Mookie Betts joins the list of Red Sox MVPs
Mookie Betts has become the 12th member of the Boston Red Sox to take home the American League MVP Award. Betts led the MLB in runs (129), batting average (.346), and slugging percentage, (.640). Despite missing 26 games with injury, Betts still had a 30-30 season with 32 home runs and 30 steals. He was second in all of baseball in doubles (47), fifth in hits (180), second in OBP (.438), and first in WAR (10.9). To top it all off, he won the Gold Glove for right field.
Let's take a look at the other Red Sox MVPs.
1912 - Tris Speaker
Mookie Betts has something in common with the Red Sox first ever MVP winner - both outfielders won the World Series. Speaker (photo courtesy AP Photo), who was 24 when he won the award, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame and the all-time leader in doubles. 1912 was his sole MVP season. He led the league with 53 doubles, 10 home runs, and a .464 OBP. He also scored 136 runs, hit .383, had 222 hits, batted in 90 runs, and slugged .567. MVP with ten home runs? It was a different era, for sure.
1938 - Jimmie Foxx
Foxx, primarily a first baseman, is a Hall of Famer, Triple Crown winner (1933), nine time All-Star, two-time batting champ, two-time World Champ, and three-time MVP. His 1938 season, in which he was 30 years old, was his third MVP nod. Foxx (photo courtesy AP Photo) led the league with 175 RBIs, 119 walks, a .349 BA, a .462 OBP, and a .704 slugging percentage. He had 197 hits, 33 doubles and 50 home runs -- the second highest total of his career.
1946 - Ted Williams
After a three year break from baseball to serve in World War II, Williams returned without missing a beat. The Hall of Famer, two-time Triple Crown winner ('42 and '47), and 19-time All-Star won the first of two MVP awards in 1946. Boston's leftfielder (photo courtesy AP Photo) led the MLB in runs (142), walks (156), OBP (.497), and slugging (.667). Williams also hit 38 home runs and drove in 123 runs.
1949 - Ted Williams
Williams, who spent his whole 19 year career with Boston, took home his second MVP trophy three years later. He led the league in nine major offensive categories: plate appearances, runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs, walks, OBP, slugging, and OPS. Williams (photo courtesy AP Photo) hit .343 and finished percentage points behind George Kell for the batting title and the Triple Crown. His 194 hits also finished second in the AL. Williams, who is the all time leader in OBP, finished in the top five for MVP voting nine times, and finished twelve times in the top ten.
1958 - Jackie Jensen
Jensen was a three-time All-Star, a World Series champ, and a Gold Glove winner. In 1958, he took home the MVP after leading the league in RBIs with 122. Jensen (photo courtesy AP Photo) added 31 doubles and 35 home runs while batting .286 with a .396 OBP. The rightfielder struck out only 65 times in 654 plate appearances.
1967 - Carl Yastrzemski
Yaz, whose entire 23 year career was spent with the Red Sox, has a laundry list of accomplisments. The Hall of Fame leftfielder is an 18-time All-Star, seven time Gold Glove winner, TSN Major League Player of the Year, and three-time batting champ. He won both the Triple Crown and his only MVP in 1967. He led the league in runs, hits, home runs (44), RBIs (121), batting average (.326), OBP, slugging percentage, and total bases. Yastrzemski, (photo courtesy AP Photo), hit 31 doubles and stole ten bases for good measure. He also struck out just 69 times.
1975 - Fred Lynn
The lefthanded centerfielder had a very accomplished MLB career. The nine-time All-Star was a four time Gold Glove winner, batting champ, ALCS and All-Star MVP, Rookie of the Year, and of course, MVP. Lynn, (photo courtesy AP Photo), took home the award in 1975 after he led the league in runs (103), doubles (47), slugging percentage (.566), and OPS (.967). He added 21 homers, 105 RBIs, and ten steals. Lynn played just 15 games in 1974, making '75 his rookie campaign. He added a Gold Glove, All-Star appearance, and Rookie of the Year trophy to his MVP. Quite the entrance onto the MLB scene for Lynn.
1978 - Jim Rice
Rice, a Hall of Fame leftfielder, took home his only MVP trophy in 1978. Rice (photo courtesy AP Photo) was also an eight time All-Star and two time Silver Slugger winner. In 1978, he led the league in plate appearances, at bats, hits, triples (15), home runs (46), RBIs (139), slugging, OPS, and total bases. Rice also hit .315 and had a .370 OBP. His entire 16 year career was with the Red Sox.
1986 - Roger Clemens
Clemens, a Hall of Fame pitcher with 354 career wins, did something in 1986 that has only been done ten times in MLB history -- win the Cy Young and MVP in the same season. Clemens, just 23 at the time, led the league in wins with 24, win-loss percentage, ERA (2.48), WHIP (.969), and hits/9. He lost just four games, threw ten complete games, and struck out 238 batters. Over a 24 year career, Clemens won the Cy Young sevens times, was an All-Star eleven times, won two triple crowns, and took home seven ERA titles.
1995 - Mo Vaughn
In 1995, Vaughn took home both the MVP and the Silver Slugger. The big lefty first baseman led the league in RBIs (126). He hit 39 home runs with a .300 average, .388 OBP, and .575 slugging percentage. He added 27 doubles and 11 steals. Vaughn (photo courtesy AP Photo) arguably had a better year the next season (.326 BA, .420 OBP, 44 HR, 143 RBI), but finished fifth in MVP voting.
2008 - Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia has been the heart and soul of the Red Sox for the last decade-plus. He set expectations high in 2008, his second full season in the majors. Pedroia (photo courtesy AP Photo) led the AL in runs (118), hits, (213), and doubles (54). He hit 17 home runs, knocked in 83 RBIs, and stole 20 bases. He added his first All-Star nod, a Gold Glove at second base, and a Silver Slugger to his trophy case. Coming off a Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, Pedroia set career highs (which still stand) in average (.326) and slugging (.493). By almost all accounts, 2008 was the best offensive season of Pedroia's career.