In this week’s Metro column, I boldly made the following claim:
[Manny] Ramirez is arguably the best active player to have never received an MVP award. He’s certainly the best active player to be so consistently snubbed; of similar players, he has the fewest top-five finishes without ever finishing in the top two.
But of course, Manny is far from the only great active player to never take home the trophy, and while I was cogitating about this column, I got to talking about these players with my co-conspirators here at UmpBump. We bandied about some other names of active players who have, amazingly enough, never won an MVP: Gary Sheffield and Jim Thome lead the pack, in my mind, and you could make a case for perennially beloved also-rans Derek Jeter and David Ortiz as well.
Sure, there are fantastic younger guys who haven’t won the trophy yet. But when it comes to the David Wrights, Chase Utleys, and Hanley Ramirezes of baseball, one can say, “Hey, he’s still young.” And there are deserving players who are always a long shot to take home the hardware simply by virtue of their position; most pitchers and designated hitters suffer this fate. (I’ve included Ortiz here on my list of snubs because a) yes, I’m a Red Sox fan and this is my list, you jerks and b) he’s finished in the top 5 of the MVP balloting for the past four years running—a neat trick for any player, even more so considering the entrenched bias among many members of the BBWAA against voting for a full-time DH.)
But with the Sheffs and the Mannys and the Thomes, it’s a different story. You can’t necessarily point to a certain year and say, “This is the year he deserved to win,” but you’re still surprised to learn he’s never gotten the trophy.
Of active players, who do you think is the biggest MVP snub? Anyone going to take a stand for Todd Helton? Or Mike Piazza, still technically active? Any secret Carlos Delgado fans out there?
Who gets your vote?