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…And Then There's Bonds
2004-11-16 01:44
by Mike Carminati

Barry Bonds won his record seventh MVP award today garnering 24 of the 32 first place votes. That's not the amazing part. The amazing part is that not only did eight dolts not put Bonds first but one even had him third on the ballot. Then again, these are baseball writers after all. Hey, after a correct, unanimous selection of Johan Santana in the AL Cy Young, I won't be surprised if David Ortiz gets the AL MVP as a means of compensation.

But back to Bonds: Not only does he have four more MVPs than the next guy, those "next guys" are Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Roy Campanella, Stan Musial, and Yogi Berra. Bonds simply has dominated MVP voting like no other player ever has.

Here are the top vote getters in the Bonds era (1986 to 2004):

NamePtsMax Pts% of Max1st Place% 1st# YrsMVPs
Barry Bonds3753610461.48%19544.72%157
Frank Thomas1704352848.30%6325.00%92
Mike Piazza1293375234.46%93.36%90
Ken Griffey Jr.1254352835.54%3513.89%91
Alex Rodriguez1238274445.12%2512.76%71
Jeff Bagwell1197408829.28%3210.96%101
Sammy Sosa1088386428.16%3211.59%91
Juan Gonzalez1079274439.32%3216.33%72
Kirby Puckett998313631.82%31.34%80
Albert Belle933235239.67%137.74%60
Chipper Jones896386423.19%2910.51%91
Jason Giambi845196043.11%2316.43%51
Roger Clemens864358424.11%228.59%91
Albert Pujols1048179258.48%43.13%40
Mark McGwire800403219.84%31.04%100
Matt Williams748156847.70%21.79%40
Roberto Alomar746274427.19%115.61%70
Dennis Eckersley690156844.01%1916.96%41
Manny Ramirez669274424.38%52.55%70
George Bell665156842.41%2017.86%41
Jeff Kent683263225.95%2211.70%61
Cecil Fielder656156841.84%1916.96%40

But Bonds has been on the ballot in "just" fifteen of the nineteen seasons in his career. Here are the men who have been 15 MVP ballots:

#NamePtsMax Pts% of Max1st Place% 1stMVPs
19Hank Aaron1722588029.29%143.33%1
18Stan Musial2338599239.02%6916.12%3
18Ted Williams2159604835.70%4811.11%2
15Pete Rose1171481624.31%205.81%1
15Yogi Berra1338498426.85%236.46%3
15Frank Robinson1395464830.01%4112.35%2
15Warren Spahn798487216.38%30.86%0
15Willie Mays1861459240.53%3610.98%2
15Barry Bonds3753610461.48%19544.72%7

Here are the players all time who received the highest percentage of first place votes available:

#NamePtsMax Pts% of Max1st Place% 1stMVPs
1Ken Caminiti392392100.00%28100.00%1
1Jim Konstanty28633685.12%1875.00%1
1Willie McGee28033683.33%1458.33%1
1Willie Hernandez30639278.06%1657.14%1
3Babe Ruth13022458.04%850.00%1
2Zoilo Versalles28356050.54%1947.50%1
15Barry Bonds3753610461.48%19544.72%7
4Ty Cobb9125635.55%843.75%1
1Joe Black20833661.90%833.33%0
3Denny McLain37789642.08%2031.25%1
7Joe Morgan1021229644.47%4628.05%2

And the ones with the highest percentage of the maximum points available:

#NamePtsMax Pts% of Max1st Place% 1stMVPs
1Ken Caminiti392392100.00%28100.00%1
1Bob O'Farrell798098.75%NANA1
1George Sisler596492.19%NANA1
1Jim Konstanty28633685.12%1875.00%1
1Willie McGee28033683.33%1458.33%1
1Willie Hernandez30639278.06%1657.14%1
1Joe Black20833661.90%833.33%0
1Mike Greenwell24239261.73%00.00%0
15Barry Bonds3753610461.48%19544.72%7
4Chuck Klein19632061.25%626.25%1
4Albert Pujols1048179258.48%43.13%0
3Babe Ruth13022458.04%850.00%1
5Dizzy Dean22440056.00%621.00%1
6Rogers Hornsby26648055.42%38.75%2
1Al Cowens21739255.36%414.29%0
7Eddie Collins24744855.13%721.88%1
2Freddie Lindstrom8716054.38%NANA0
3Dazzy Vance12924053.75%NANA1
4Hal Newhouser717134453.35%1919.79%2
1Bill James336451.56%NANA0
2Ed Walsh6512850.78%00.00%0
2Zoilo Versalles28356050.54%1947.50%1
3Terry Pendleton507100850.30%1622.22%1
10Jimmie Foxx780155250.26%2926.16%3
2Joe Page33367249.55%1020.83%0
1Jorge Posada19439249.49%517.86%0

However, remember that these numbers reflect just those seasons in which the players received MVP votes. Ken Caminiti played 15 major-league seasons, but received MVP votes in just one, 1996, the year he won the NL award. Even though Bonds has won 7 MVP awards and has appeared on 15 ballots but had four seasons in which he received no votes. They were his first four, 1986-89.

So, here are the players that made the MVP ballot the highest percentage of times in their career (Given that there was an MVP vote in the league in the given year). (Also keep in mind that there had been rules in the past that voters could not pick more than one player per team and that previous winners were ineligible.)

NameTot Yrs# Yrs%Yr
George McBride44100.00%
Christy Mathewson44100.00%
Joe Jackson44100.00%
Jack Barry44100.00%
Otto Knabe33100.00%
Sam Crawford44100.00%
Albert Pujols44100.00%
Ichiro Suzuki33100.00%
Ted Williams191894.74%
Joe DiMaggio131292.31%
Hank Aaron231982.61%
Chipper Jones11981.82%
Stan Musial221881.82%
Pee Wee Reese161381.25%
Jake Daubert5480.00%
Frank Baker5480.00%
Clyde Milan5480.00%
Jackie Robinson10880.00%
Yogi Berra191578.95%
Barry Bonds191578.95%
Harry Heilmann9777.78%
Mickey Mantle181477.78%
Jimmy Archer4375.00%
Vladimir Guerrero8675.00%
Chief Meyers4375.00%
Bill Sweeney4375.00%
Larry Doyle4375.00%
Honus Wagner4375.00%
Kirby Puckett12975.00%

Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera, Jeff Bagwell, and Mike Piazza just fell off the list by not receiving votes this year.

Now, here are the only players who received at least 25% of the maximum vote possible during their entire careers:

NameTot Yrs# Yrs%YrLg PtsPts%Pts1st Lg1st
Albert Pujols44100.00%1792104858.48%1284
Barry Bonds191577.78%7448375350.39%500171
Joe Jackson44100.00%25610239.84%150
Joe DiMaggio131292.31%3856150739.08%26742
Eddie Collins11763.64%70424735.09%317
Ted Williams191894.74%6384215933.82%45348
Stan Musial221881.82%7168233832.62%50569
Mickey Mantle181477.78%5600181832.46%40064
Alex Rodriguez10770.00%3920123831.58%28025
Frank Thomas14964.29%5488170431.05%39263
Honus Wagner4375.00%2567730.08%0
Larry Doyle4375.00%2567629.69%00
Mike Schmidt181266.67%6048166827.58%42961
Willie Mays221568.18%6888186127.02%48736
Hank Greenberg12866.67%275273926.85%18926
Lou Gehrig151173.33%161642626.36%917
Ichiro Suzuki33100.00%117630525.94%8411
Bill James2150.00%1283325.78%0
Ed Walsh4250.00%2566525.39%150
Walter Johnson10660.00%64016225.31%310
Roy Campanella10770.00%336085025.30%24036

By the way, Piazza dropped off the list after the 2004 ballot.

So it's Pujols and Bonds and nada mas. They're the only two over 50%. Bonds has done it remarkably over a 19-year career. It's too early to compare Pujols with him, but he has been more successful in his first four years than Bonds was, so that's an encouraging sign for him.

I cannot run an all-time comparison for first-place votes because the data are not available for many early elections. I will endeavor to resolve that deductively from the data available though.

The final result is an even more stunning picture of Bonds as a player. I think that he has been the most dominant MVP candidate in the award's history. I guess that's no real stretch when the man's won seven trophies, but I'm daring enough to proclaim it.

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