Did Pedro Martinez Get Robbed of the 1999 MVP?

Pedro robbed of 1999 MVP

Today, 24 years ago, the American League MVP award was handed out. Pedro Martinez was in his second season with the Boston Red Sox after going 19-7 with a 2.07 ERA and 251 strikeouts. It was a great season, but he finished second in the American League Cy Young, losing to Roger Clemens by 75 votes, and he didn’t receive a single first-place vote, which was fair as Clemens went 20-6 with a 2.65 ERA and 271 strikeouts so clearly deserving of the Cy Young. Martinez did win the Cy Young in 1999 by 86 votes over Mike Mussina, who finished second, and Pedro got all 28 first-place votes, which he deserved. When it came to the MVP award, though, Martinez finished second in the voting as Ivan Rodriguez beat him 252-239; Martinez had the most first-place votes, beating Rodriguez 8-7. The issue was that he didn’t show up on two people’s ballots, which cost him the award. Rodriguez was deserving, but not with the numbers Martinez put up; Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, and Roberto Alomar were also worth it, so let’s look at the numbers from that season and let you decide if Pedro Martinez should have been the MVP.

1999 MVP Stats

C – Ivan Rodriguez – Texas Rangers

Rodriguez won the award going 199-600 with a slash line of .332/.356/.558 with a .914 OPS; he had 35 home runs, 113 RBI, 116 runs scored, 25 stolen bases, and 24 walks finished as a 6.4 WAR.

RHP – Pedro Martinez – Boston Red Sox

Martinez went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA, a 0.923 WHIP, and 313 strikeouts in 213.1 innings of work; he only walked 37 batters, gave up nine home runs, and finished as a 9.8 WAR. He won the pitching triple crown. He finished second in the voting.

OF – Manny Ramirez – Cleveland Indians

Ramirez went 174-522 and slashed .333/.442/.663 with a 1.105 OPS; he had 44 home runs, 165 RBI, 131 runs scored, two stolen bases, and 96 walks; he finished as a 7.3 WAR and led the league in RBI, slugging, and OPS. He finished tied for third in voting.

SS – Derek Jeter – New York Yankees

Jeter finished 219-627 with a slash line of .349/.438/.552 with a .989 OPS; he had 24 home runs, 102 RBI, 134 runs scored, 19 stolen bases, and 91 walks and finished with an 8.0 WAR and led the league in hits. He finished sixth in voting.

2B – Roberto Alomar – Cleveland Indians

Alomar finished 182-563 and had a slash line of .323/.422/.533 with a .955 OPS; he had 24 home runs, 120 RBI, 138 runs scored, 37 stolen bases, and 99 walks. He finished as a 7.4 WAR and led the league in runs scored. He finished tied with Ramirez for third in the voting.

Wrap Up

Martinez deserved the award as he was clear-cut the most dominant player in baseball that season, and as far as the four teams rank, the Yankees won the American League East at 98-64 with the Boston Red Sox in second at 94-68, the Cleveland Indians won the American League Central at 97-65, and the Texas Rangers won the American League West at 95-67. The final voting should have been

  1. Pedro Martinez
  2. Manny Ramirez
  3. Ivan Rodriguez
  4. Derek Jeter
  5. Roberto Alomar

In 2011, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander took home the MVP award after winning the pitching triple crown as he beat out Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox with 13-4 first-place votes and 280-242 votes total. 2014 Clayton Kershaw also won the MVP award after finishing first in wins and ERA. He finished seventh in strikeouts but won the prize over Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins as he beat him 18-8 in first-place votes and 355-298. So why didn’t Martinez win the award in 1999? It’ll go down as one of the worst award decisions in baseball history, and it was also one of the most dominant pitching seasons in baseball history.


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