Thursday, March 18, 2010

Splendid Seasons: Chicago MVPs

     With the exception of the Bulls' stupendous run in the 1990s, it has been a pretty thin stew as far as Chicago world championships go. While the Bulls won six titles in an eight-year span, the other major hometown franchises have combined for only five since the end of World War II. Although championships have been few and far between, Chicago fans have at least had their share of individual heroes to cheer for. Ernie Banks is the classic example, contributing two decades of excellence to a team that never qualified for postseason play. Mr. Cub is one of 19 Chicago athletes who have earned Most Valuable Player recognition for their splendid seasons and one of five who’ve done it more than once. One, Michael Jordan, has done it five times.

     The list, in alphabetical order:
  • Dick Allen, White Sox first baseman 1972 
  • Ernie Banks, Cubs shortstop 1958, 1959
  • Max Bentley, Blackhawks center 1946
  • Phil Cavarretta, Cubs first baseman 1945
  • Andre Dawson, Cubs outfielder 1987
  • Nellie Fox, White Sox second baseman 1959
  • Gabby Hartnett, Cubs catcher 1935
  • Rogers Hornsby, Cubs second baseman 1929
  • Bobby Hull, Blackhawks left wing 1965, 1966
  • Michael Jordan, Bulls guard 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998
  • Sid Luckman, Bears quarterback 1943
  • Stan Mikita, Blackhawks center 1967, 1968
  • Walter Payton, Bears runnning back 1977
  • Al Rollins, Blackhawks goalie 1954
  • Ryne Sandberg, Cubs second baseman 1984
  • Hank Sauer, Cubs outfielder 1952
  • Frank "Wildfire" Schulte, Cubs outfielder 1911
  • Sammy Sosa, Cubs outfielder 1998
  • Frank Thomas, White Sox first baseman 1993, 1994
     No official Most Valuable Player awards were given in the National League for the years 1900-1910, 1915-1923, and 1930, or in the American League for 1901-1910, 1915-1921, and 1929-1930. The following Cubs and White Sox most likely would have won the award in their respective leagues if it had been offered for these seasons:
  • 1906  Frank Chance, Cubs first baseman 
  • 1908  Ed Walsh, White Sox pitcher
  • 1915  Eddie Collins, White Sox second baseman
  • 1917  Eddie Cicotte, White Sox pitcher
  • 1918  Hippo Vaughn, Cubs pitcher
  • 1919  Joe Jackson, White Sox outfielder
  • 1930  Hack Wilson, Cubs outfielder
     In the National Football League, no Most Valuable Player award was given for the years 1920-1937 and 1947-1952. If the award had been offered for these seasons, it is likely that the following players would have won it:
  • 1929  Ernie Nevers, Cardinals halfback
  • 1932  Bronko Nagurski, Bears fullback and tackle
  • 1933  Bronko Nagurski, Bears fullback and tackle
  • 1934  Beattie Feathers, Bears halfback
     So there. We'll have more to say on this subject, with profiles of the aforementioned players in the coming weeks.

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