Andre Dawson vs Ozzie Smith: The battle for the 1987 NL MVP

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 08: Former MLB stars Ozzie Smith (left) and Andre Dawson (right) and USA Softball’s Gold Medalist hurler Jennie Finch attend the 2012 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 8, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 08: Former MLB stars Ozzie Smith (left) and Andre Dawson (right) and USA Softball’s Gold Medalist hurler Jennie Finch attend the 2012 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 8, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The battle for the 1987 NL MVP

Head to Head

When Andre Dawson and Ozzie Smith are put side by side and their stats are compared, the tale of the tape reveals two top players who are good for their teams for entirely different reasons.

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Dawson was expected to hit mammoth home runs, he did with 49. He was expected to drive in runs, he did with 137. Dawson scored 90 runs in 1987 more than half the time he drove himself. Earlier in his career, he stole a lot of bases (253 in his years in Montreal) though now he was more of a power hitter than a speed threat (the concrete surface he played on in Olympic Stadium aided in this). Dawson walked just 32 times as well that year.

Smith was expected to get on base and wreak havoc, he did with 182 hits and 89 walks, propelling his 43 stolen bases. Smith drove in 75 runs from the number two slot in the batting order (thank you Vince Coleman), and scored 104 runs while not hitting himself in once. He finished with zero home runs.

The Most Valuable Player Award is an award given to the league’s best player, not the best player on the best team. Andre Dawson was the best player in the league and deserving of the 1987 NL MVP award.

Individually he put up tremendous numbers compared to his rivals. He was the winner of the award and deservedly so. He showed what he meant to his team. The Cubs wouldn’t have won 60 games without him in the lineup.

Had the Cardinals been without Ozzie Smith, they could have fallen back on Jack Clark, who finished 7 points behind Smith in the 1987 MVP voting. Smith was a very nice supplemental piece to a well-oiled machine. Had he been removed, some patchwork could have been done to keep the machine running. His numbers were not worthy of the MVP award in 1987.

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Both Dawson and Smith went on to Hall of Fame careers and their talents, though different, were incredibly valuable to the game of baseball.