The St. Louis Cardinals have a rich history of both postseason play and personal awards. Over the course of the franchise twenty National League MVP awards have been won by a total of sixteen players.
With the announcement yesterday of Kris Bryant winning the MVP award, it brings up memories of past St. Louis Cardinals players to be honored. Hats off to Bryant for a solid year, but there are high hopes that the award will be coming back to St. Louis very soon.
Being named MVP is no easy task. Just by sheer numbers, it seems very daunting. Between the eight hitters, assuming each team’s lineup remains consistent which it never does, and five starting pitchers for each of the fifteen NL teams, this puts 195 players in the running for MVP each season.
Admittedly, that number is a low estimate. There are always players who can pop up early in the season and make a running. Now, obviously not every player has an MVP-caliber season, but from day-one there is no telling what can happen.
The MVP award was first given out in 1911. It’s first winners were Frank Schulte of the Chicago Cubs, and Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers. In 1922 and 1923 there was no winner from the NL, and in 1929 there was no AL winner.
The player with the most MVP awards is Barry Bonds with seven. That includes his stretch of winning four consecutive times from 2001-2004. Three wins is the next closest after seven. There are several players who have done that, including Yogi Berra, Mike Schmidt, and Mickey Mantle.
In the history of the award, ten National League pitchers have been named MVP. Of those ten, three of them played for the St. Louis Cardinals. That is tied for the highest number of winning pitchers with the Dodgers organization.
Winning the MVP award puts the player’s name in history with some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Great hitters like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Roberto Clemente were MVP award winners. Great pitchers, such as Roger Clemens, and two of the most dominant southpaws ever, Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax are also included in the MVP listings.
The MVP award is a very prestigious honor to obtain. And with good reason. The winner of the MVP is the best of the best that year; playing half a season at a dominant level is hard enough, let alone going nearly 162 games at top performance.
This list won’t be including MVPs such as Stan Musial, Orlando Cepeda, or Dizzy Dean. This will, in fact, leave off 11 players who had standout seasons but stay with me. MVP seasons are a lot of fun to watch. So without any further ado, these are five of the St. Louis Cardinal players to ever be honored as the best. These are the five most recent MVPs to come from St. Louis.