The Pittsburgh Pirates have seven MVP awards in their history, but could have a handful more looking back at previsous years one of their players was snubbed of the honors.
The modern MVP award as we know today started in 1931 when the Baseball Writers association, or BBWA, started to vote on who was the most valuable player in the American League and National League. During this time, seven NL MVP Awards have been awarded to players from the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the arrival of new-age stats, it’s easy to look back at times that players unfairly won the MVP because of factors out of their control like the record of their team, whether or not they made the playoffs, RBIs or inaccurate stats like batting average.
For every time you look back at years a player won the MVP undeservingly, each time there’s a player who lost the MVP undeservingly. That’s happened a handful of times in Pittsburgh Pirates history in both ways. They have seven MVP winners in their history, but should have a few more. So let’s point out four times a Pittsburgh Pirates player was snubbed from the NL’s Most Valuable Player award.
Before we get started, most of these are going to be examples from well before the 2000’s. In cases like this, we must look at stats like OPS+ and wRC+. These stats are adjusted for park factors and league factors. For example, hitting 25 home runs in 2019 makes you pretty middle-of-the-pack when over 60 other batters hit more than you. Hitting 25 home runs in 1946 means you’re leading the league. It’s also easier to hit in an environment like Coors Field in Denver than it is in Comerica Park in Detroit. These stats are weighed for those factors. 100 is always the league average, and one point above/below that is 1% above/below the league average.
With that out of the way, let’s get into our first MVP snub, who also might be one of the first ever big MVP snubs in baseball history.