A look back at the last five Yankee MVPs

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

It's award season, which means no post-strike Yankee will be considered for MVP. However, that doesn't mean we can't look back and marvel at Yankees who were so honored, and complain about recent near-misses.

2007, Alex Rodriguez: .314/.422/.645, 176 OPS+, 158 games, 143 runs, 31 doubles, 54 home runs, 156 RBI, 24 stolen bases, 9.5 bWAR. Rodriguez absolutely and simply destroyed the American League in 2007, leading the league in home runs, RBI, runs, SLG, OPS, OPS+ and total bases, while playing good defense at third base every single day.

2005, Alex Rodriguez: .321/.421/.610, 173 OPS+, 162 games, 124 runs, 29 doubles, 48 home runs, 130 RBI, 21 stolen bases, 9.4 bWAR. Just like he did two years later, he destroyed the American League, leading the league in games, home runs, runs, SLG, OPS, OPS+ while playing good defense at third base every single day. By bWAR, these were the two best seasons of his career, and the two best of his career by OPS+.

1985, Don Mattingly: .324/.371/.567, 156 OPS+, 159 games, 107 runs, 48 doubles, 35 home runs, 145 RBI, 6.4 bWAR. Mattingly led the league in doubles, RBI and total bases. His 145 RBI were the most since Ted Williams and Vern Stephens each drove in 159 for the 1949 Red Sox. If the bWAR seems a bit low, it's because he had a -0.9 dWAR. I don't trust dWAR for first basemen and catchers, and Mattingly's dWAR numbers are a prime reason why. He was a great defensive first baseman, and his nine gold gloves are not among those that are ridiculed as being undeserved.

1976, Thurman Munson: .302/.337/.432, 126 OPS+, 152 games, 79 runs, 27 doubles, 17 home runs, 105 RBI, 14 stolen bases, 5.2 WAR. Munson was clearly the straw that stirred the drink on the Yankees' first pennant winner in 12 years. He was only ninth in the AL in bWAR, with three teammates ahead of him (Graig Nettles, Mickey Rivers and Roy White). He only walked 29 times. However, I don't think many people questioned this MVP award at the time, or later.

1963, Elston Howard: .287/.342/.528, 141 OPS+, 135 games, 75 runs, 21 doubles, 6 triples, 28 home runs, 85 RBI, 5.1 bWAR. Howard had his next-to-last great season in 1963, as both the 45-year old Yankee dynasty and their lineage of great catchers (Hall of Famers Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra helped Howard give the Yankees an All-Star catcher almost every year from 1929 to 1964) came to an end. The offensive numbers don't pop out at us today, but this was the beginning of a pitcher's era, and he ranked eighth in batting average, third in SLG, fifth in OPS, tenth in triples, fifth in home runs, eighth in RBI, and fifth in OPS+.

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