Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is having an impressive season on offense this 2021, so much so that it is being one of the favorites to win the MVP of the American League competing with the Japanese Shohei Ohtani, who has easily had one of the best years in all of history as a pitcher and batter, breaking records and reaching marks not seen in a while already more than 100 years and only comparable to the best seasons of Babe Ruth and even surpassing them.
With all this, for Vladdy Jr. it might not be enough to win the Triple Crown of batting to be eligible for the Most Valuable Player award, and although it might seem that automatically leading in all three categories is enough to be the MVP, he has there have been times when this has not happened and Vladimir would not be alone.
The MVP award was introduced in 1931 in both leagues, and 7 players have won the award and the Triple Crown in the same season, being Rogers Hornsby in 1925, Jimmie Foxx in 1933, Joe Medwick in 1937, Mickey Mantle in 1956, Frank Robinson in 1966, Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 and more recently Miguel Cabrera in 2012.
The first to win the Triple Crown and not win the MVP was Chuck Klein in 1933, who led the National League in home runs (28), RBIs (120) and average (.368) for the Philadelphia Phillies. However, the MVP went to pitcher Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants, who won the World Series that year and led the league in wins (23), shutouts (10), ERA (1.66) and innings pitched. (308.2) when the Cy Young Award was not yet invented, which was inaugurated in 1956.
The second to be Triple Crown and not MVP is the legendary Yankee, Lou Gehrig, who hit 49 home runs, drove in 166 runs, and hit .363 in 1934. However, the MVP went to the Detroit Tigers, Mickey Cochrane, who in that season was the team’s manager and catcher, who won the AL pennant and finished 7 games ahead of the Yankees in the race for the right to play the World Series, with voters opting for Cochrane’s leadership than by Gherig’s numbers, who they saw as more “valuable” despite hitting just two home runs and hitting .320 with 75 RBIs.
Ted Williams – 1942 and 1947
The last to be win the Triple Crown and not be MVP is the legendary and perhaps greatest hitter of all time, Ted Williams, who did not happen to him once, but twice during his impressive career. Williams may well have won the MVP at least 7 times since he won those of the 1946 and 1949 seasons, but he was second in four seasons and third in one year and fourth in two.
Williams won the Triple Crown in the 1942 and 1947 seasons, hitting impressively, but lost them in those seasons against the Yankees Joe Gordon and Joe DiMaggio respectively. The 1947 election is infamous because Williams lost to DiMaggio 202-201 in the MVP vote, despite the fact that both seasons Ted was the best player, where in the two years the Red Sox did not advance to the playoffs, with the Yankees winning the World Series in 1947.
Another of the many injustices that Williams suffered in his career was also in the 1941 season where he became the last player to average more than .400 in a season, where he hit .406, in addition to becoming only the third player. in history to have an OPS of more than 1,200 in one season in the years 1941 and 1957, with only Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth achieving it. In those campaigns Williams was second in the MVP vote.