Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: For Cardinals, it’s the team that counts

Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright suffered a torn Achilles tendon in April but has returned to the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen, where he’ll be used in the National League playoffs.
Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright suffered a torn Achilles tendon in April but has returned to the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen, where he’ll be used in the National League playoffs. UPI

The St. Louis Cardinals have reached 100 wins, clinched the National League Central championship and are going to the postseason for the 12th time in 16 years.

And they’re likely to accomplish all of that without a single strong candidate for Most Valuable Player, the Cy Young Award or Rookie of the Year.

In fact, it’ll be a surprise if St. Louis has a top three vote-getter in any of those categories.

The Cardinals’ MVP has been either third baseman Matt Carpenter (.271, 28 homers, 84 RBI) or right fielder Jason Heyward (.292, 13, 60). It’s doubtful either of those players gets into the top three in the NL MVP voting.

St. Louis’ best pitcher is 36-year-old John Lackey (13-9, 2.69) but he’s not going to unseat Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw in the Cy Young Award voting.

Outfielder Randal Grichuk (.276, 17, 47) appeared headed for contention in the Rookie of the Year balloting until an elbow injury slowed him late in the season. He hasn’t gotten the number of plate appearances he would need to finish in the top three.

Some of the Cardinals’ best candidates for postseason awards have missed much of the 2015 season with injuries, including starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. He suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in only his fourth start of the season.

How unlikely is it for a team to win 100 games but have no players finish in the top three in postseason balloting for MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year?

Nearly unheard of.

Sixty teams have won 100 games in a season since it last happened back in 1942, when the Brooklyn Dodgers won 104 games and did not have a player in the top three for the National League MVP award.

At that time, the MVP was the only postseason award. The Cy Young Award didn’t come along until 1956 and was given to one overall winner until Major League Baseball started handing out a CYA for the best pitcher in both leagues in 1966.

In ‘42, the Brooklyn Dodgers won 104 games but the team’s top MVP vote-getter, catcher Mickey Owen, finished fourth in the balloting behind Mort Cooper and Enos Slaughter of the Cardinals and the New York Giants’ Mel Ott.

It’s the last time a 100-win team hasn’t produced a top-three vote-getter in the major awards categories. Here’s a rundown:

2011 Philadelphia Phillies, 102 wins – Cy Young: Roy Halladay (2); Rookie of Year: Vance Worley (3)

2009 New York Yankees, 103 wins – MVP: Mark Teixeira (2); Derek Jeter (3)

2008 Los Angeles Angels, 100 wins – Cy Young: Francisco Rodriguez (3)

2005 St. Louis Cardinals, 100 wins: MVP: Albert Pujols (1); Cy Young: Chris Carpenter (1)

2004 St. Louis Cardinals, 105 wins: MVP: Albert Pujols (3)

2004 New York Yankees, 101 wins: Cy Young: Mariano Rivera (3)

2003 Atlanta Braves, 101 wins: MVP: Gary Sheffield (3)

2003 New York Yankees, 101 wins: MVP: Jorge Posada (3)

2003 San Francisco Giants, 100 wins: MVP: Barry Bonds (1); Cy Young: Jason Schmidt (2)

2002 New York Yankees, 103 wins: MVP: Alfonso Soriano (3)

2002 Oakland Athletics, 103 wins: Cy Young: Barry Zito (1)

2002 Atlanta Braves, 101 wins: Cy Young: John Smoltz (3)

2001 Oakland Athletics, 102 wins: MVP: Jason Giambi (2); Cy Young: Mark Mulder (2)

2001 Seattle Mariners, 116 wins: MVP: Ichiro Suzuki (1); Bret Boone (3); Cy Young: Freddy Garcia (3); ROY: Ichiro Suzuki (1)

1999 Arizona Diamondbacks, 100 wins: MVP: Matt Williams (3); Cy Young: Randy Johnson (1)

1999 Atlanta Braves, 103 wins: MVP: Chipper Jones (1); Cy Young: Kevin Millwood (3)

1998 Atlanta Braves, 106 wins: Cy Young: Tom Glavine (1)

1998 Houston Astros, 102 wins: MVP: Moises Alou (3)

1998 New York Yankees, 114 wins: MVP: Derek Jeter (3); Cy Young: David Wells (3)

1997 Atlanta Braves, 101 wins: Cy Young: Greg Maddux (2); Denny Neagle (3)

1995 Cleveland Indians, 100 wins: MVP: Albert Belle (2); Cy Young: Jose Mesa (2)

1993 Atlanta Braves, 104 wins: Cy Young: Greg Maddux (1); ROY: Ryan Klesko (3)

1993 San Francisco Giants, 103 wins: MVP: Matt Williams (2)

1990 Oakland Athletics, 103 wins: MVP: Rickey Henderson (1); Cy Young: Bob Welch (1); Dave Stewart (3)

1988 New York Mets, 100 wins: MVP: Darryl Strawberry (2); Kevin McReynolds (3); Cy Young: David Cone (3)

1988 Oakland Athletics, 104 wins: MVP: Jose Canseco (1); Cy Young: Dennis Eckersley (2); ROY: Walt Weiss (1)

1986 New York Mets, 108 wins: MVP: Gary Carter (3); ROY: Kevin Mitchell (3)

1985 St. Louis Cardinals, 101 wins: MVP: Willie McGee (1); Cy Young: John Tudor (2); ROY: Vince Coleman (1)

1984 Detroit Tigers, 104 wins: MVP: Willie Hernandez (1); Cy Young: Willie Hernandez (1)

1980 New York Yankees, 103 wins: MVP: Reggie Jackson (2); Goose Gossage (3); Cy Young: Goose Gossage (3)

1980 Baltimore Orioles, 100 wins: Cy Young: Steve Stone (1)

1979 Baltimore Orioles, 102 wins: MVP: Ken Singleton (2); Cy Young: Mike Flanagan (1)

1978 New York Yankees, 100 wins: MVP: Ron Guidry (2); Cy Young: Ron Guidry (1)

1977 Kansas City Royals, 102 wins: MVP: Al Cowens (2)

1977 New York Yankees, 100 wins: Cy Young: Sparkly Lyle (1)

1977 Philadelphia Phillies, 101 wins: MVP: Greg Luzinski (2)

1976 Cincinnati Reds, 102 wins: MVP: Joe Morgan (1); George Foster (2); ROY: Pat Zachry (2)

1976 Philadelphia Phillies, 101 wins: MVP: Mike Schmidt (3)

1975 Cincinnati Reds, 108 wins: MVP: Joe Morgan (1); ROY: Rawly Eastwick (3)

1974 Los Angeles Dodgers, 102 wins: MVP: Steve Garvey (1); Cy Young: Mike Marshall (1); Andy Messersmith (2)

1971 Baltimore Orioles, 101 wins: MVP: Frank Robinson (3)

1971 Oakland Athletics, 101 wins: MVP: Vida Blue (1); Sal Bando (2); Cy Young: Vida Blue (1); ROY: Angel Mangual (3)

1970 Cincinnati Reds, 102 wins: MVP: Johnny Bench (1); Tony Perez (3); ROY: Bernie Carbo (2)

1969 Baltimore Orioles, 109 wins: MVP: Boog Powell (2); Frank Robinson (3); Cy Young: Mike Cuellar (1)

1969 New York Mets, 100 wins: MVP: Tom Seaver (2); Cy Young: Tom Seaver (1)

1968 Detroit Tigers, 103 wins: MVP: Denny McLain (1); Bill Freehan (2); Cy Young: Denny McLain (1)

1967 St. Louis Cardinals, 101 wins: MVP: Orlando Cepeda (1); Tim McCarver (2); ROY: Dick Hughes (2)

1965 Minnesota Twins, 102 wins: MVP: Zoilo Versalles (1); Tony Oliva (2)

1963 New York Yankees, 104 wins: MVP: Elston Howard (1); Whitey Ford (3)

1962 San Francisco Giants, 103 wins: MVP: Willie Mays (2); Cy Young: Jack Sanford (2); Billy Pierce (3)

1962 Los Angeles Dodgers, 102 wins: MVP: Maury Wills (1); Tommy Davis (3); Cy Young: Don Drysdale (1)

1961 New York Yankees, 109 wins: MVP: Roger Maris (1); Mickey Mantle (2)

1961 Detroit Tigers, 101 wins: Cy Young: Frank Lary (3)

1954 Cleveland Indians, 111 wins: MVP: Larry Doby (2); Bobby Avila (3)

1954 New York Yankees, 103 wins: MVP: Yogi Berra (1)

1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, 105 wins: MVP: Roy Campanella (1); Duke Snider (3); ROY: Jim Gilliam (1)

1944 St. Louis Cardinals, 105 wins: MVP: Marty Marion (1)

1943 St. Louis Cardinals, 105 wins: MVP: Stan Musial (1); Walker Cooper (2)

1942 St. Louis Cardinals, 106 wins: MVP: Walker Cooper (1); Enos Slaughter (2)

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