Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On this Day in Reds History: Two Reds Receive MVP Award

November 22nd, 1961 - Frank Robinson wins the National League MVP Award by receiving 15 out of a possible 16 first place votes. Teammates Vada Pinson and Joey Jay finish third and fifth, respectively in balloting.

Robinson batted .323/.404/.611 with 37 HR, 124 RBIs, 22 SBs and 32 doubles during the regular season to help the upstart Redlegs capture the NL pennant. However, Robinson and the Reds fell to Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and the rest of the New York Yankees in five games in the World Series.

The MVP honor wouldn't be the last for the Beaumont, Texas native (the same hometown as current Reds right fielder Jay Bruce) as he would also earn the American League MVP Award as a member of the Baltimore Orioles in 1966.

To date, he is the only player in MLB history to win MVP honors in both leagues since the award's creation in 1931.

November 22nd, 1972 - At just 24-years old, Johnny Bench claims his second NL MVP plaque in three years after edging out Cubs left fielder Billy Williams by a tally of 263 to 211. Teammate Joe Morgan finishes fourth in the voting with 197 points.

Bench led the league in homers (40), runs batted in (125), and intentional walks (23), was third in slugging (.541), WAR (9.1) and total bases (291), and gunned down a whopping 57% of potential base stealers -- which led the majors by far in '72.

Surprisingly, it would be the last time the power-hitting backstop would ever win baseball's most prestigious award. Throughout the final 11 seasons of his Hall of Fame career the highest he would ever finish in the MVP Award voting again would be fourth.

However, he still remains one of only two Reds to have ever won the award more than once (the other being Morgan in 1975 and '76).

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