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Every Major MLB Award, Ranked (Part II of V)

How many awards does the MLB give out? It’s an interesting question and by my count, I have found 25 awards that the MLB has, for the most part, regularly given out to players.

Last week I took some time to look at championship trophies and awards across many different sports and leagues. This week I enter a deep dive into just what the MLB awards.

Today I announce my #20-16 awards.

 

Number 20: American League Championship Series MVPEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Voted by the Press (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Yordan Alvarez (Houston Astros, 2021)

Awarded To: The best player during the American League Championship Series

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As to avoid a spoiler for the next award, continue below for my explanation for this award.

 

Number 19: National League Championship Series MVPEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Voted by the Press (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Eddie Rosario (Atlanta Braves, 2021)

Awarded To: The best player during the National League Championship Series

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I have ranked the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player award (ALCS MVP) behind the National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player award (NLCS MVP). Outside of the league name present on the gold decoration in the middle of this award, these two awards are essentially the exact same. Tiffany & Co. took over the creation of these awards for the 2017 postseason and going forward. That continuity does win some points from me as they are equal awards. That is why the ALCS and NLCS MVP awards rank higher than the 5 awards from yesterday.

However, in doing my research about these awards I noticed that the ALCS and NLCS awards were not always nearly identical. As you can see on the 2nd slide in both #20 and #19 they used to differ by a lot. The former ALCS MVP Award was a bronze eagle on a standard wooden block base. I’m a big anti-wooden-trophies guy, so for that alone it falls short. However, the NLCS MVP Award adds insult to injury as it a a full crystal award with a baseball on top of some nice crystal pillars. It may have been one of the nicest awards in baseball. It’s clear which award was better (each also has another element I’ll discuss later) as the NLCS MVP beat out the ALCS MVP handedly. However, we are truly ranking the current awards, so they each end up here.

 

Number 18: Warren C. Giles Trophy (NLCS)Embed from Getty Images

Award Type: Won by Accomplishment (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Atlanta Braves (2021)

Awarded To: The team that wins the National League pennant during each championship season

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As to avoid a spoiler for the next award, continue below for my explanation for this award.

 

Number 17: William Harridge Trophy (ALCS)Embed from Getty Images

Award Type: Won by Accomplishment (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Houston Astros (2021)

Awarded To: The team that wins the American League pennant during each championship season

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Just like the ALCS and NLCS MVP awards, the ALCS (Harridge) and NLCS (Giles) Team Trophies have become standardized between the two leagues after Tiffany & Co. took over for the 2017 postseason and going forward. And, the new design is cool. The waving pennant on the top of a nice silver base with a baseball hidden inside the waves. It’s simple, elegant, and works well for the symbolism of what the award should.

So, getting back to a former point, part of the beauty of the ALCS and NLCS MVP awards was their connections to the former ALCS and NLCS trophies as you can see in the 2nd photo for both #17 and #18. The old Harridge trophy was a golden American League logo on top of a baseball on a wooden base. (Hence why the ALCS MVP was an eagle.) And, while I don’t like wooden trophies, this one worked very well. The old Giles trophy was a mess with a baseball on top of a ton of wooden pillars. (Hence why the NLCS MVP was a baseball on a crystal pillar.) Unfortunately, that makes me think more about court/juror summons than baseball. It even seems the award creators didn’t envision it as a baseball trophy and just stuck a baseball on top last minute. Like with the ALCS and NLCS MVP’s, it is clear which of these awards used to be better, and such the ALCS/William Harridge Trophy beats out the NLCS/Warren C. Giles Trophy.

 

Number 16: Rawlings Gold Glove AwardEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Voted on by Coaches, Players, and the Press (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Multiple (See list here)

Awarded To: The top defensive player at each position, in each league, each year

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The Gold Glove is by all means a cool award. It has good symbolism, honoring the best fielder (per league) with gold- except the glove isn’t actually made of gold. Regardless, the symbolism comes with and helps add to a good history of importance for the award and it has a very nice display to it with golden balls donning each opposite side of the glove, an image of the fielder below the glove, and a base with clear lettering honoring the winner. (I also like the coloring of the top of the base of the trophy as it looks like infield dirt, but I can’t tell if that was planned or not.)

However as cool and well designed the award is, I have a big gripe with the award. If the ballplayer who wins the award is a Rawlings-sponsored athlete then they get a model of their glove perched on the trophy. However, if they are sponsored by any other glove manufacturer (for example: Wilson, Mizuno, Easton, etc.) then Rawlings will put a generalized glove on the base instead of the glove the winner wore. On a competition basis, this is understandable: why would a company support a rival? But, it annoys me that some players get a gold glove with their own glove style while other players don’t.

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