Countdown To Spring Training: 4

We’re now in the homestretch and you can count the number of days until the official start of Spring Training on one hand. Hooray! And we’ve reached a pretty special number in Yankee history and it was worn by one of the most talked about baseball players in the history of the game, who unfortunately was taken far too soon.

Today’s subject, Henry Louis Gehrig was a tremendous ballplayer and athlete. His career line was .340/.447/.632/1.080 in 17 seasons – a tremendous career tragically cut short by a terminal illness that stole his life at the age of 37.

While researching for this post – truthfully I wasn’t what I was going to write about –  I took a look at his Baseball Reference page. As I was marveling at his individual season numbers, I noticed he finished 5th in MVP voting in 1934. Something didn’t compute because his numbers were so good that year.

So I looked at the voting results and still didn’t understand what I was seeing:

Voting Results Batting Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts Share WAR G HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Mickey Cochrane DET 67.0 84% 3.7 129 2 76 .320 .428 .412 .840
2 Charlie Gehringer DET 65.0 81% 8.1 154 11 127 .356 .450 .517 .967
3 Lefty Gomez NYY 60.0 75% 7.4 38 0 4 .131 .189 .141 .330
4 Schoolboy Rowe DET 59.0 74% 6.6 51 2 22 .303 .339 .450 .789
5 Lou Gehrig NYY 54.0 68% 10.1 154 49 165 .363 .465 .706 1.172
6 Hank Greenberg DET 29.0 36% 5.8 153 26 139 .339 .404 .600 1.005
7 Hal Trosky CLE 18.0 22% 5.2 154 35 142 .330 .388 .598 .987
8 Wes Ferrell BOS 16.0 20% 4.7 34 4 17 .282 .341 .487 .828
9 Marv Owen DET 13.0 16% 3.0 154 8 96 .317 .385 .451 .837
10 Jimmie Foxx PHA 11.0 14% 8.6 150 44 130 .334 .449 .653 1.102
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/8/2013.

Do you see what I’m talking about? Gehrig was pretty much head and shoulders above the competition, finished behind guys who weren’t nearly as valuable as he was that season and he even finished with the triple crown.

Now, I can kind of understand why he didn’t win the award. The winner, Mickey Cochrane, was on the team that won the AL Pennant but I’m still perplexed about the fifth place finish for Gehrig. That’s a little nutty to me. It seems baseball writers were pulling this sort of nonsense from the get-go.

But don’t feel too badly for Gehrig, he did manage to win two MVP awards. He earned one while he was a member of 1927’s Murderer’s Row team. You know them, they’re the ones every strong lineup is compared to before they even set foot onto the grass to play a game. Gehrig also nabbed the MVP award in 1936 and finished in the top 5 six times in his career.

About Stacey Gotsulias

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money and co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast.

3 thoughts on “Countdown To Spring Training: 4

  1. Interesting vote. The top 5 guys were fairly close. 3 were on Detroit, two on the Yankees.

    So maybe Cochrane won it in a split vote with Gehringerv and Rowe–Cochrane also managed that team, maybe that gave him a few extra vote–for first and second. And then Gomez split the third-place vote with Gehrig. Gomez’s season was fantastic. He led the league in wins, winning percentage, ERA, K’s, complete games, inning pitched, ERA+, WHIP, and H/9.

  2. How about the 1928 MVP race? Even more confusing. Ruth and Gehrig both did not receive a vote(!) and they finished 1-2 in OBP, Slugging, OPS, WAR, Runs, HR, & RBI.

  3. in 1928 i believe the rule was on the books that u couldnt win 2 mvp’s. ruth and gehrig had already each won. the rule was changed a year or two later