Since 1931, Major League Baseball has awards an MVP in the American and National League a combined 176 times when the Baseball Writers’ Association of Writers took over voting.
Some players have won the honor numerous times, but for the purpose of this list MLB.com’s Richard Justice used specific seasons.
To no one’s surprise, Barry Bonds made the outfield alongside the legendary duo of Babe Ruth and Micky Mantle.
Justice used Bonds’ 2001 season for this list:
“Bonds had seven MVP seasons, but 2001 stands out for the record-setting 73 home runs, not to mention a .515 on-base percentage.”
Although 2001 didn’t start great for Bonds, who went on a 0-for-21 slump early in the season, he came back with a vengeance.
He was on fire in late May, hitting an NL record nine home runs over five days. He was just a machine.
Bonds had an MLB record 37 home runs at the All-Star break and although he cooled off for a stretch when the season resumed after the break, he would get on back on track in August.
The seven-time MVP broke Mark McGwire’s single season home run record on Oct. 5, 2001, going deep twice against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bonds finished the season with 73 home runs, a record I don’t think we will ever see broken. It wasn’t just his talent for smashing pitches out of the park that was impressive about his 2001 season:
He finished the season batting .328 with 137 RBI, a ridiculous .863 slugging percentage, .515 on-base percentage and drew 177 walks.
Willie Mays was given honorable mention as an outfielder for his 1965 campaign.
Here the rest of Justice’s lineup:
Catcher: Johnny Bench, 1970 Reds; Honorable mention: Roy Campanella, 1953 Dodgers.
Second base: Rogers Hornsby, 1925 Cardinals; Honorable mention: Joe Morgan, 1976 Reds.
Outfield: Babe Ruth, 1923 Yankees; Barry Bonds, 2001 Giants; Mickey Mantle, 1956 Yankees, Honorable mention: Willie Mays, 1965 Giants.
Starting pitcher: Bob Gibson, 1968 Cardinals; Honorable mention: Walter Johnson, 1913 Senators.
What do you think of Justice’s all-time team?