San Francisco catcher Buster Posey is the consensus favorite to take home the award in the National League. The American League race is much more controversial. While Angels center fielder Mike Trout gets my fictional vote (another argument for another time), Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera has had a monster season for the Tigers and is the favorite to nab the honor in the A.L.
That got me wondering...how often have that year's MVPs faced each other in the World Series?
The MVP was first awarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1931. But there were two earlier incarnations of the award. The Chalmers Award was given out from 1911-1914 and the League Award was given out from 1922-1929.
So here are the instances of MVPs squaring off on the ultimate stage:
|Year||NL MVP||AL MVP||World Series|
|1912||Larry Doyle (NYG)||Tris Speaker (BOS)||BOS d. NYG|
|1914||Johnny Evers (BSN)||Eddie Collins (PHA)||BSN d. PHA|
|1927||Paul Waner (PIT)||Lou Gehrig (NYY)||NYY d. PIT|
|1931||Frankie Frisch (STL)||Lefty Grove (PHA)||STL d. PHA|
|1934||Dizzy Dean (STL)||Mickey Cochrane (DET)||STL d. DET|
|1935||Gabby Hartnett (CHN)||Hank Greenberg (DET)||DET d. CHN|
|1936||Carl Hubbell (NYG)||Lou Gehrig (NYY)||NYY d. NYG|
|1939||Bucky Walters (CIN)||Joe Dimaggio (NYY)||NYY d. CIN|
|1940||Frank McCormick (CIN)||Hank Greenberg (DET)||CIN d. DET|
|1941||Dolph Camilli (BKN)||Joe Dimaggio (NYY)||NYY d. BKN|
|1942||Mort Cooper (STL)||Joe Gordon (NYY)||STL d. NYY|
|1943||Stan Musial (STL)||Spud Chandler (NYY)||NYY d. STL|
|1945||Phil Cavarretta (CHN)||Hal Newhouser (DET)||DET d. CHN|
|1946||Stan Musial (STL)||Ted Williams (BOS)||STL d. BOS|
|1950||Jim Konstanty (PHI)||Phil Rizzuto (NYY)||NYY d. PHI|
|1955||Roy Campanella (BKN)||Yogi Berra (NYY)||BKN d. NYY|
|1956||Don Newcombe (BKN)||Mickey Mantle (NYY)||NYY d. BKN|
|1957||Hank Aaron (MLN)||Mickey Mantle (NYY)||MLN d. NYY|
|1960||Dick Groat (PIT)||Roger Maris (NYY)||PIT d. NYY|
|1961||Frank Robinson (CIN)||Roger Maris (NYY)||NYY d. CIN|
|1963||Sandy Koufax (LAD)||Elston Howard (NYY)||LAD d. NYY|
|1967||Orlando Cepeda (STL)||Carl Yastrzemski (BOS)||STL d. BOS|
|1968||Bob Gibson (STL)||Denny McLain (DET)||DET d. STL|
|1970||Johnny Bench (CIN)||Boog Powell (BAL)||BAL d. CIN|
|1975||Joe Morgan (CIN)||Fred Lynn (BOS)||CIN d. BOS|
|1976||Joe Morgan (CIN)||Thurman Munson (NYY)||CIN d. NYY|
|1980||Mike Schmidt (PHI)||George Brett (KC)||PHI d. KC|
|1988||Kirk Gibson (LAD)||Jose Canseco (OAK)||LAD d. OAK|
It's happened 28 times, with 25 coming since the inception of the modern award in 1931. 11 of these 25 occurrences happened in the first 16 years (1931-46).
20 of the 25 came before divisional play began in 1969. That makes sense, because when only the league's top team won the pennant, the writers would sometimes give the award to a player on that team, perhaps at the expense of a more deserving player.
Since the start of the LCS era it's only happened five times, with just one coming after 1980. So if Posey and Cabrera do take home their respective league's MVP, it will be very unique for recent times.