The 1963 NL MVP – A Reason To Forever Disregard MLB Awards

Here’s the line they’re hyping on the Yahoo! Fantasy Sports front page:

Jason Heyward may be the Braves’ greatest outfield talent since Hank Aaron, but should fantasy owners buy the hype?

Now THAT’S a bold statement. <—See what I did there? And from that I go through the logical progression of things by instantly navigating to Hank Aaron’s baseball-reference page. Aaron’s career statistics, as well as Albert Pujols’s, are something I could look at for hours. It’s just something to admire and there’s a semblance of feng shui to be found in those numbers. Pujols’s 2007 season, for example, gives me vertigo if I stare at it for too long. An uneasy feeling, at best.

Aaron’s stats are are as good as they are consistent. He twice led the league in runs, RBIs and HRs. The first year, 1957, he won the NL MVP. The second year, 1963, he finished third. Throw in the fact that he also led the league in slugging and OPS and you have yourselves a pretty solid offensive year. So there must have been two pretty amazing years from other players to drop Aaron down to third in the voting.

Let us dig a little deeper.

Sandy Koufax, the winner of the 1963 NL MVP, was probably a worthy recipient. Although he started a hefty amount of games (40) by today’s standards, Koufax was completely dominant. He went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.875 WHIP and 306 Ks in 311 IP. Hard to argue against that.

But that’s not the problem. The issue is with Dick Groat coming in second in the 1963 MVP voting. Once you see Groat’s statistics side by side with Aaron’s you’ll witness how absurd this charade of MLB awards voting is:
PTS   WAR   ABs   R     H    HR    RBI  SB     BB      BA    OBP    SLUG
Dick Groat    STL    190.0   6.4    631   85   201     6      73       3      56    .319    .377      .450
Hank Aaron MLN   135.0  10.0   631  121  201   44    130     31     78     .319    .391     .586

In what world does Hank Aaron finish third behind Dick Groat? This happened back in 1963, way before my time. Maybe something went haywire in ’63 and Aaron fell out of favor with the baseball writers. Maybe he gave Dick Schaap the cold shoulder after a loss.

I know it is silly to throw such a fit about two guys who didn’t even win the award in the first place. Still, the discrepancies between the two players are far too vast to ignore. MLB awards voting committee; I quit.

Maybe it was because Groat is white and Aaron is…actually named Henry.

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