Explanation of MVP List
If you can download my Word document listed above (2003 MVPs by position) with every spacing, bold
face, and font size as I intended, then you can see the relative merit of ARod vs. the rest of the American Leaguers. He blew
them away. (Essentially, each column of players at each position was more valuable than the column of players to its right.
Within a column within a position the top player was more valuable than the one below it. Bold face means they were outstanding
even for an MVP. All caps and bold, means they were freakishly great.)
My criteria for rating each player`s excellence is how much they contributed more than a good AAA
or decent bench player would likely have contributed at the same position. If a player`s team makes the play-offs, and, especially,
if that player does well in the play-offs, I give him extra credit. RBIs are mostly luck, batting order, and teammate dependent,
so I pay very little attention to them. For offence, I look at mostly OBA, SlgA, and playing time. (Hence, a brilliant performance
in a limited number of appearances would only garner an Honorable Mention at best.) The number of stolen bases greater than
double the times caught help a little. For defense, since nobody is paying me for this, I don`t have zone factors, so I have
to rely pretty much on reputations. I do look at range factors, however. For starting pitchers: ERA, Innings, and Wins as
compared to run support are the three biggies. Yes, Wins don`t help you much in Scoresheet and I agree it is a contentious
stat. However, Cy Young Awards have been based more on Wins than anything else. There is semi-plausible argument for it, if
it is taken in the context of run support. Even more contentious in my mind is the value of a save. However, the stat is there
and relievers are judged by it, so I will heed (Wins + Saves - Losses - Blown Saves) the same value as Wins for starters excluding
the run support component. (I realize a Loss and a Blown Save could be counted twice, but that`s fair as far as I`m concerned.)
It boils down to the fact that when I started making this list, I figured no one would pay any attention to it, if I ignored
Wins and Saves. Of course, I look at the long term Park Factors for all players.
Alex Rodriguez & Barry Bonds vs. all-time greatest shortstops
Rodriguez has been awarded bold face (outstanding even for an MVP) for the last four years in a row, plus twice before that.
Only in two years of the past eight, was he merely excellent. Nomar Garciaparra was bold faced four years in a row (and no
others): `97-`00, and was about as good as Tejada`s 2002 MVP winning. ARod this year was also in all caps as he was in 2002
and 2000- meaning he frequently has freakishly great years. Yes, he`s a freak. What is freakier, it that it took sportswriters
until this year to vote ARod the MVP, when has been clearly the best four times - maybe five times before then.
Jeter first appeared on my MVP lists the same year as ARod. He has been, at least, outstanding each year getting bold face
only once in 1999. For what it`s worth, Barry Larkin made my list 12 times - with an even distribution as MVPs, Runner-Ups,
Outstandings, and Honorable Mentions. He had bold face twice.
about greatness: as we all know, Bonds has won the MVP award 6 times including the last three. According to my lists, Bonds
has been one of the three MVPs of Major League outfielders every year for the last 14 years, except in 1999 when an
injury kept him at the Honorable Mention level. He also made Honorable Mention in two of the three years before this run,
going back to 1987. I give him bold face distinction seven times. At 39, he is still at his peak, getting all caps these last
two years and all caps underlined! in 2001.
be underlined is to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time.
do ARod and Bonds compare to other greats? (Were are not talking about personality here - just how they rated on my learned
MVP lists. Note: in recent decades I have included more players on my lists, which I believe is justifiable considering how
improved athletes are these days.)
Rodriguez: 8 years so far, no Honorable Mentions, 6 MVP bold face honors, all caps 4 times
Garciaparra: 6 yrs. on list, 1 runner-up, no HM, bold faced MVP 4 times, never in all caps.
Ripken: 14 years on list (all consecutive, of course), only 1 HM, 7 MVPs, 2 bold, 1 all caps
Bonds: 16 years on list, 3 HM, 13 MVPs (nothing in-between!), 7 bold, 3 caps, 1 underlined
Aaron: 15 years made the list, only 1 HM, and also 12 MVPs! Also, 6 bold! 1 all caps
Mays: 14 years on the list, none of which as HM, 13 as an MVP!, 11 bold!, 3 caps
Williams: 12 years listed (missed 5 prime seasons for patriotism), 1 HM, 9
MVP, 6 bold, 1 caps
DiMaggio: 11 years listed (missed 3 prime - see above), no HM, 10 MVP, 5 bold, no caps
Ruth: 17 years listed!, 1 HM (pitcher), 14 MVPs! (2 as pitcher), 9 bold!, 4 caps, 1 underlined
Cobb: 17 years on list, 1 HM, 15 MVPs!, 6 bold, 3 caps, 1 underlined
Wagner: 13 years on the list, no HM, 11 MVPs, 6 bold, no caps
are the three underlined seasons:
Cobb: .420 BA, 8 HR,
24 T, 47 D, 127 BB, 83 SB in the dead ball era! An outstanding CF.
Ruth: .378 BA, 59 HR, 16 T, 44 D, 171 BB, 17 SB and was 2-0 as a pitcher
2001 Bonds: .328 BA, 73 HR, 2 T, 32 D, 177 BB,
13 SB and his last Gold Glove?
so it is impossible to accurately compare players from one era to another. However, I do think my list analysis gives us an
excellent idea of how outstanding these players are. As you can see, having more names on my MVP lists in recent decades doesn`t
make much difference with players of this caliber. During their prime, these super stars were vastly superior to everyone
else, anyway. During most of these players` finals years, they generally weren`t quite good enough for Honorable Mention.
Hence, all this analysis misses is how many years these players were still better than subs, but not above average enough
to get an HM. For most players that is significant, but for 11 listed above, it isn`t.
conclusion, Honus Wagner was more outstanding than Cal Ripken, but not by a lot. ARod and to a lesser extent Nomar are both
candidates to be the all-time greatest - at shortstop or any position, but they have a long way to go. Nomar`s chances, in
fact, are pretty doubtful. Jeter seems to be in the Barry Larkin echelon, which isn`t very far below.
very narrowly edges out Cobb as the all-time most outstanding player (assuming it isn`t Walter Johnson or some other non-outfielder).
Willie Mays still completes what would be the all-time greatest outfield. Barry Bonds, however, as he is passing his godfather
in home runs is very close to nudging him out of the top three. Bonds has now passed Aaron, Williams, and DiMaggio. If anyone
wishes to invoke the ``players are faster, bigger, stronger, & all-around better now`` argument and say Bonds & Mays
should be ahead of old Ty Cobb and even Ruth, you have my approval, but that`s a whole other discussion. Cobb & Ruth were
more outstanding amongst their Major League peers than Barry Bonds.