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Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award facts for kids

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Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award (MVP)
Sport Baseball
League Major League Baseball
Given for Regular season most valuable player of American League and National League
Country United States, Canada
Presented by Baseball Writers' Association of America
History
First award 1931
Most recent José Abreu (AL)
Freddie Freeman (NL)

The Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an annual Major League Baseball (MLB) award given to one outstanding player in the American League and one in the National League. Since 1931, it has been awarded by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Until 2020, the winners received the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, which became the official name of the award in 1944, in honor of the first MLB commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who served from 1920 until his death on November 25, 1944. Starting in 2020, Landis’ name no longer appeared on the MVP trophy after the BBWAA received complaints from several former MVP winners about the late Commissioner’s role against integration of MLB.

MVP voting takes place before the postseason, but the results are not announced until after the World Series. The BBWAA began by polling three writers in each league city in 1938, reducing that number to two per league city in 1961. The BBWAA does not offer a clear-cut definition of what "most valuable" means, instead leaving the judgment to the individual voters.

First basemen, with 34 winners, have won the most MVPs among infielders, followed by second basemen (16), third basemen (15), and shortstops (15). Of the 25 pitchers who have won the award, 15 are right-handed while 10 are left-handed. Walter Johnson, Carl Hubbell, and Hal Newhouser are the only pitchers who have won multiple times, Newhouser winning consecutively in 1944 and 1945.

Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, and Robin Yount have won at different positions, while Rodriguez is the only player who has won the award with two different teams at two different positions. Barry Bonds has won the most often (seven times) and the most consecutively (four: 2001–04). Jimmie Foxx was the first player to win multiple times; Ten players have won three times, and 19 have won twice. Frank Robinson is the only player to win the award in both the American and National Leagues.

The award's only tie occurred in the National League in 1979, when Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell received an equal number of points. There have been 18 unanimous winners, who received all the first-place votes. The New York Yankees have the most winning players with 22, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals with 17 winners. The award has never been presented to a member of the following three teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays.

In recent decades, pitchers have rarely won the award. When Justin Verlander won the AL award in 2011, he became the first pitcher in either league to be named the MVP since Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Verlander also became the first starting pitcher to win this award since Roger Clemens accomplished the feat in 1986. The National League went even longer without an MVP award to a pitcher. After Bob Gibson won in 1968, no pitcher in that league was named MVP until Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

Chalmers Award (1911–1914)

Ty-Cobb-1913-NPC-detail-1
Ty Cobb won the first American League Chalmers Award in 1911 and was at the center of the controversy over the previous season's award.

Before the 1910 season, Hugh Chalmers of Chalmers Automobile announced he would present a Chalmers Model 30 automobile to the player with the highest batting average in Major League Baseball at the end of the season. The 1910 race for best average in the American League was between the Detroit Tigers' widely disliked Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie of the Cleveland Indians. On the last day of the season, Lajoie overtook Cobb's batting average with seven bunt hits against the St. Louis Browns. American League President Ban Johnson said a recalculation showed that Cobb had won the race anyway, and Chalmers ended up awarding cars to both players.

The following season, Chalmers created the Chalmers Award. A committee of baseball writers were to convene after the season to determine the "most important and useful player to the club and to the league". Since the award was not as effective at advertising as Chalmers had hoped, it was discontinued after 1914.

Year American League winner Team Position National League winner Team Position Ref
1911 Ty Cobbdagger§ Detroit Tigers OF Frank Schulte Chicago Cubs OF
1912 Tris Speakerdagger Boston Red Sox OF Larry Doyle New York Giants 2B
1913 Walter Johnsondagger Washington Senators RHP Jake Daubert Brooklyn Dodgers 1B
1914 Eddie Collinsdagger Philadelphia Athletics 2B Johnny Eversdagger Boston Braves 2B

League Awards (1922–1929)

Babe Ruth2
Babe Ruth was ineligible for the award in his famous 1927 season by the rules of the American League award because he had previously won in 1923.

In 1922 the American League created a new award to honor "the baseball player who is of the greatest all-around service to his club". Winners, voted on by a committee of eight baseball writers chaired by James Crusinberry, received a bronze medal and a cash prize. Voters were required to select one player from each team and player-coaches and prior award winners were ineligible. Famously, these criteria resulted in Babe Ruth winning only a single MVP award before it was dropped after 1928. The National League award, without these restrictions, lasted from 1924 to 1929.

Year American League winner Team Position National League winner Team Position Ref
1922 George Sislerdagger St. Louis Browns 1B
1923 Babe Ruthdagger§ New York Yankees OF
1924 Walter Johnsondagger (2) Washington Senators RHP Dazzy Vancedagger Brooklyn Robins RHP
1925 Roger Peckinpaugh Washington Senators SS Rogers Hornsbydagger St. Louis Cardinals 2B
1926 George Burns Cleveland Indians 1B Bob O'Farrell St. Louis Cardinals C
1927 Lou Gehrigdagger New York Yankees 1B Paul Wanerdagger Pittsburgh Pirates OF
1928 Mickey Cochranedagger Philadelphia Athletics C Jim Bottomleydagger St. Louis Cardinals 1B
1929 Rogers Hornsbydagger (2) Chicago Cubs 2B

Baseball Writers' Association of America's Most Valuable Player (1931–present)

The BBWAA first awarded the modern MVP after the 1931 season, adopting the format the National League used to distribute its league award. One writer in each city with a team filled out a ten-place ballot, with ten points for the recipient of a first-place vote, nine for a second-place vote, and so on. In 1938, the BBWAA raised the number of voters to three per city and gave 14 points for a first-place vote. The only significant change since then occurred in 1961, when the number of voters was reduced to two per league city.

Jimmie Foxx 1937 cropped
Jimmie Foxx was the first player to win three MVP awards.
Hank Greenberg 1937 cropped
Hall of Famer and 2-time MVP Hank Greenberg was the first player to win the award at two different fielding positions (1B and OF)
Jim Konstanty
Jim Konstanty, to date the only National League relief pitcher to be named MVP won it in 1950.
Willie Mays cropped
Hall of Famer Willie Mays won the award in 1954 and 1965 with the same team in different cities.
BarryBonds1993
Barry Bonds' seven MVPs are the most for any individual player.
Alex Rodriguez Talking
Alex Rodriguez won the award with two different teams at two different positions.
DSC05863 Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols won the award three times, at first base with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Miguel Cabrera batting against Angels (2012-09-09)
Miguel Cabrera was the winner of back-to-back AL Awards from 2012–13.
Josh Donaldson on September 30, 2015
Josh Donaldson won the AL MVP in 2015.
Yelichbrewers (cropped)
Christian Yelich was the winner of the NL MVP Award in 2018.
Year American League winner Team Position National League winner Team Position Ref
1931 Grove, LeftyLefty Grove Philadelphia Athletics* LHP Frisch, FrankieFrankie Frisch St. Louis Cardinals* 2B
1932 Foxx, JimmieJimmie Foxx Philadelphia Athletics 1B Chuck Klein Philadelphia Phillies OF
1933 Jimmie Foxx (2) Philadelphia Athletics 1B Hubbell, CarlCarl Hubbell New York Giants* LHP
1934 Cochrane, MickeyMickey Cochrane (2) Detroit Tigers* C Dean, DizzyDizzy Dean St. Louis Cardinals* RHP
1935 Greenberg, HankHank Greenberg†§ Detroit Tigers* 1B Hartnett, GabbyGabby Hartnett Chicago Cubs* C
1936 Gehrig, LouLou Gehrig (2) New York Yankees* 1B Hubbell, CarlCarl Hubbell†§ (2) New York Giants* LHP
1937 Gehringer, CharlieCharlie Gehringer Detroit Tigers 2B Medwick, JoeJoe Medwick St. Louis Cardinals OF
1938 Foxx, JimmieJimmie Foxx (3) Boston Red Sox 1B Lombardi, ErnieErnie Lombardi Cincinnati Reds C
1939 DiMaggio, JoeJoe DiMaggio New York Yankees* OF Walters, BuckyBucky Walters Cincinnati Reds* RHP
1940 Greenberg, HankHank Greenberg (2) Detroit Tigers* OF McCormick, FrankFrank McCormick Cincinnati Reds* 1B
1941 DiMaggio, JoeJoe DiMaggio (2) New York Yankees* OF Camilli, DolphDolph Camilli Brooklyn Dodgers* 1B
1942 Gordon, JoeJoe Gordon New York Yankees* 2B Cooper, MortMort Cooper St. Louis Cardinals* RHP
1943 Chandler, SpudSpud Chandler New York Yankees* RHP Musial, StanStan Musial St. Louis Cardinals* OF
1944 Newhouser, HalHal Newhouser Detroit Tigers LHP Marion, MartyMarty Marion St. Louis Cardinals* SS
1945 Newhouser, HalHal Newhouser (2) Detroit Tigers* LHP Cavarretta, PhilPhil Cavarretta Chicago Cubs* 1B
1946 Williams, TedTed Williams Boston Red Sox* OF Musial, StanStan Musial (2) St. Louis Cardinals* 1B
1947 DiMaggio, JoeJoe DiMaggio (3) New York Yankees* OF Elliott, BobBob Elliott Boston Braves 3B
1948 Boudreau, LouLou Boudreau Cleveland Indians* SS Musial, StanStan Musial (3) St. Louis Cardinals OF
1949 Williams, TedTed Williams (2) Boston Red Sox OF Robinson, JackieJackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers* 2B
1950 Rizzuto, PhilPhil Rizzuto New York Yankees* SS Konstanty, JimJim Konstanty Philadelphia Phillies* RHP
1951 Berra, YogiYogi Berra New York Yankees* C Campanella, RoyRoy Campanella Brooklyn Dodgers C
1952 Shantz, BobbyBobby Shantz Philadelphia Athletics LHP Sauer, HankHank Sauer Chicago Cubs OF
1953 Rosen, AlAl Rosen§ Cleveland Indians 3B Campanella, RoyRoy Campanella (2) Brooklyn Dodgers* C
1954 Berra, YogiYogi Berra (2) New York Yankees C Mays, WillieWillie Mays New York Giants* OF
1955 Berra, YogiYogi Berra (3) New York Yankees* C Campanella, RoyRoy Campanella (3) Brooklyn Dodgers* C
1956 Mantle, MickeyMickey Mantle†§ New York Yankees* OF Newcombe, DonDon Newcombe Brooklyn Dodgers* RHP
1957 Mantle, MickeyMickey Mantle (2) New York Yankees* OF Aaron, HankHank Aaron Milwaukee Braves* OF
1958 Jensen, JackieJackie Jensen Boston Red Sox OF Banks, ErnieErnie Banks Chicago Cubs SS
1959 Fox, NellieNellie Fox Chicago White Sox* 2B Banks, ErnieErnie Banks (2) Chicago Cubs SS
1960 Maris, RogerRoger Maris New York Yankees* OF Groat, DickDick Groat Pittsburgh Pirates* SS
1961 Maris, RogerRoger Maris (2) New York Yankees* OF Robinson, FrankFrank Robinson Cincinnati Reds* OF
1962 Mantle, MickeyMickey Mantle (3) New York Yankees* OF Wills, MauryMaury Wills Los Angeles Dodgers SS
1963 Howard, ElstonElston Howard New York Yankees* C Koufax, SandySandy Koufax Los Angeles Dodgers* LHP
1964 Robinson, BrooksBrooks Robinson Baltimore Orioles 3B Boyer, KenKen Boyer St. Louis Cardinals* 3B
1965 Versalles, ZoiloZoilo Versalles Minnesota Twins* SS Mays, WillieWillie Mays (2) San Francisco Giants OF
1966 Robinson, FrankFrank Robinson†§ (2) Baltimore Orioles* OF Clemente, RobertoRoberto Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates OF
1967 Yastrzemski, CarlCarl Yastrzemski Boston Red Sox* OF Cepeda, OrlandoOrlando Cepeda†§ St. Louis Cardinals* 1B
1968 McLain, DennyDenny McLain§ Detroit Tigers* RHP Gibson, BobBob Gibson St. Louis Cardinals* RHP
1969 Killebrew, HarmonHarmon Killebrew Minnesota Twins 3B McCovey, WillieWillie McCovey San Francisco Giants 1B
1970 Powell, BoogBoog Powell Baltimore Orioles* 1B Bench, JohnnyJohnny Bench Cincinnati Reds* C
1971 Blue, VidaVida Blue Oakland Athletics LHP Torre, JoeJoe Torre St. Louis Cardinals 3B
1972 Allen, DickDick Allen Chicago White Sox 1B Bench, JohnnyJohnny Bench (2) Cincinnati Reds* C
1973 Jackson, ReggieReggie Jackson†§ Oakland Athletics* OF Rose, PetePete Rose Cincinnati Reds OF
1974 Burroughs, JeffJeff Burroughs Texas Rangers OF Garvey, SteveSteve Garvey Los Angeles Dodgers* 1B
1975 Lynn, FredFred Lynn Boston Red Sox* OF Morgan, JoeJoe Morgan Cincinnati Reds* 2B
1976 Munson, ThurmanThurman Munson New York Yankees* C Morgan, JoeJoe Morgan (2) Cincinnati Reds* 2B
1977 Carew, RodRod Carew Minnesota Twins 1B Foster, GeorgeGeorge Foster Cincinnati Reds OF
1978 Rice, JimJim Rice Boston Red Sox OF Parker, DaveDave Parker Pittsburgh Pirates OF
1979 Baylor, DonDon Baylor California Angels LF/DH Hernandez, KeithKeith Hernandez St. Louis Cardinals 1B
Stargell, WillieWillie Stargell Pittsburgh Pirates* 1B
1980 Brett, GeorgeGeorge Brett Kansas City Royals* 3B Schmidt, MikeMike Schmidt†§ Philadelphia Phillies* 3B
1981 Fingers, RollieRollie Fingers Milwaukee Brewers RHP Schmidt, MikeMike Schmidt (2) Philadelphia Phillies 3B
1982 Yount, RobinRobin Yount Milwaukee Brewers* SS Murphy, DaleDale Murphy Atlanta Braves OF
1983 Ripken, Jr., CalCal Ripken, Jr. Baltimore Orioles* SS Murphy, DaleDale Murphy (2) Atlanta Braves OF
1984 Hernandez, WillieWillie Hernández Detroit Tigers* LHP Sandberg, RyneRyne Sandberg Chicago Cubs 2B
1985 Mattingly, DonDon Mattingly New York Yankees 1B McGee, WillieWillie McGee St. Louis Cardinals* OF
1986 Clemens, RogerRoger Clemens Boston Red Sox* RHP Schmidt, MikeMike Schmidt (3) Philadelphia Phillies 3B
1987 Bell, GeorgeGeorge Bell Toronto Blue Jays OF Dawson, AndreAndre Dawson Chicago Cubs OF
1988 Canseco, JoseJose Canseco§ Oakland Athletics* OF Gibson, KirkKirk Gibson Los Angeles Dodgers* OF
1989 Yount, RobinRobin Yount (2) Milwaukee Brewers OF Mitchell, KevinKevin Mitchell San Francisco Giants* OF
1990 Henderson, RickeyRickey Henderson Oakland Athletics* OF Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds Pittsburgh Pirates OF
1991 Ripken, Jr., CalCal Ripken, Jr. (2) Baltimore Orioles SS Pendleton, TerryTerry Pendleton Atlanta Braves* 3B
1992 Eckersley, DennisDennis Eckersley Oakland Athletics RHP Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds (2) Pittsburgh Pirates OF
1993 Thomas, FrankFrank Thomas†§ Chicago White Sox 1B Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds (3) San Francisco Giants OF
1994 Thomas, FrankFrank Thomas (2) Chicago White Sox 1B Bagwell, JeffJeff Bagwell†§ Houston Astros 1B
1995 Vaughn, MoMo Vaughn Boston Red Sox 1B Larkin, BarryBarry Larkin Cincinnati Reds SS
1996 Gonzalez, JuanJuan González Texas Rangers OF Caminiti, KenKen Caminiti§ San Diego Padres 3B
1997 Griffey, Jr., KenKen Griffey, Jr.†§ Seattle Mariners OF Walker, LarryLarry Walker Colorado Rockies OF
1998 Gonzalez, JuanJuan González (2) Texas Rangers OF Sosa, SammySammy Sosa Chicago Cubs OF
1999 Rodriguez, IvanIván Rodríguez Texas Rangers C Jones, ChipperChipper Jones Atlanta Braves* 3B
2000 Giambi, JasonJason Giambi Oakland Athletics 1B Kent, JeffJeff Kent San Francisco Giants 2B
2001 Suzuki, IchiroIchiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners OF Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds (4) San Francisco Giants OF
2002 Tejada, MiguelMiguel Tejada Oakland Athletics SS Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds§ (5) San Francisco Giants* OF
2003 Rodriguez, AlexAlex Rodriguez Texas Rangers SS Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds (6) San Francisco Giants OF
2004 Guerrero, VladimirVladimir Guerrero Anaheim Angels OF Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds (7) San Francisco Giants OF
2005 Rodriguez, AlexAlex Rodriguez (2) New York Yankees 3B Pujols, AlbertAlbert Pujols^ St. Louis Cardinals 1B
2006 Morneau, JustinJustin Morneau Minnesota Twins 1B Howard, RyanRyan Howard Philadelphia Phillies 1B
2007 Rodriguez, AlexAlex Rodriguez (3) New York Yankees 3B Rollins, JimmyJimmy Rollins Philadelphia Phillies SS
2008 Pedroia, DustinDustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox 2B Pujols, AlbertAlbert Pujols^ (2) St. Louis Cardinals 1B
2009 Mauer, JoeJoe Mauer Minnesota Twins C Pujols, AlbertAlbert Pujols (3) St. Louis Cardinals 1B
2010 Hamilton, JoshJosh Hamilton Texas Rangers* OF Votto, JoeyJoey Votto^ Cincinnati Reds 1B
2011 Verlander, JustinJustin Verlander^ Detroit Tigers RHP Braun, RyanRyan Braun Milwaukee Brewers OF
2012 Cabrera, MiguelMiguel Cabrera^ Detroit Tigers* 3B Posey, BusterBuster Posey^ San Francisco Giants* C
2013 Cabrera, MiguelMiguel Cabrera^ (2) Detroit Tigers 3B McCutchen, AndrewAndrew McCutchen^ Pittsburgh Pirates OF
2014 Trout, MikeMike Trout Los Angeles Angels OF Kershaw, ClaytonClayton Kershaw^ Los Angeles Dodgers LHP
2015 Donaldson, JoshJosh Donaldson^ Toronto Blue Jays 3B Harper, BryceBryce Harper Washington Nationals OF
2016 Trout, MikeMike Trout^ (2) Los Angeles Angels OF Bryant, KrisKris Bryant^ Chicago Cubs* 3B/OF
2017 Altuve, JoséJosé Altuve^ Houston Astros* 2B Stanton, GiancarloGiancarlo Stanton^ Miami Marlins OF
2018 Betts, MookieMookie Betts^ Boston Red Sox* OF Yelich, ChristianChristian Yelich^ Milwaukee Brewers OF
2019 Trout, MikeMike Trout^ (3) Los Angeles Angels OF Bellinger, CodyCody Bellinger^ Los Angeles Dodgers OF
2020 Abreu, JoséJosé Abreu^ Chicago White Sox 1B Freeman, FreddieFreddie Freeman^ Atlanta Braves 1B

Key

Year Links to the article about the corresponding Major League Baseball season
dagger Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a player
^ Denotes player who is still active
§ Unanimous selection
Player (X) Denotes winning player and number of times they had won the award at that point
* Team won League Pennant
P Pitcher (RHP indicates right-handed; LHP indicates left-handed)
C Catcher
1B First baseman
2B Second baseman
3B Third baseman
SS Shortstop
OF Outfielder
DH Designated hitter

Wins by team

Teams Awards Years
New York Yankees 22 1923, 1927, 1936, 1939, 1941–43, 1947, 1950–51, 1954–57, 1960–63, 1976, 1985, 2005, 2007
St. Louis Cardinals 20 1925-26, 1928, 1931, 1934, 1937, 1942–44, 1946, 1948, 1964, 1967–68, 1971, 1979, 1985, 2005, 2008-09
Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers 14 1913, 1924, 1941, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955–56, 1962, 1963, 1974, 1988, 2014, 2019
New York/San Francisco Giants 1912, 1933, 1936, 1954, 1965, 1969, 1989, 1993, 2000–04, 2012
Philadelphia/Oakland Athletics 13 1914, 1928, 1931–33, 1952, 1971, 1973, 1988, 1990, 1992, 2000, 2002
Boston Red Sox 12 1912, 1938, 1946, 1949, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1995, 2008, 2018
Cincinnati Reds 1938-40, 1961, 1970, 1972–1973, 1975–76, 1977, 1995, 2010
Detroit Tigers 1911, 1934–35, 1937, 1940, 1944–45, 1968, 1984, 2011–13
Chicago Cubs 11 1911, 1929, 1935, 1945, 1952, 1958–59, 1984, 1987, 1998, 2016
Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 8 1913, 1924–25, 1965, 1969, 1977, 2006, 2009
Pittsburgh Pirates 1927, 1960, 1966, 1978–79, 1990, 1992, 2013
Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves 1914, 1947, 1957, 1982–83, 1991, 1999, 2020
Philadelphia Phillies 7 1932, 1950, 1980–1981, 1986, 2006–07
Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Browns 6 1922, 1964, 1966, 1970, 1983, 1991
Texas Rangers 1974, 1996, 1998–99, 2003, 2010
Los Angeles Angels 5 1979, 2004, 2014, 2016, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers 1981-82, 1989, 2011, 2018
Chicago White Sox 1959, 1972, 1993–94, 2020
Cleveland Indians 3 1926, 1948, 1953
Houston Astros 2 1994, 2017
Seattle Mariners 1997, 2001
Toronto Blue Jays 1987, 2015
Kansas City Royals 1 1980
Miami Marlins 2017
San Diego Padres 1996
Colorado Rockies 1997
Washington Nationals 2015
Arizona Diamondbacks 0 none
New York Mets none
Tampa Bay Rays none
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