How Would Major League Baseball History Be Different If Steroid Users Forfeited Their MVP Titles?

There was an interesting article on ESPN.com today. The article decided to take away every MVP trophy won by an accused steroid user and instead give that MVP to the player with the most votes that has so far never been accused of steroids. I want to take it a step further though and take a look at how different history would be if that did occur. If the Major League Baseball MVPs were given to the “rightful winner” then who would we look at completely differently?

First let’s note which Major League Baseball players have been accused of steroids by at least one source and also won a MVP, and also who that MVP would fall to if we eliminated them.

Old Major League Baseball MVP Winners

  • 1988 AL MVP Jose Canseco
  • 1996 AL MVP Juan Gonzalez
  • 1996 NL MVP Ken Caminiti
  • 1998 AL MVP Juan Gonzalez
  • 1998 NL MVP Sammy Sosa
  • 1999 AL MVP Ivan Rodriguez
  • 2000 AL MVP Jason Giambi
  • 2001 NL MVP Barry Bonds
  • 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada
  • 2002 NL MVP Barry Bonds
  • 2003 AL MVP Alex Rodriguez
  • 2003 NL MVP Barry Bonds
  • 2004 NL MVP Barry Bonds

New Major League Baseball MVP Winners

  • 1988 AL MVP Mike Greenwell
  • 1996 AL MVP Alex Rodriguez
  • 1996 NL MVP Mike Piazza
  • 1998 AL MVP Derek Jeter
  • 1998 NL MVP Moises Alou
  • 1999 AL MVP Pedro Martinez
  • 2000 AL MVP Frank Thomas
  • 2001 NL MVP Luis Gonzalez
  • 2002 AL MVP Alfonso Soriano
  • 2002 NL MVP Albert Pujols
  • 2003 AL MVP Carlos Delgado
  • 2003 NL MVP Albert Pujols
  • 2004 NL MVP Adrian Beltre

So what does it all mean. If all the Major League Baseball MVP trophies were taken from the old winners and given to the new winners (by the way, I’m not saying Major League Baseball should or will do this, I don’t) then what would it matter? What would be different?

The biggest travesty of the steroids scandal in Major League Baseball is all of the players that were clean and were cheated out of something they deserve by players that cheated. If Mike Piazza has a MVP I don’t think many people think of him differently because he already is known by many as the greatest offensive catcher. Pedro Martinez is already known as one of the best pitchers of all-time during his dominant years and Derek Jeter, well, everyone already thinks he is God.

But imagine if you’re some of the other Major League Baseball players on this list and you didn’t use steroids. If Mike Greenwell, Moises Alou, Luis Gonzalez, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Delgado and Adrian Beltre all had a Major League Baseball trophy on the mantle then it would completely change their resume, they would be looked at in a whole different light. Some of those guys weren’t great for very long but if they had that one MVP trophy it would be something and for players like Luis Gonzalez and Carlos Delgado, who had productive careers, that MVP trophy might raise and extra level or two on the possible Hall of Fame candidates list.

Steroid use is no secret. But its use should not go without punishment.

Even though Pedro Martinez will always be revered without winning a MVP trophy in Major League Baseball can you imagine how special that accomplishment would have been. When was the last time a pitcher won the MVP? 1992? How many pitchers have done that in the history of baseball? 10 – 20? Pedro Martinez would be in a pretty elite class. Pedro Martinez probably should have won the Cy Young over every player on steroids that season anyway. 313 strikeouts and 34 walks? Ridiculous.

The player whose reputation could benefit the most from these MVP trophy changing hands is Frank Thomas. During this steroid era many great players have been chopped down and it seems Ken Griffey Jr. is the last one remaining, but let’s not forget Frank Thomas. Frank Thomas was a great hitter, a great power hitter, extremely feared and won two MVP trophies. Don’t forget, we’ve now taken away 4 of Barry Bonds’ MVP trophies. That means the record for MVP trophies in the history of Major League Baseball is 3. If Frank Thomas was awarded the 2000 AL MVP trophy then that would be his third MVP. Frank Thomas would be tied with the likes of Mike Schmidt, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle for the most MVPs in Major League Baseball history…until 2008.

Barry Bonds no longer has 7 MVP trophies. Bonds now has 3 MVP trophies along with Frank Thomas and others. Albert Pujols has two MVP trophiess. If Albert Pujols was awarded Barry Bonds’ 2002 MVP and 2003 MVP then he would now be at 4 MVP trophies. Albert Pujols would have record for most MVP trophies in Major League Baseball history and he is only turning 29 years old this year.

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