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Every Major MLB Award, Ranked (Part V 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 #5-1 awards.

 

Number 5: Cy Young AwardEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Voted by Press (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Robbie Ray (AL) and Corbin Burnes (NL)

Awarded To: The top voted pitcher in each league each year

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I am not a fan of plaque awards. I think that a physical trophy is often times a much better thing to win. However, if you’ve followed my logic throughout this series you’d also know that the history of each award also weighs heavily for me. This is why you’ll see the next two awards where they are on my list.

The Cy Young Award is cool…even if it is a black plaque with a design on it. So many great pitchers in baseball history have been able to proudly display this award to symbolize their great achievements on the mound after a season of work. It’s named after the most winningest pitcher of all time (while some argue in jest it should be renamed after Old Hoss Radbourn for great one-season excellence), it depicts a fastball grip: the most common pitch in the MLB. However, my biggest concern is that it only shows that of a right-handed pitcher. If they inverted the trophy for when a left-handed pitcher (like Randy Johnson) won the award, that would’ve been awesome.

 

Number 4: MVP AwardEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Voted by Press (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Shohei Ohtani (AL) and Bryce Harper (NL)

Awarded To: The top voted player in each league each year

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Beating out the Cy Young Award, in which should be no surprise is the MVP Award. It does many things right here: a gold and silver combination of colors, a non-standard shaped plaque design, on a circle plaque. However, I have yet to see the new redesign on the award from 2020 or 2021 after the removal of Kennesaw Mountain Landis: whose name used to be written around the edge of the design and whose face used to be on the trophy.

However, if the core elements stay the same- as I’d expect- then I fully anticipate this award holding the #4 spot. The MVP is a more meaningful award than the Cy Young and it does look better.

 

Number 3: Triple Crown AwardEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Won by Accomplishment (Varied)

Most Recent Winner/s: Miguel Cabrera (2012)

Awarded To: The player who leads their league in all of batting average, home runs, and RBI’s in one season

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Miguel Cabrera in 2012 is the most recent player in baseball to win a Triple-Crown and he was the first to do so as a batter since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. In his winning the MLB had to recreate the coolest trophy that an individual player can win in the MLB: the Triple Crown.

Over the course of this list I have ranked trophies you can use as a bat higher than other bat trophies and I have rated trophies earned through specific accomplishments higher than similar awards. The Triple Crown is not only a very specifically created and designed trophy to honor the player and the team that he is on, but it is a literal crown that the player could wear. WHAT IS COOLER THAN THAT? Honestly. What is cooler than winning a literal crown that essentially says, “Yeah, you were the best player last year. You’re the king. Wear this proudly.”

 

Number 2: Hall of Fame PlaqueEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Voted by Press (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Various (see list here)

Awarded To: Player who receive 75% (or more) on the Hall of Fame voting or get inducted via a Veterans Committee

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As an individual honor, there is nothing more humbling than being elected into a Hall of Fame of what an individual spent their professional career doing. After giving and dedicating your life to a sport it is the highest honor to make it into their hall of fame and to be lauded above the peers of your years and every year.

As I recently wrote about, the Baseball Hall of Fame is the best in sports. (You can read more about it here.) However, it isn’t the best award in the MLB. Outside of the individual, there must be a good team. Outside of your own accomplishments should come your teams. That is why my number 1 trophy/award in the MLB is…

 

Number 1: Commissioner’s TrophyEmbed from Getty Images

Award Type: Won by Accomplishment (Yearly)

Most Recent Winner/s: Atlanta Braves

Awarded To: The team that wins the World Series

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The only award that every player truly wants to win is the Commissioner’s Trophy. Ask a player like Barry Bonds if he would trade in his MVP awards for a World Series trophy and ring. I would not be surprised if he said yes. If the player has any sense of being a teammate, the end goal is always to win the World Series. By my estimation, I believe it is the biggest trophy handed out by the MLB each year (not counting the car that the ASG MVP gets) and it certainly holds the most value.

No sport is like baseball in its needing a team in order to achieve greatness. In the NBA a player like LeBron James can (mostly) lead his team to each win. In the NFL a player like Tom Brady can do much the same. In the NHL a player like Sidney Crosby does the same, as with Messi in soccer. However, the best players in modern baseball- Trout and Ohtani- have not yet achieved any postseason success. It takes a team, a team built correctly that molds together and has a common goal and desire to win. It’s the hardest team championship trophy to win in sports and it’s by far the best trophy in the MLB.

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