Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: Derek Jeter, the never MVP

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) adjusts his cap and greets the crowd before a New York Yankees game. He has only a few more remaining.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) adjusts his cap and greets the crowd before a New York Yankees game. He has only a few more remaining. AP

Derek Jeter’s days as a New York Yankees player are numbered. He’ll leave as one of the most iconic players ever on baseball’s most iconic team. Yet he’ll also leave the game without ever being chosen as the American League’s most valuable player.

Jeter has played 20 seasons, amassed nearly 3,500 hits and been in too many postseasons to count. But never an MVP; his best finish was second in 2006.

It got me to thinking about how many other great players – in this case Hall of Famers – were never MVPs. And it’s a long list with some other surprising names. Here it is with the player’s highest finish in the MVP voting. The MVP, by the way, has been awarded since 1911.

Roberto Alomar, third in 1999, Cleveland Indians

Luis Aparicio, second in 1959, Chicago White Sox

Richie Ashburn, seventh in 1951 and 1958, Philadelphia Phillies

Earl Averill, third in 1936, Cleveland Indians

Home Run Baker, third in 1914, Philadelphia A’s

Dave Bancroft, sixth in 1925, Boston Braves

Wade Boggs, second in 1993, Boston Red Sox

Roger Bresnahan, 11th in 1914, Chicago Cubs

Lou Brock, second in 1974, St. Louis Cardinals

Max Carey, 11th in 1925, Pittsburgh Pirates

Gary Carter, second in 1980, Montreal Expos

Earle Combs, sixth in 1928, New York Yankees

Sam Crawford, second in 1933, Washington Senators

Kiki Cuyler, second in 1925, Pittsburgh Pirates

Bill Dickey, second in 1938, New York Yankees

Larry Doby, second in 1954, Cleveland Indians

Bobby Doerr, third in 1946, Boston Red Sox

Rick Farrell, 12th in 1933, St. Louis Browns

Carlton Fisk, third in 1983, Chicago White Sox

Goose Goslin, sixth in 1927-1928, Washington Senators

Tony Gwynn, third in 1984, San Diego Padres

Chick Hafey, fifth in 1931, St. Louis Cardinals

Harry Heilman, second in 1927, Detroit Tigers

Billy Herman, third in 1936, Chicago Cubs

Harry Hooper, 20th in 1914, Boston Red Sox

Monte Irvin, third in 1951, New York Giants

Shoeless Joe Jackson, second in 1913, Cleveland Indians

Travis Jackson, fourth in 1934, New York Giants

Al Kaline, second in 1955 and 1963, Detroit Tigers

High Pockets Kelly, third in 1925, New York Giants

George Kell, fourth in 1950, Detroit Tigers

Ralph Kiner, fourth in 1949, Pittsburgh Pirates

Nap Lajoie, 11th in 1913, Cleveland Indians (38 years old)

Tony Lazzeri, third in 1928, New York Yankees

Freddie Lindstrom, second in 1928, New York Giants

Rabbit Maranville, second in 1914, Boston Braves

Eddie Mathews, second in 1953 and 1959, Milwaukee Braves

Bill Mazeroski, eighth in 1958, Pittsburgh Pirates

Johnny Mize, second in 1939, 1940, St. Louis Cardinals

Paul Molitor, second in 1993, Toronto Blue Jays

Lefty O’Doul, second in 1929, Philadelphia Phillies

Mel Ott, third in 1942, New York Giants

Tony Perez, third in 1970, Cincinnati Reds

Kirby Puckett, second in 1992, Minnesota Twins

Pee Wee Reese, fifth in 1949, Los Angeles Dodgers

Edd Roush, 10th in 1924-25, Cincinnati Reds

Ray Schalk, third in 1922, Chicago White Sox

Red Schoendienst, third in 1957, Milwaukee Braves

Joe Sewell, third in 1925, Cleveland Indians

Ron Santo, fourth in 1967, Chicago Cubs

Al Simmons, second in 1925, Philadelphia A’s

Enos Slaughter, second in 1942, St. Louis Cardinals

Ozzie Smith, second in 1987, St. Louis Cardinals

Duke Snider, second in 1955, Brooklyn Dodgers

Bill Terry, third in 1929, 1931, New York Giants

Joe Tinker, fourth in 1912, Chicago Cubs

Pie Traynor, sixth in 1928, Pittsburgh Pirates

Arky Vaughan, third in 1935 and 1938, Pittsburgh Pirates

Honus Wagner, second in 1912, Pittsburgh Pirates (38 years old)

Zach Wheat, third in 1924, Brooklyn Dodgers

Billy Williams, second in 1970 and 1972, Chicago Cubs

Hack Wilson, fifth in 1926, Chicago Cubs

Dave Winfield, third in 1979, San Diego Padres

Ross Youngs, fifth in 1924, New York Giants

Players with 500 or more home runs never to win an MVP award

Jim Thome, 612

Mark McGwire, 583

Rafael Palmeiro, 569

Manny Ramirez, 555

Eddie Mathews, 512

Mel Ott, 511

Gary Sheffield, 509

Players with 3,000 or more hits never to win an MVP award

Derek Jeter, 3,461

Cap Anson, 3,435 (career ended before first MVP award)

Honus Wagner, 3,420 (career was at its end when MVP award was first given)

Paul Molitor, 3,319

Nap Lajoie, 3,243 (career was near its end when MVP award was first given)

Tony Gwynn, 3,141

Dave Winfield, 3,110

Craig Biggio, 3,060

Lou Brock, 3,023

Rafael Palmeiro, 3,020

Wade Boggs, 3,010

Al Kaline, 3,007