Votto extends MVP votes shares lead over Walker

Canadian Career MVP Vote Shares. Votto solidifies his lead over Larry Walker

By Neil Munro
Canadian Baseball Network

With the announcement of the MVP winners in each league, and the vote totals garnered by the rest of the bridesmaid candidates, we can update our list of the career MVP award shares that our Canadian ball players have amassed during their careers.

In 2015, a player winning the vote unanimously (as Bryce Harper of the Nations did) would receive a full ward share of the 420 possible votes (or a full 1.0000 share). The vast majority of MVP winners in past seasons have not taken their prize in a unanimous vote and are given a portion of the possible votes cast during that year. The maximum vote totals available have varied substantially over the years, so finding proportions is a fairer way of making comparisons.

For example, the Jays Josh Donaldson captured 385 of the possible 420 votes in the American League ballot and is given an MVP award share of 0.91667. The Blue Jays were the best represented ball club in the vote in either league. 

The award shares won by Donaldson’s Toronto teammates are as follows:
Jose Bautista (82 points good for a 0.19524 share),
David Price (a 0.14762 share for his 62 votes),
Edwin Encarnacion (0.09048 based on 38 votes), and
Russell Martin (a share worth 0.00476 for his two votes).

In the National League voting, Cincinnati’s (and Canada’s) Joey Votto placed third taking 175 votes of the 420 available to earn an MVP award share of 0.41667. His 2015 vote share brings Votto’s career total to a 2.10625 award share (or he has the equivalent of a little better than two unanimous awards). This extends his lead over runner-up Larry Walker’s 1.62681 career MVP share.

The chart below tabulates the career MVP shares for the fifteen Canadians who have taken at least 1 vote in an MVP contest. It should be notes that the list includes only votes taken since 1931 when the BBWAA established specific rules for voting for the award, and these rules have remained essentially unchanged since. Before 1931, MVP awards were given out (in some cases sponsored by a corporation) on a sporadic basis between 1911 and 1929. In some years, just one of the two leagues held a vote. In other instances a previous winner could not be considered as a potential recipient. The best example to illustrate this confusion is illustrated in the 1927 American League vote results. Babe Ruth (who blasted 60 HR, 164 RBI, 158 runs scored and a .356 batting average) received exactly zero votes while Boston’s Phil Todt (with 6 HR and a .236 batting mark) did receive one vote.

Rank Player Career MVP Award Shares
1. Joey Votto 2.10625
2. Larry Walker 1.62681
3. Justin Morneau 1.48435
4. Fergoson Jenkins 0.70357
5. Eric Gagne 0.48437

6. Pete Ward 0.42679
7. Jason Bay 0.29315
8. John Hiller 0.27976
9. Phil Marchildon 0.27083
10. Jeff Heath 0.23512

11. Goody Rosen 0.16667
12. Russell Martin 0.05714
13. John Axford 0.01563
14. Matt Stairs 0.00510
15. Corey Koskie 0.00255

To give the full picture it should be noted that Canadians Jimmy Archer, George Gibson Russ Ford and Frank O’Rourke did receive a spattering of votes between 1911 and 1927. One of the greatest Canadian born sluggers, Tip O’Neill, played between 1883 and 1892, long before the concept of an MVP was contemplated. Had a vote existed at the time, he surely would have been a unanimous winner in 1887 (when he won the triple crown with 14 HR, 123 RBI and a staggering .435 batting average) while amassing 225 hits, 52 double and 19 triples – all league leading figures. He would also have received some vote recognition in 1886 (he was the RBI champ), 1888 (he won the batting crown once again) and likely in a couple of other of his excellent years. It is possible that he might be ahead of Votto in MVP award shares.

The complete year by year figures for the three Canadians who have officially won an MVP award, Larry Walker, Justin Morneau and Joey Votto, are listed below. Votto was a near unanimous winner in 2010 when he took all but one of the first place votes (the lone dissenting vote was given to Albert Pujols that year).

Joey Votto
Year Pts Maximum Pts Share Place

2009 4 448 0.008929 22nd
2010 443 448 0.988839 Won
2011 135 448 0.301339 6th
2012 16 448 0.035714 14th
2013 149 420 0.354762 6th
2015 175 420 0.416667 3rd
Total 922 - 2.106250 -

Larry Walker
Year Pts Maximum Pts Share Place

1992 111 336 0.327381 5th
1994 23 392 0.058674 11th
1995 88 392 0.224490 7th
1997 359 392 0.915816 Won
1998 7 448 0.015625 17th
1999 35 448 0.078125 10th
2001 1 448 0.002232 23rd
2002 2 448 0.004464 20th
Total 626 - 1.626807 -

Justin Morneau
Year Pts Maximum Pts Share Place

2006 320 392 0.816327 Won
2007 3 392 0.007653 20th
2008 257 392 0.655612 2nd
2014 2 420 0.004762 23rd
Total 607 - 1.484354 -

 

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Neil Munro

Neil is a retired secondary school mathematics teacher with a life-long passion for the collection and analysis of baseball statistics. A North Bay Ontario resident for almost 50 years, Neil has fuelled his interest by serving as a research consultant with STATS Inc. He was the former chair of the Records Committee of SABR – the Society for American Baseball Research. Neil assisted in the development of the complete statistical database of baseball records that is used by a number of pro and media organizations and formed the basis for the STATS Inc. All-time Major League Handbook. He has contributed innumerable essays and columns to a variety of publications including; the Bill James Baseball Abstract, Grandstand Baseball Annual and Innings, and Canada’s Baseball Newspaper. Neil’s special interest continues to be the maintenance of the records compiled by Canadians in the major league. In 1996, he authored the Canadian Players Encyclopedia, a full statistical record of all current and former major leaguers from Canada.