MVPs with the Lowest WARs

Here are the 10 lowest bWARs ever to be awarded the National League MVP. As you can see, Willie “Pops” Stargell takes the prize here having slashed .281/.352/.552 in 1979 while hitting 32 home runs and knocking in 82, good enough for the 9th best WAR on the Pirates. He split the award with Keith Hernandez, both of them falling well behind Dave Winfield for the season, who finished 3rd in the MVP voting and would finish his Hall of Fame career without winning a single MVP.

Year NL MVP WAR LEAGUE RANK
1979 Willie Stargell+ (PIT) 2.5 68
1931 Frankie Frisch+ (STL) 3.7 20
1987 Andre Dawson+ (CHC) 4 26
1974 Steve Garvey (LAD) 4.4 28
1950 Jim Konstanty (PHI) 4.4 21
1944 Marty Marion (STL) 4.7 16
1935 Gabby Hartnett+ (CHC) 5 14
2006 Ryan Howard (PHI) 5.2 16
1955 Roy Campanella+ (BRO) 5.2 13
1956 Don Newcombe (BRO) 5.4 13

Here are the 10 lowest bWARs ever to be awarded the American League MVP. Somewhat surprisingly, Dennis Eckersley’s 1992 campaign resulted in the worst WAR to ever capture the American League MVP. Eckersley lead the league with 51 saves in 54 opportunities, posted a 1.91 ERA and WHIP of .913 and took home the Cy Young Award as well. Slugger Juan Gonzalez actually appears twice on the list.

Year AL MVP WAR LEAGUE RANK
1992 Dennis Eckersley+ (OAK) 2.9 63
1974 Jeff Burroughs (TEX) 3.6 45
1996 Juan Gonzalez (TEX) 3.8 41
1979 Don Baylor (CAL) 3.7 41
2006 Justin Morneau (MIN) 4.3 34
1998 Juan Gonzalez (TEX) 4.9 26
1934 Mickey Cochrane+ (DET) 4 25
1995 Mo Vaughn (BOS) 4.3 24
1984 Willie Hernandez (DET) 4.8 21
1987 George Bell (TOR) 5 17

+ Denotes Hall of Famer

*The foregoing was the result of much manual work in that there is not a currently available feature on baseball-reference.com to compile WAR rankings that combines position players and pitchers beyond the top ten for a season. Every precaution was taken in finding the player’s bWAR ranking for each year from 1931 to the present. Furthermore, this is no slight to fWAR but the author is just more comfortable with the baseball-reference site.

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