Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun made Milwaukee baseball history by becoming the first player from the city to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award since Henry Aaron in 1957 did it with the Milwaukee Braves.
The city has had two other league most valuable players between 1957 and 2011. Relief pitcher Rollie Fingers won it in 1981 and shortstop/outfielder Robin Yount in 1982 and 1989. They won their awards when the Brewers played in the American League.
Before the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966 they played in Milwaukee for 13 years. Aaron made baseball history in 1957 by becoming the first, and last, Milwaukee Brave to win the MVP award. And what a year he had.
Aaron was 23 and in his fourth year as an outfielder with the Braves. He was coming off of an All-Star 1956 season in which he led the National League in hits (200) and batting average (.328). The Braves had put together a very good team in ’57 led by Aaron, third baseman Eddie Matthews and pitchers Lew Burdette and Warren Spahn. This group would go on to make baseball history by winning back to back pennants in 1957 and ’58.
Aaron would win the MVP in ’57 by leading the league in home runs (44), runs batted in (132), runs scored (118) and total bases (369). He finished the season batting .322 with 27 doubles and six triples. His biggest hit of the season came on September 23.
That night, Aaron came up with a man on, two outs and the Braves trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eleventh against the St. Louis Cardinals. He hit a two run homer off of Billy Muffett to win the game and clinch the pennant for the Braves.
Aaron was not done making baseball history when the regular season was over. His .393 World Series batting average in the World Series against the New York Yankees was tops among everyone. Aaron also hit three home runs and drove in seven. It took a great pitching performance by Burdette to keep Aaron from winning the Series MVP as Milwaukee won it in seven games.
Aaron beat out Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial to win the MVP. It would be the only one he would win in a 23 year career.
And the last time in baseball history that a Milwaukee National Leaguer would win until Ryan Braun in 2011.