The 2022 World Series was one for the record books. From the timeless Justin Verlander leading the Houston Astros to the World Series to the Phillies Cinderella run to the World Series. However, the most talked about story will be the race for the AL MVP. The record-breaking seasons of Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani were thrilling for fans to watch and the AL MVP will go to one of these two superstars. In a truly remarkable season, the only similar AL MVP race might be the 1941 season between Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.
The 1941 AL MVP Race
Back in 1941, the AL MVP race saw two legendary superstars, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams put together historic seasons. Meanwhile, the two teams battled for the AL Pennant which eventually would be won by the Yankees, who went on to defeat the Dodgers in the World Series.
In his third season, Ted Williams was already well on his way to becoming one of the most complete players in baseball history. 1941 saw Williams hit a then-career high 37 home runs while finishing the season with an insane .406 batting average. Perhaps even more absurd, Williams walked 147 times that year while striking out only 27 times!
For the season, Williams" slash line of .406/.533/.735 led all of baseball in each category while also leading the league in home runs, runs scored and bWar. Meanwhile, his 120 RBIs were only 5 off the American League leader.
Meanwhile, Williams" chief rival for MVP, Joe DiMaggio, also put together an amazing season. The 1939 AL MVP led the league with 125 RBIs and total bases while slashing .357/.440/.643, with 30 home runs, 76 walks and only 13 strikeouts, while finishing second in bWar.
Despite the normal counting metrics, DiMaggio"s 1941 season went into the history books with his famous hit streak. From May 15th to July 16th, DiMaggio recorded a hit in every game, setting an MLB record with 56 consecutive games with a hit. Furthermore, after his streak was broken, he recorded a hit in the next 15 consecutive games!
The 1941 AL MVP Winner
Despite Ted Williams" incredible season, Joe DiMaggio won the AL MVP award. For voters, DiMaggio"s hit streak was truly remarkable and the Yankees winning the division by 17 games over Williams and the Red Sox.
At the time, voters were likely not as impressed with a player hitting .400 since by 1941, it had been done 34 other times. In the end, DiMaggio won the AL MVP award. Meanwhile, no player has ever hit in 56 consecutive games or hit for .400 again.
2022 AL MVP Race
This year, baseball fans were treated to an epic AL MVP battle. On one end of the country, Aaron Judge set the AL home run, single-season, record with 62 for the New York Yankees. Out on the West Coast, Shohei Ohtani finished a truly one of a kind season, finishing as a likely top-10 pitcher and a top-5 hitter.
This year, for the AL MVP voting, voters will have to once again decide between the breaking of a historic record or perhaps the most unique season in MLB history. It will be interesting to see if Judge receives the same type of support as DiMaggio for leading the Yankees to the playoffs.
Let us know your thoughts on the AL MVP race in the comments below!
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images