Babe Ruth: Seven MVP Seasons but the BBWAs Award Didn’t Exist Until 1931

Joe Posnanski, a Senior Editor at Sports Illustrated, recently confirmed a fact that at one time didn’t need confirmation.

No one is even close to Babe Ruth when one considers baseball’s greatest player.

Ruth dominated his era more than any player who ever played the game. He was the greatest offensive threat ever as well as an outstanding pitcher.

Posnanski asks how you can beat a hitter who out homered every team in 1927, led the league in ERA with a 1.75 mark in 1916 when he was 21-year-old and had a 3-0 World Series record with an 0.64 ERA?

Ruth led the league in OPS every season but one from 1918-1931 and he led in WAR 11 times.

For his career, Ruth’s .690 slugging percentage, 1.164 OPS and 206 OPS+ are the best in history.

Posnanski asks a fascinating question. How many MVP’s would Ruth have won if the BBWA award existed prior to 1931?

Posnanski speculates Ruth would have won the MVP in 1919-21, 1923, 1924 and 1926.

Since Ruth won the “League Award” in 1923, Barry Bonds would have company with seven career MVP awards.

Ruth’s career WAR of 172 is the best by any position player. Bonds has a 171.8 WAR, Ty Cobb’s is 159.4, Willie Mays’ is 154.7 and Hank Aaron’s is 141.6.

As an aside, Ted Williams’ WAR is 125.3 and Lou Gehrig’s WAR is 118.4. Both were better hitters than either Mays or Aaron. Just something to think about.

Because of his rotund figure in old newsreels, many fans and those in the media have concluded that the only thing that Ruth as good at was hitting, but they are wrong.

From 1918-23, Ruth averaged 15 triples over a 162-game season. He had 136 triples for his career.

Ruth was fast when he was young, but he was not good at stealing bases, as was graphically demonstrated when he was thrown out attempting to steal second for the last out in the 1926 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

From 1920-26, Ruth averaged 13 steals over a 162-game season. The problem was that he was caught an average of 14 times.

We could go on and on, but it would be redundant.

Go to Baseball-Reference to view Ruth’s record as both a hitter and as a pitcher.

Doubters can contact Joe Posnanski.

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