Welcome to the first installment of Award Discussions, a closer look at some of the more interesting individual award races in MLB history. First, let’s examine two Hall-of-Famers who put up these monster numbers one magical season in the ’40s.
So who’s your MVP? Player X… the second baseman who swiped a MLB-best 37 bags, hit .342, and successfully sacrificed himself 17 times (both tops in the NL)? Or Player Y… the outfielder who led the Majors in games played, hits, doubles, and total bases, paced the NL in on-base percentage, and recorded an incredible 1.062 OPS?
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The actual results of the 1949 NL MVP balloting can be found here.
The following is a detailed look at the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player voting:
When Ryan Braun was notified of the NL MVP results, he immediately proceeded to call his mother, his agent, and then Green Bay Packers quarterback and fellow Cali-native Aaron Rodgers, who Braun calls his “best athlete friend.” His message to the leader of the 11-0 Packers was clear: your turn. Rodgers, forever a Wisconsin legend thanks to his Super Bowl XLV MVP performance, has the inside track for the MVP award this season and was happy for his pal. “I’m proud of him,” Rodgers said in an ESPN interview, “he had an incredible season.” Rodgers was also thankful to play in front of the best fans around. “It’s fun to know that he’s going to be in Milwaukee for a long time,” he said. “I’m hopefully going to be here for a long time, and we appreciate the opportunity to play in Wisconsin for sports teams and their fans who really care about their players.” Braun may now have the award, but Rodgers has the title – something Braun craves. “[Rodgers has] accomplished far more in his sport than I have in mine,” stated Braun, “it inspires me to try to get better and ultimately to win a championship of my own for the Milwaukee Brewers.” One day, Milwaukee. One day.
The landscape of baseball is dramatically changing. The Astros are moving to the AL in 2013 to make it an even fifteen clubs in each league. There will be an extra playoff team in each league as well, starting as soon as next season. In the new format, two wildcard teams will battle each other in a one-game playoff for the chance to play the number one seed. This puts even more emphasis on winning your division, something which the AL East has become less and less concerned with. Finally, three teams have undergone drastic changes in their logos and uniforms. Check it out:
First off, the newly branded Miami Marlins. The logo on the left is of the classic Florida Marlins, the one on the right is for 2012 and beyond.
Second comes the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays have gone through several logo changes over the past few decades, including three different logos in three years. Toronto’s new logo, on the far right, is an homage back to the franchise’s first bird.
Finally we have the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s have undergone numerous logo changes since the franchise moved to Maryland in 1954. The ornithological bird from 1998 was updated to be more stout, majestic, and modern in 2008. Now, much like Toronto, they are reverting back to their old days and going back to the ‘cartoon bird.’ The 2012 logo is a mix of two previous designs…
Baseball is surely changing, but you’ve gotta believe that it’s for the better. In Bud We Trust, right? He’s a UW-Madison grad, so he’s cool in my book. Oh and in case you haven’t heard, RYAN BRAUN was named the 2011 NL MVP.
Milwaukee once again has a Most Valuable Player. Ryan Braun received 20 first-place votes to Matt Kemp’s 10 to earn National League MVP honors Tuesday afternoon, becoming the first Brewer to win the award since Robin Yount in 1989. The announcement caps an incredible year for baseball fans in Wisconsin. The Brewers won their first division title in 29 years, set a franchise-record with 96 wins, walked-off to the NLCS in dramatic fashion, and now can say they boast the MVP. Kemp put up some ridiculous numbers, but Braun deserved the award. He led the league in slugging (.597) and OPS (.994), finished second in batting (.332), became only the second Brewer ever to have a 30-30 season (33 homers, 33 steals), plus he drove in 111 runs, scored 109, was an All-Star for the fourth consecutive year, and won his fourth straight Silver Slugger. Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder finished third in the balloting. Thank goodness Milwaukee has Ryan Braun inked through 2020, because there isn’t a cooler, classier, or more clutch player in all the land.
No, that’s not a typo. The Milwaukee Brewers clinched their first division title in 29 years today when they defeated the Marlins 4-1 and the Cubs topped St. Louis 5-1. In an eerily similar scene to 2008, Ryan Braun crushed what turned out to be a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth with chants of “MVP” coming from the stands. It was an electric atmosphere in Miller Park with the players anxiously watching the Cubs-Cards game on the big screen right along with fans. What a moment for a squad built from the ground up. Teammates Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo and Prince Fielder have experienced all of the ups and downs together over the years. There is not a fan base or group of players around that deserve a division title more. John Axford locked it down in the ninth to tie a franchise record with 44 saves. With a spectacular full-extension diving catch turned double play and a super clutch three-run bomb, Ryan Braun all but locked up the National League MVP award in my opinion. There’s not much more to be said about the Brewers that hasn’t been said already; and with that, Milwaukee fans can look forward to next Saturday when the NLDS begins. Go Brewers!!! 11 wins away from a World Series title…
With a 3-for-4 performance in Milwaukee’s 8-1 win over the Reds, Ryan Braun overtook Adrian Gonzalez for the highest batting average in all of baseball. Braunie is currently hitting .336, slightly ahead of Adrian’s .333. The victory shrunk Milwaukee’s Magic Number to four. The Cardinals play tonight, so stay tuned because we may be sitting at three when you awake tomorrow morning.
Ryan Braun solidified his case for NL MVP (if he hadn’t already) with a two home run performance during a Friday night win in Cincinnati. The two blasts made Braun the second Brewer to accumulate 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season, the first being Tommy Harper in 1970. “I’m really proud,” said Braun. “There’s a reason it’s only been done one other time in franchise history. It’s a hard thing to do.” The Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3, eliminating them from playoff contention, while the Brewers shrunk their Magic Number to 7.
Oh yeah, Wolf got the win to improve to 13-9, Prince went deep for his 33rd, Kotsay and Kottaras also went yard, and Axford picked up his 43rd save (40th in a row).
Here are Braun’s numbers and National League rank in each category.
AVG: .330 (2nd)
OBP: .396 (4th)
SLG: .590 (1st)
OPS: .986 (1st)
HR: 30 (T-8th)
RBI: 99 (5th)
R: 100 (T-1st)
SB: 31 (T-7th)
Today the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 at Busch Stadium to increase their division lead to a season-high 10 1/2 games (with 20 remaining). Ryan Braun continued to improve on his dynamic numbers, furthering his case for the National League Most Valuable Player.
Here are Ryan Braun’s stats along with his rank in the National League. I personally believe that the best numerical way to evaluate a player is OPS, in which Braun ranks first in the NL and second in all of baseball (Jose Bautista).
On-base Plus Slugging (OPS): .999 (1st)
On-base Percentage (OBP): .404 (3rd)
Slugging Percentage (SLG): .595 (1st)
Batting Average (AVG): .335 (1st)
Home Runs (HR): 27 (T-10th)
Runs Batted In (RBI): 95 (5th)
Runs (R): 96 (1st)
Stolen Bases (SB): 31 (7th)
Hits (H): 163 (4th)
The New York Yankees became the first team in Major League Baseball history to hit three grand slams in a single game as they took the Oakland Athletics to the woodshed in a 22-9 romp. Robinson Cano started the onslaught with a slam in the fifth. Russell Martin followed with a grand salami of his own the next inning. Finally, Curtis Granderson padded his AL MVP resume with a bases loaded bomb in the eighth. Granderson’s five runs batted in gave him a season total of 103 — the most in all of baseball. His grand slam was his 36th long ball of the year, one shy of Toronto’s Jose Bautista for the Major League lead. The slick center fielder also boasts 20 doubles, 10 triples, and 24 stolen bases; he also has a monstrous lead in runs scored (119), with the next closest competitor, Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury, trailing by a whopping 26 runs (93).
While Milwaukee’s fearsome duo of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder battle it out for the NL MVP, Granderson seems to be the AL favorite — but Ellsbury, Bautista, and Adrian Gonzalez all have legitimate shots as well.
The 30-30 club is nothing to scoff at. It’s an elite grouping of players who possess the talent to both bash the ball over the bleachers as well as swipe steals with blazing speed. The 30-30 club has seen its members increase over time, and 34 players have reached the plateau for a total of 54 magical seasons. Since 2000, there have been sixteen 30-30 seasons, however no one accomplished the feat last year. Smacking 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases in the same season is something that no Milwaukee Brewer has done since 1970 — when Tommy Harper hit 31 homers to go along with 38 stolen bases. Seven years before Harper, Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves crushed 44 homers while stealing 31 bags. Yet that’s where the story ends for the city of Milwaukee. 2011 promises to be different. Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun is looking to become the second Brewer to complete the statistical sensation. Braun currently has 24 home runs and 28 stolen bases and is on pace for 31-35.
Here are the players who have a chance of joining the 30-30 club this season:
Ryan Braun, LF, Brewers: 24 HR, 28 SB
Matt Kemp, CF, Dodgers: 29 HR, 33 SB
Curtis Granderson, CF, Yankees: 35 HR, 24 SB
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Red Sox: 22 HR, 34 SB
Justin Upton, RF, Diamondbacks: 25 HR, 19 SB
Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers: 21 HR, 21 SB