On December 3, 2008, I wrote an article on which baseball players that won back-to-back Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards. In 2008, Albert Pujols won the National League MVP. He also won in 2009, making him the third first baseman to win back-to-back MVP awards. As I wrote in my original article, this quiz, naming the players, by position, that won back-to-back MVPs have made me some money, gotten me some free drinks, or at least given me some recognition. Also, as I wrote in my original article, there is at least one player at each position that won their league’s MVP at least two years in a row. Now, there are three, not two, first baseman that have won their league’s MVP back-to-back.
Again, a quick note: The MVP award was established in 1931, when the Baseball Writers Association of America began electing Most Valuable Players for both leagues. Thus, players such as Ruth, Cobb, Hornsby, Johnson, and others who played all their years, or their best years, prior to 1931 never received the current version of the MVP.
I’ll list the player(s) for each position using the nine fielding positions used on scorecards to record outs.
Hal Newhouser ‘” Detroit Tigers – MVP 1944 and 1945.
Newhouser is the most difficult to identify of all the positions (based on my experience). Identify Newhouser, and your baseball expertise quotient among your friends will skyrocket!
Yogi Berra ‘” New York Yankees ‘” 1955 and 1956.
Some may guess that Roy Campanella of the Brooklyn Dodgers won back-to-back MVPs, but this is not so. Campanella won MVPs in every other year, in odd years (1951, 1953 and 1955). Another baseball trivia question?
3. First Base
Albert Pujlos ‘” St. Louis Cardinals ‘” 1908 and 1909.
Jimmie Foxx ‘” Philadelphia Athletics ‘” 1932 and 1933.
Frank Thomas ‘” Chicago White Sox ‘” 1993 and 1994.
I originally wrote that the first base position was one of only two positions that can boast two players with back-to-back MVP seasons. Now the position can boast the most players. Mention Pujlos, Foxx, and Thomas, and you are correct. Identify “modern” players, Pujlos and Thomas, and ask for extra points (or dollars, or drinks, or at the least, more respect as a baseball expert!). Identify all three, and you ARE a baseball expert. The all but forgotten Foxx is the more difficult of the three answers.
4. Second Base
Joe Morgan ‘” Cincinnati Reds ‘” 1975 and 1976.
5. Third Base
Mike Schmidt ‘” Philadelphia Phillies ‘” 1980 and 1981.
Ernie Banks ‘” Chicago Cubs ‘” 1958 and 1959.
7. Left Field
Barry Bonds ‘” Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants ‘” 1992 and 1993, and 2001-2004.
The only player to win back-to-back (and back-to-back-to-back-to-back!) MVP awards. Bonds are also the only player to win back-to-back MVPs with two different teams (1992 Pittsburgh, 1993 San Francisco). Bonds also has more than twice as many MVPs in his pocket (7) then any other player. Eight players have three MVPs.
8. Center Field
Mickey Mantle ‘” New York Yankees ‘” 1956 and 1957.
Dale Murphy ‘” Atlanta Braves 1982 and 1983
The other position to have two back-to-back MVP winners (not any more). This isn’t surprising, since the center field position is probably the most glamorous in baseball.
Mantle is the easy answer. Some might also cite Joe DiMaggio, but Joltin’ Joe won his three MVPs in 1939, 1941 and 1947 (another example of odd years being lucky for a player). Some may also believe that Willie Mays won the award two years in a row. Willie did won two awards, but in 1954 and 1965. Offhand, I believe this is the longest period between MVP award wins. Anyway, Willie should have won more than two.
9. Right Field
Roger Maris ‘” New York Yankees ‘” 1960 and 1961.
I originally wrote there are 11 back-to-back MVP award winners, by position. Now there are 12.
Of the back-to-back MVPs winners, Thomas, Bonds, Murphy and Maris are not in the Hall of Fame. Since Puljos is a current player, he, of course, is not in the Hall of Fame. Yet. Also, when I wrote the article in 2008, I pointed out that Thomas is the only player still active, and therefore not eligible for the Hall. His injuries, resulting in lost seasons, may keep him from being a first ballot Hall of Famer. Thomas is now retired. Bonds, not yet eligible for the Hall, may not make it there due to his problems with the BALCO steroids scandal. Murphy and Maris did not have enough great years to rate any serious Hall of Fame consideration, although there are many fans that believe Maris should be a member.
This is Pujlos’ third MVP. He also won the award in 2005.
MLB Awards ‘” MVP ‘”Major League Baseball – ESPN