When winners of the 2023 Most Valuable Player awards are announced next week, the honorees will join an elite list.
Since the Baseball Writers' Association of America began selecting Most Valuable Players for the American and National Leagues in 1931, only 140 different individuals have been deemed worthy of the honor at least once.
That’s about one-quarter of one percent of the estimated 56,000 MLB player seasons since that year.
For several seasons in the 1920s, the two leagues declared a Most Valuable Player, and prior to that between 1911 and 1914 an automobile company named one. Still, that only runs the count of recognized MVP winners to 157 for all of the game’s history.
And that in turn means that some of the game’s greatest stars (many of them certified Hall of Famers) have never been recognized with an MVP award.
Here’s a look at an All-Star team of MLB greats with a total of zero MVP awards among them
It would be an easy to argument to make that if this team were ever able to take the field, it would be a virtually unstoppable force.
The only position excluded from this team is pitcher, and only because MVP voters have so consistently (especially in recent years) undervalued pitching performance in the casting of MVP votes. No pitcher has even finished among the top three in MVP voting since Clayton Kershaw won the award in 2014.
With Monday’s announcement of MVP finalists — Shohei Ohtani, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager in the AL, Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts in the NL — that trend will reach a full decade when this year’s winners are announced.
Players whose career primes occurred before the creation of the MVP (stars such as Honus Wagner) are also excluded because while they did not win an award, they certainly would have had one existed.
Here’s the team.