 PM

      Quit your crying, little Boston baby. Pitchers aren’t eligible for the Hank Aaron Award either. Not their fault that MLB doesn’t hype the Hank Aaron as much as the Cy Young.

      Verlander earned that MVP and tough noogies to everyone else who came in second.

  9. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Verlander faced over 900 batters, which is much more than any of the at bats that any of the position players faced. Add to that the fact that Verlander fielded his position on nearly every play (covering first base, backing up the catcher, etc.). The voters chose Verlander and that’s that. He earned that MVP and to try to discount it is ludicrous.

  10. Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    When an NL pitcher wins 25 games and loses 3 or fewer with a sub 2.00 ERA, AND wins a gold glove, AND hits .320 with an OBP of .380 or more with a minimum 10 HR, then and only then would I be OK with a pitcher getting an MVP. (In the case of AL pitchers, they should be a viable option to DH when not on the bump, with similar offensive stats).

    • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:13 PM

      If ANY player ever did that, they should get the “GOD” award instead. In other words, GTFO.

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM

        See “Ruth, George Herman”.

  11. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    If anything they should add the DH to the National League, with one slight caveat for both leagues. IF the pitcher is replaced, then the DH should have to be replaced as well. It would still make for some of the nice double switches and other strategies that the NL teams engage in but would make it harder on the NL pitchers in terms of having to face better lineups but would force managers to think twice about switches, preserving some of the National League tradition.

    Just go ahead and make me Commissioner now! LOL

  12. mplsjoe - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Star Tribune Twins beat writer LaVelle Neal left Pedro off his MVP ballot on the misguided notion that pitchers shouldn’t win MVPs. That alone cost Pedro the award. LaVelle, who is otherwise a great baseball writer and seems like a good guy, still has emails about it.

    • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:19 PM

      Still has emails about it? Geez…leave the guy alone already.

  13. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    oldpaddy – Nov 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM
    Did I miss something? How was Pedro run out of town?
    The Mets offered more money and years, is that the definition of being run out of town?

    __
    The Sox contract offer to him was insulting given what he had done for them. Of course, the Mets’ contract offer was for more money and years, by comparison, that is.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      Given that Pedro broke down with the Mets, didn’t the Sox make the shrewd decision not making a comparable offer?

      • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:02 PM

        The Sox made the backstabber move, just like they did with Nomar, Vaughn and countless others. They have very little loyalty to any player or manager. Must be all those fruitless years under the Yawkeys. It finally took massive dosages of steroids pumped into a bunch of doubles hitters to turn the tide after 86 years of sucking. Both Manny and Ortiz have been pumped so full of drugs that they probably won’t live very long after they are finally away from the game.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM

        All kinds of wrong. Pedro was paid for his years played with Boston – the Red Sox owed him nothing more. They didn’t backstab him by not overpaying him, they made the smart decision. Just like the Yankees didn’t backstab Pettitte when he went to Houston – they simply valued him less than another team did. In Pettitte’s case, the Yanks were wrong about how much he had left, but making business decisions like that doesn’t mean you ran a guy out of town.

    • robertterwilliger - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:57 PM

      insulting?

      the red sox offered pedro 3/37.5 with an option year for 2008 worth an estimated 13.5 million. 51 million dollars.

      mets offered pedro 4/53 with the fourth year guaranteed.

      so he got an extra year guaranteed (2008: in which he pitched extremely poorly to the tune of a 75 era+ and whip over 1.5) and an extra two million. not really insulting.

      also the red sox won the world series in 2007.

  14. Jonny 5 - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    What’s strange is Verlander only helped his team win every fifth or sixth day……..

    • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:05 PM

      Yeah, but he helped them by shutting down 20 or more batters in each game that he pitched in. As opposed to the hitters that he went against in the MVP balloting who only got 4 at bats on average in each game. Add to that the fact that Verlander and other pitchers have to field their position on every play (field their area, cover first, back up the catcher, etc.), while the outfielders may have to field 5 or 6 hits a game.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:31 PM

        He only showed up for one fifth of the games though, 35 of them. Cabrera got on base at a .448 clip in 161 games.

        Verlander wasn’t the most valuable player on his own team except on nights he pitched, which is every fifth game. I think that’s a good point. In the American League, pitchers aren’t even “players”, they’re “pitchers” who don’t even bat. Hey, you can sing his praises if you want but I don’t think guys throwing every fifth day can be the MVP.

  15. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Jonny 5 – Nov 21, 2011 at 10:31 PM
    He only showed up for one fifth of the games though, 35 of them. Cabrera got on base at a .448 clip in 161 games.

    Verlander wasn’t the most valuable player on his own team except on nights he pitched, which is every fifth game. I think that’s a good point. In the American League, pitchers aren’t even “players”, they’re “pitchers” who don’t even bat. Hey, you can sing his praises if you want but I don’t think guys throwing every fifth day can be the MVP.

    ___
    Verlander worked 5 times or more as hard as Cabrera in those 1/5 of the total games though. Plus, he even pitched a no-hitter, an fairly rare occurance for pitchers. What did Cabrera do that was near as special? And yes, I do think that Cabrera is a pretty special player, just not as special this year as Verlander was. Probalby more special than Ellsbury though, in fact most of his numbers (BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+) were superior to Ellsbury’s numbers. So, if anything, it’s Cabrera who should have a beef with Verlander winning, not Ellsbury. Don’t see many here stumping for Cabrera like they are slurping Ellsbury though.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:16 AM

      I really don’t want to hear it. When you only play every fifth game, on a team with Cabrera with his season he had, you can’t be the MVP. It doesn’t even make sense. He was the best pitcher on the Tigers, not the MV “player”. They already have a pitching award.

      I’m not sure why everyone gets up in arms over a difference in opinion on this ridiculous matter. This “award” is picked by “sports writers” because it was invented by them. They are the ones who performed fellatio on Verlander all season, implying he was taking the tigers to the playoffs all by himself (again he only helped every fifth game). It was no surprise that they continued their fellatio even though his post season era was terrible. His numbers in the playoffs are that of a #5 pitcher. Yet he’s somehow the MVP. This award was nothing more than the BBWAA stroking their own egos for picking him as the hero of the AL for the second half of the season.

  16. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    Richard In Big D – Nov 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM
    See “Ruth, George Herman”.

    __
    Then the same should apply to position players. If they can’t at least step in and win a game or five during the season as a spot starter, then they don’t deserve to be MVP either.

  17. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    Kevin S. – Nov 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM
    All kinds of wrong. Pedro was paid for his years played with Boston – the Red Sox owed him nothing more. They didn’t backstab him by not overpaying him, they made the smart decision. Just like the Yankees didn’t backstab Pettitte when he went to Houston – they simply valued him less than another team did. In Pettitte’s case, the Yanks were wrong about how much he had left, but making business decisions like that doesn’t mean you ran a guy out of town.

    __
    FAIL!

    The Yankees offered Pettitte 7.5 million more than what he signed for in Houston. He decided that he wanted to pitch for his hometown team instead of reupping with the Yankees. Furthermore, he was welcomed back with open arms by the Yankees once he decided to go back to New York to play.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:16 PM

      At the last second, after having a lower offer than Houston the whole way. But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

      And if Pedro had proven that he could still pitch after his Mets contract was done, I’m sure Boston would have considered him in FA again.

      • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:39 AM

        Last minute is better than never…which is what Pedro ended his career doing…as in never pitching for the Red Sox again.

        The Red Sox owed Pedro more respect than they showed. But don’t let the truth get in the way of the typical Boston spin machine.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:51 AM

        I’m a Yankee fan, numbnuts, and I’ve taken plenty of swipes at the Boston spin machine and the deplorable way they sling mud at players, coaches and executives on the way out. Pedro just wasn’t one of those guys. You don’t have to dramatically overpay for a guy’s decline years to respect him.

  18. unlost1 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    Well ya see, those guys back then used steroids.

    • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:40 AM

      yeah, we know all about the positive tests for Manny and Ortiz while they were Red Sox players.

  19. bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Kevin S. – Nov 22, 2011 at 12:51 AM
    I’m a Yankee fan, numbnuts, and I’ve taken plenty of swipes at the Boston spin machine and the deplorable way they sling mud at players, coaches and executives on the way out. Pedro just wasn’t one of those guys. You don’t have to dramatically overpay for a guy’s decline years to respect him.

    __
    Whatever, dribbledick. They disrespected Pedro just like they have disrespected nearly every other player who gave them their best years. No way you can talk your way around it.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      “I’m going to assert things baselessly, AND NOTHING YOU CAN SAY WILL CHANGE MY MIND!!!1!1″

      Got it.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        It’s useless, one of the people he mentioned as being disrespected was Nomar of all people.

  20. siftin thru nonsense - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    VOTE FOR PEDRO! robbed. Incredible pitcher and a true champion.

  21. foreverchipper10 - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Thank you for bringing up that impressive season from Greg in 95′. I was only 12 at the time and the numbers look even more impressive to me today. Oh those were the days…

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