Every Major MLB Award, Ranked (Part IV of V)
Updated: Jan 3
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 #10-6 awards.
Number 10: Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter AwardEmbed from Getty Images
Award Type: Voted by Press, Broadcasters, and American League PR Staffs (Yearly)
Most Recent Winner/s: Shohei Ohtani (AL)
Awarded To: The top voted designated hitter in the American League each year
Can you remember back to a couple posts ago when I was talking about the ALCS (William Harridge) and NLCS (Warren C. Giles) Award trophies? On that post I said that the old ALCS trophy would’ve ranked much higher on my list of trophies. Luckily it gets its place to truly shine…however it has now been reissued as the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.
Everything about this trophy is great. I like that the trophy itself has its own history outside of the DH award. I like that it is specific to the American League with the AL eagle donning the top of the trophy. I even like the wooden base (which is rare from me). I’m happy this trophy found a new home with the DH award.
Number 9: Ted Williams All-Star Game MVP Award (The Arch Ward Trophy)Embed from Getty Images
Award Type: Voted on by MLB.com, the Official Scorer/BBWAA and the announcers from the All-Star Game’s three broadcast rights-holders (FOX Sports, ESPN Radio, and MLB International), and the fans.
Most Recent Winner/s: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (AL)
Awarded To: The most outstanding player in the All-Star Game
Yesterday we touched on 3 straight bat awards: the Silver Slugger, the Home Run Derby Trophy, and the Batting Title trophy. Today, we hit the final bat award with the All-Star Game MVP. It takes the best element of each of the previous and enshrines it into a crystal bat. The ASG MVP has a nice history going back to 1962 (older than the Silver Slugger), it comes at the only true “fun” event that the MLB holds yearly (just like the Home Run Derby), and it is a legitimate swingable bat (like the Batting Title trophy)- though I wouldn’t actually use it.
And, in recent years this trophy comes with a bonus car presented by Chevrolet, where the winner gets to pick between receiving a pick-up truck (Silverado) or a sports car (Corvette) as the winner. Is anything cooler than a Corvette? Well, yes…Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, and McLaren’s exist too, but they don’t just hand those out for free. The only problem I have is that the MVP honor itself is named after Ted Williams but the trophy is named after Arch Ward. It feels like that John Oliver NCAA Basketball advertisement bit (watch until 1:35).
Number 8: Bob Feller & Jerry Coleman Act of Valor Awards
Award Type: Voted by Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation (Yearly)
Most Recent Winner/s: Joe Torre (BBHOF), Griffin Jax (MLB), Chief Petty Officer Joshua A. Sawyer (Navy), and First Sergeant Daniel P. Best (Marines)
Awarded To: The baseball Hall of Famer and player who show their support of United States servicemen and women; the military awardees are honored for achievement that represents the character of Bob Feller/Jerry Coleman
Happening during his playing career, Bob Feller stepped away from baseball in order to serve in the Navy, signing up to serve in World War II the day after the Pearl Harbor attacks. Jerry Coleman was a member of the Marine Corps before and after his baseball career, serving in World War II and Korea. These awards, presented by the Bob Feller Act of Valor association started with the Bob Feller award in 2013 and added the Jerry Coleman award and the peer-to-peer awards (the wooden anchors) in 2015.
As an award, each winner is presented with a bust of Bob Feller, donned in his naval uniform, and they are presented to a current MLB player, a member of the Hall of Fame, and a member of both the Navy and Marine Corps. It’s incredibly cool that the award stretches beyond the game of baseball while honoring the many men who gave up time in baseball in order to serve our country when it needed them most. I am deeply indebted to their service.
Number 7: Willie Mays World Series MVP AwardEmbed from Getty Images
Award Type: Voted by Press (Yearly)
Most Recent Winner/s: Jorge Soler (NL)
Awarded To: The most valuable player in the World Series
What is the single greatest play in World Series history? It can’t be Don Larsen’s perfect game, Reggie Jackson’s 3 Home Runs, or Hideki Matsui’s 6 RBI game in 2009: all of those were long moments over a game. The answer also happened in New York, though across the Macombs Dam Bridge where the Polo Grounds used to be. The play understandably is known as “The Catch”, a miracle of work by Willie Mays to track down and catch a fly ball over his shoulder to help the Giants win the 1954 World Series.
That play is now immortalized in a trophy, presented to the best player in each years World Series. The trophy work itself is done very well that it’s hard to even say more on it.
Number 6: Roberto Clemente AwardEmbed from Getty Images
Award Type: Voted by Press and Fans (Yearly)
Most Recent Winner/s: Nelson Cruz (AL/NL)
Awarded To: The player that “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”
While the Willie Mays statuette immortalizes a great play (and a great player), the Roberto Clemente Award holds a much higher value yearly for players and it has a combination of the last two awards. Not only is it a great statue of Roberto Clemente, but it holds value in honoring the MLB player who gave the most in community service to others.
In a battle between Mays and Clemente, it is very hard to pick a “winner” between who was more important to the game of baseball (Mays was the better player, but Clemente may have been more influential). However, in a battle of the Willie Mays Trophy vs. Roberto Clemente, I think The Great One wins out.