Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday
There has been quite a bit of talk and discussion among baseball experts and analysts about the possibility of Detroit’s Justin Verlander winning the American League Most Valuable Player. The Tigers pitcher has a record of 22-5 and an ERA of 2.56 to go with 232 strikeouts as of Sept. 10 for the division-leading Tigers. Whether or not you believe he deserves the honor or if pitchers should even be considered for the honor, past history has shown that the voters have been less than enthusiastic to name a pitcher the MVP.
In the history of the MVP award, 23 pitchers have won the MVP honor; 10 in the National League, 13 in the American League. The last pitcher to win an MVP was Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Bob Gibson is the last NL pitcher to win the MVP; he won the award in 1968.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION. Can you name the last NL pitcher to finish in the top 5 for the MVP award? Hint: It was an Atlanta Braves pitcher in the ’90s. Answer at end of blog.
Following is a look at the pitchers this century who have finished in the Top 10 of the MVP voting. As you will see, only one pitcher, Pedro Martinez in 2000, has finished in the top 5 in the past 11 seasons.
Year, pitcher, finish in MVP voting
2010: Roy Halladay-Philadelphia (6th)
2008: Francisco Rodriquez-LA Angels (6th); CC Sabathia-Milwaukee (6th); Brad Lidge-Houston (8th)
2007: Jake Peavy-San Diego (7th)
2006: Johan Santana-Minnesota (7th); Trevor Hoffman-San Diego (10th)
2005: Mariano Rivera-NY Yankees (9th); Chris Carpenter-St. Louis (8th)
2004: Johan Santana-Minnesota (6th); Mariano Rivera-NY Yankees (9th); Roger Clemens-Houston (8th)
2003: Eric Gane-LA Dodgers (6th); Mark Prior-Chicago Cubs (9th)
2002: Randy Johnson-Arizona (7th); John Smoltz-Atlanta (8th); Curt Schilling-Arizona (10th)
2001: Roger Clemens-NY Yankees (8th); Curt Schilling-Arizona (10th)
2000: Pedro Martinez-Boston (5th)
TRIVIA ANSWER: Greg Maddux was the last NL pitcher to finish in the top 5 in the MVP voting. Maddux had a 19-2 record with a 1.63 ERA in 1995.