Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

St. Louis Cardinals have won the MVP award 21 times. Here are each of those seasons.

  • 0

St. Louis Cardinals have won the Most Valuable Player award 21 times, the most in the National League and second to only the New York Yankees, who have produced 22. 

The MVP award in its current form has been given out since 1931. Prior to then, a committee of eight voters selected a league's best player, but a player could not be voted for the award twice, limiting great players to just one award lifetime until the 1930s.

Here are each of the Cardinals' recipients. 

G1HORNSBY31

Rogers Hornsby, early in his career as second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. (Post-Dispatch archives)

Rogers Hornsby, 2B: 1925 

Winner of just the second Most Valuable Player award in National League history, Hornsby led the league in nearly every offensive category that year. He hit 39 home runs and batted .403 to win the award, one year after finishing second. Hornsby would go on to win another MVP five years later as a member of the Chicago Cubs, becoming the first multi-time winner.

trivia

FILE PHOTO 1927 -- Charles Lindbergh shakes hand with Cardinals picther Grover Cleveland Alexander, star of the 1926 World Series, on June 18, 1927, at Sportsman park. with them are bow-tied umpire Charley Moran, who coached Centr College's 1921 football upset of Harvard and Bob O'Farrell player-manager of the World Champion Redbirds

Bob O'Farrell, C: 1926

Considered one of the greatest defensive catchers of his generation, O'Farrell's MVP worthiness may be more in the narrative than the numbers. While he did not lead the league in any offensive category, he was an inspiration as just two years prior he missed significant time with a fractured skull after being struck by a foul tip and lost his job with the Cubs.  

O'Farrell led the Cardinals to a World Series pennant with excellent work behind the plate and had a career year, slugging 30 doubles and .293 batting average, earning all but one MVP vote. O'Farrell would never again receive an MVP vote after that.

Hornsby and Bottomley

Cardinals player-manager Rogers Hornsby (left) and first baseman “Sunny Jim,” Bottomley

Jim Bottomley, 1B: 1928

A true slugger in his 1928 campaign, Jim Bottomley led the majors in home runs and RBI while also becoming just the second player in MLB history to collect 20 home runs, doubles, and triples in one season. 

While Bottomley's season was great, he could not escape his fatal flaw as a player: poor performance in the World Series, as he continued a string of poor performances in the Fall Classic, hitting just .214 that year en route to a career .170 batting average in the World Series.

9. Frankie Frisch

Frankie Frisch, 2B: 1931

To this day Frank "Frankie" Frisch owns the record for the fewest home runs by a position player to win MVP when he slugged just four in 1931. Also known as "The Fordham Flash," Frisch lead the league in stolen bases with 28.

DIZZY DEAN

Dizzy Dean at spring training in 1936. The Associated Press caption read: "With his familiar wind-up, Diz is getting ready to shove one of his high hard ones toward the plate." (AP Photo)

Dizzy Dean, RHP: 1934

Dizzy Deans' 1934 MVP season remains in the history books as it was the last time a pitcher won 30 games in a single season. Going 30-7, with an ERA of 2.66, over 300 innings pitched, 7 saves, and 195 strikeouts, Dean's season is one that we will likely never see replicated. 

Dean also finished as runner-up in MVP voting the next two seasons.

Joe Medwick

Joe "Ducky" Medwick poses on March 22, 1934. The Cardinals outfielder won the Triple Crown in 1937 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968.

Joe Medwick, OF: 1937

A core member of the Gashouse Gang, Joe "Ducky" Medwick is the last NL player to win the Triple Crown, batting .374 with 31 home runs and 154 RBI.

Medwick led the league in hits, runs, and slugging percentage, but his win was narrow as he received two of eight first-place votes, but ultimately won the vote by two points over Chicago Cubs star Gabby Harnett, who received three first-place votes.

Scan067.JPG-21700727

George "Red" Munger (second from right) appears in an undated photo with fellow Cardinals pitchers Mort Cooper, Ernie White and Murry Dickson. (Post-Dispatch Archives)

Mort Cooper, RHP: 1942

A Missouri native, Mort Cooper was signed as an amateur and quickly rose through the ranks with the Cardinals, eventually becoming the ace of the staff in the Cardinals' 1942 World Series-winning run with 22 wins and 1.78 ERA.

Stan Musial 1950

Stan Musial homers over the right-field pavilion at Sportsman's Park as Brooklyn catcher Roy Campanella watches during a game in 1950. (AP Photo)

Stan Musial, OF/1B: 1943, 1946, 1948

Musial was the first player in the National League to win three MVP awards, and he remains tied for second-most by a single player. His first, in 1943, came in his third MLB season, making him one of the youngest winners in league history. It also came after a brief and unsuccessful contract holdout, and his World Series bonus contributed almost two-thirds of his pay that season.

And in 1946 Musial made a triumphant return from the second World War and an assignment to Pearl Harbor with an MVP award and a Cardinals World Series victory. 

Scan543.JPG-24432038

Charles "Red" Barrett, left, and Marty Marion are seen during the 1945 Cardinals season. Post-Dispatch file

Marty Marion, SS: 1944

Marion had a pedestrian season at the plate in 1944, hitting just .267 with six home runs and 63 RBI, but was named MVP for his prowess on the infield. A defensive marvel at shortstop, Marion earned the nickname "The Octopus" for his seemingly inhuman ability to reach for groundballs. 

Marion's MVP is considered one of the more controversial, as Bill Nicholson of the Chicago Cubs dominated the National League with 36 home runs and 122 RBI, but voters claim Marion's defense and leadership was enough to give him the award.

11. Ken Boyer

Ken Boyer, 3B: 1964

A star in both the batters' box and the infield, Ken Boyer broke up Cardinals' longest MVP drought with his performance in 1964.

Boyer earned 14 of 20 first-place votes for the award by hitting .295 and leading the league in RBI with 119. Willie Mays was his largest competitor that year, as Mays' 11 wins above replacement were nearly double Boyers' 6.1. Still, Mays finished sixth in voting. 

1967 World Series between Cardinals and Red Sox

Orlando Cepeda of the Cardinals, and Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox pose together prior to the opening of Game 2 of the 1967 World Series. (Post-Dispatch archives)

Orlando Cepeda, 1B: 1967

"The Baby Bull" was just the second player in the National League to win the MVP unanimously.

Cepeda won the award in his first full season with the Cardinals after being traded from San Francisco one year earlier. He led the majors with 111 RBI and became the first Latin American player to lead the majors in both home runs and RBI. 

His unanimous selection came against teammate Tim McCarver, Ron Santo, Roberto Clemente, and Hank Aaron, who made up the top five that season. 

Remembering Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson throws his fast ball against the San Francisco Giants in the opening game of the National League season, April 11, 1967, in St. Louis. 

Bob Gibson, RHP: 1968

Bob Gibson's 1968 season stands as one of the best by a starting pitcher in modern history. Pitching to a 1.13 ERA, a modern baseball record, over more than 300 innings, with 12 shutouts and 257 strikeouts Gibson was plain and simple untouchable. In addition to his MVP award, Gibson was the Cy Young winner that season. 

15. Joe Torre

Joe Torre, 3B: 1971

Joe Torre reigned supreme in a stacked race for MVP, beating out Willie Stargel, Henry Aaron, Bobby Bonds, Ferguson Jenkins, and Roberto Clemente for the league's top player award, securing 21 of 24 first-place votes. 

By winning the batting title and leading the majors in hits and RBI, Torre became the 16th Cardinal to be honored with an MVP award, and the third in four seasons. It was not a perfect season for the future Hall of Famer though, as his transition to playing third base from catcher proved a challenge, as he led the league in errors.   

keith mvp

First baseman Keith Hernandez is shown in 1979, when he was named co-Most Valuable Player of the National League. Hernandez hit .344 for the Cardinals and shared the '79 award with Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell. (Post-Dispatch photo by Lynn T. Spence)

Keith Hernandez, 1B: 1979

For the first and only time in major league history, two players received the same number of votes and shared the MVP award when Willie Stargel and Keith Hernandez both tallied 216 points.

In his sixth season in the big leagues, Keith Hernandez had a breakout season and established himself as one of the premier offensive players in the National League. He led the league in batting average, doubles and runs. 

Cardinals end series against Brewers at Busch

St. Louis Cardinals assistant coach Willie McGee (51) signs a baseball for a fan after the Cardinals win a MLB game against the Brewers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Thursday, August 19, 2021. The Cardinals will take on the Pirates on Friday, August 20, 2021. Photo by Daniel Shular, dshular@post-dispatch.com

Willie McGee, OF: 1985

The Cardinals had plenty of MVP candidates in an excellent 1985 season, producing five nominees who finished in the top 11, but it was Willie McGee who stood above the rest and earned his first and only MVP award. 

Winning the batting title while leading the league in hits and triples, his .353 batting average still stands as the second-best by a switch hitter in league history. Tack on finishing third in runs scored and stolen bases, and a Gold Glove award, and McGee was the clear winner. 

Pittsburgh Pirates vs St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols takes a curtain call after he smashed the 702 homerun of his career in the third inning during a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Albert Pujols, 1B: 2005, 2008, 2009

After four seasons finishing in the top four of MVP voting, Albert Pujols was finally able to break through in 2004 winning his first MVP award behind a 41-home run, 117-RBI season. 

He would finish as runner-up the next season, and ninth the year after that (his lowest finish as a Cardinal) before winning back-to-back MVPs in 2008 and 2009. 

Pujols' MVP resume includes not just his three first-place finishes, but an impressive number of finishes near the top: In the first 11 seasons, he finished in the top five 10 times and was runner-up four times. 

Cardinals kick off last home series against Pittsburgh Pirates

Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hits a single off pitcher Johan Oviedo in the third inning of a game on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, at Busch Stadium. 

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B: 2022

Goldschmidt won the NL honor for the first time after a couple of close calls earlier in his career. The first baseman garnered 22 of 30 first-place votes and eight seconds for 380 points from a separate BBWAA panel.

Goldschmidt batted .317 with 35 home runs, 115 RBIs and a league-leading .981 OPS this season. He had 41 doubles and scored 106 runs while compiling a .404 on-base percentage and topping the league in slugging percentage (.578).

For the first time in his career, St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman Paul Goldschmidt won the National League Most Valuable Player Award on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.
 
0 Comments
* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

Trending

National News

News