Deane: The tied MVP vote, or was it?

From SABR member Bill Deane at WordPress on November 13, 2016:

Only once in the history of the MVP Award has there been a tie for the honor.  In 1979, the Pirates’ Willie “Pops” Stargell and the Cardinals’ Keith Hernandez wound up with 216 points apiece in the BBWAA’s National League voting, so each was awarded a plaque.

For the third-place Cards, Hernandez led the National League in runs (116), doubles (48), and batting average (.344), ran a close second in hits and on-base percentage, and won his second Gold Glove Award at first base.  Stargell, who had finished second in controversial balloting in both 1971 and 1973, was the clean-up hitter (32 homers) and 39-year-old inspirational leader of the “We Are Family,” world champion Bucs.  Hernandez was listed by all 24 voters, while Stargell was omitted entirely from four ballots; however, Pops got ten first-place votes as compared to just four for Hernandez.  When it all shook out, they came out even.

However, it is quite possible that there wasn’t really a tie after all.

In my 1988 Society for American Baseball Research book, Award Voting, I addressed and criticized the phenomena of split votes – writers dividing votes in half between two players in the voting for major awards.  Between 1959 and 1984, there were split votes in 33 different MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year elections (possibly because of my book, they have since been outlawed).  The biggest impact of a split vote may have been in the 1968 NL Rookie poll, when one writer split his vote between Johnny Bench and Jerry Koosman, and Bench won by one point, 10½-9½.

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Originally published: November 23, 2016. Last Updated: November 23, 2016.